Monday, September 15, 2003

Long lost cousin?

We already have White Glenn and Black Glenn. I guess that makes me White Bowen, and here's the Black Bowen.

I've been known to do a bit of genealogy. I can trace the Bowen part back to Wales, but most of the rest is unknown.

The unknowns include a great grandfather who I assume had dark skin, which you wouldn't ordinarily associate with his Dutch name. Allegedly he was abandoned at an early age. Near as I can tell much of his blood was American Indian, based on the skin tones of his descendants and the fact that they all had straight hair. Apparently it all bleached out by the time it got to me.

Then again, the typical racial categories are almost arbitrary. Black Americans certainly have African blood potentially from all over that huge continent, but so do many "whites" and "Hispanics". Hispanics would be muddled enough merely by lumping Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Mexicans, and it's even worse when you look at how much mixing there is within each of those subgroups. American Indians aren't exactly homogeneous, but they get a category of their own along with "Asian/Pacific Islanders".

The gang at Gene Expression has lots more to say about race issues, and lots of other stuff besides.

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