This has been a crazy month or two for me. You know, what with discovering my father has brain cancer, getting the kids back to school and trying to get the second book in the Persephone Campbell series out (I swear, it's coming, it's coming).
But on top of all that my mom recently called me on the phone. Here's my recorded (via memory) transcript of that conversation.
Her: Honey, do you have a few minutes to chat?
Me: (My brain on the all-cancer all the time channel) Of course. What is it.
Her: Well, it turns out we're black.
Her: Your great-aunt passed away and your cousin discovered some photos of your great-great grandfather and he was black.
Her: And your cousins have some genetic skin disease that's only found in people of African heritage.
Her: Honey, is there something wrong with your phone? I feel like you can't hear me.
Me: Umm, how is it you're just discovering this?
Her: *Giggling* I know. I guess it's something your grandfather just never mentioned.
He was my great-great grandfather so I guess that makes me kinda, sorta, a little bit black.
What this unexpected nugget of information has done has left me struggling with silly PC terminology.
First of all, I'm pretty sure having a black great-great grandfather doesn't mean I get to say I'm black. Or does it?
I'm leaning towards no.
Secondly, if the answer is yes to the above question I don't think I get to refer to myself as African-American because he was from the Belgian Congo...or do I because I'm American. See the ridiculous flights of logic-fancy I've been taking.
What I know for certain is I'm the great-great grandaughter of a French woman and African man who raised a family in Belgium. The writer in me doesn't care so much about the labels and is fascinated by the story. With a little digging, I feel like I could have the makings of an amazing historical novel about forbidden love.
The absurdist in me can't stop giggling. I've been trying to come up with a label for my kids. Are they Jewish-African-DAR? (On my father's side there's a whole slew of women clutching their pearls as they read this post). Maybe they're Cau-Congo with half Jewish heritage?
Or maybe, like post-feminism, we've finally reached a point in society where we're post-label.
That gets my vote!