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Race: Human

James Lileks:

I’m lucky; I don’t know where I come from. We have some theories, but they’re just that. One side of my lineage dead-ends in an adoption; the other trails off in Europe, east of Paris. Don’t know.

Don’t. Care. I’m a mongrel. I’m a race mixer. Everyone into the blender; fine by me. What I do know is that anyone who believes as I do today would have been shoved on a train by the real goose-steppers circa 1943.

Same goes for me. Sort of.

My father’s side of the family is from England. That’s where my name is from. I have no idea about my mother’s side. She’s a mix of Euro this and Euro that. From where, I’ve no idea. I mean, no idea at all. East of Paris? Maybe. West of Moscow? Probably, but perhaps not. Definitely north of the Congo. That’s all I know.

I could be part Jewish, part Arab, part native American Indian for all I know. And like James Lileks, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know because I don’t want to start caring about that sort of thing. I don’t want to find out I’m a part of a victim group so I can start feeling bad about something I’ve never felt bad about before. I don’t want to feel like I’m supposed to hold some old world grudge against other people who never did anything to me or my family. Not that I would, but I don’t want anyone else thinking I should. Is part of my family Greek and formerly oppressed by the ancestors of my Turkish-American neighbors? I really don’t care.

My wife’s family is Scotch-Irish. So, okay, my father’s ancestors oppressed hers. It’s trivia. In Belfast our marriage would be impossible. That is what is great about America. We’re over it. Never worried about it in the first place.

I know it’s easy for me to say ’cause I’m a white guy. And I know that makes me lucky. I do. Still, there was a time when this sort of thing did matter in this country to people like me, and my marriage would have been impossible even here. That day is past. It will be past for others too. Some day.

Roger L. Simon says that day is now. Or it ought to be.

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