I’m part of the community now. I’m a white boy! I’m as white as snow…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2012-11-25 05:30Z by Steven

“…It’s kind of like living in a shadow. It sounds funny, but that’s what it feels like.

I want to be able to walk and say: ‘Hey, This is who I am. This is what I am. This ain’t what you want me to be. This ain’t what I’m thinking to be.  This is me.’…

..I’m hoping it [DNA test result] is what I’m thinking it is. I’m hoping that I am a white American…

…They [blacks] got it rough, I know. If I’m gonna be black I don’t want to be in America. Because they don’t get a fair shake.

I’m ready…  Here we go.

It says 75% European… so I’m all… I’m white! [Be]cause I’ve only got 22% of African and only 3% of Asian. So hey… that’s sweet! When they ask me ‘what you are?’ I can tell them now. I’m part of the community now. I’m a white boy!  I’m as white as snow… I just can’t believe that I’m a white man. I can actually say I’m a white man now.  I’m happy!  [laughter] I can’t believe this.  I should have done this years ago.”

Jeff Harris (Janitor, Waverly, Ohio Courthouse) on his racial identity before and after reading the results of his DNA ancestry results.

Al Letson and Lu Olkowski, “Pike County, Ohio—As Black as We Wish to Be,” State of the Re:Union, September 28, 2012. (Part 7, Segment C, (00:08:02-00:11:44) http://www.prx.org/pieces/85361-pike-county-ohio-as-black-as-we-wish-to-be.

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Pike County, Ohio – As Black as We Wish to Be

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2012-11-24 02:12Z by Steven

Pike County, Ohio – As Black as We Wish to Be

Public Radio Exchange
State of the Re:Union

Length: 00:53:53

Al Letson, Producer/Host

Lu Olkowski, Reporter

In this episode Al Letson and guest producer Lu Olkowski visit a tiny town [East Jackson/Waverly] in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio where, for a century, residents have shared the common bond of identifying as African-American despite the fact that they look white. Racial lines have been blurred to invisibility, and people inside the same family can vehemently disagree about whether they are black or white. It can be tense and confusing. As a result, everyone’s choosing: Am I black? Am I mixed race? Or, am I white? Adding to the confusion, there’s a movement afoot to recognize their Native-American heritage.

Family portraits on the mantle in Judy Tanner’s living room. Photo Credit: Lu Olkowski

Listen to the episode here. For more information, click here. View photographs from Pike County, Ohio here.

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