Redefining the DNA in me

It’s all Greek to me.

AncestryDNAStory-Roger-210920Once again, Ancestry.com has updated its “most precise DNA update yet. In this latest update, you’ll notice that at least one of your previous regions has been split into two smaller, more precise regions. We’ve increased our precision this way in Europe, Africa, and Asia by updating our algorithm and expanding the size and diversity of the populations in our reference panel.”

What this means for me, most notably, is that Ireland and Scotland have split. I’m more Scottish than I imagine. It probably explains my affection for the Blackwatch color combination. If I were select a tartan, that’s what it would be.

Nigeria 25%
Ireland 25% – Munster, Ireland > West Cork> South West Cork> southwest Munster
Cameroon, Congo & Western Bantu Peoples 15%
Benin & Togo 7%
England & Northwestern Europe 7%
Senegal 7%
Scotland 6%
Mali 3%
Greece & Albania 1%
Norway 1%
Indigenous Americas—North 1%
Ivory Coast & Ghana 1%
Wales 1%
Sweden and Southern Bantu Peoples each less than 1%

The mild surprise is the first appearance of Greece and Albania on the list.

You may have noticed when you did your Census – I hope you completed yours! – that the race question additionally asked what particular geography you identify with. This was particularly interesting to my daughter, who selected the various strands of her background when we answered it way back in March.

Roots

Another aspect of the Ancestry report is that my people of African roots likely ended up in eastern North Carolina. It is actually a region east of an area from Virginia Beach, VA to Raleigh, NC to Myrtle Beach, SC. “You, and all the members of this community, are linked through shared ancestors. You probably have family who lived in this area for years—and maybe still do.”

This turns out to be quite true. Wilson, NC is about 50 miles east of Raleigh. It was the home of Raymond Cone, my biological grandfather, my father’s biological father. And the home of Willis Cone, Raymond’s father. At least four of the 10 closest relatives I have on Ancestry who were previously unknown to me are descended from Raymond Cone.

Agitate!

On September 29, I attended a ZOOM thing called Agitate!: Frederick Douglass and Ireland. Douglass wrote how he was “captivated” after attending a speech made by Daniel O’Connell, ‘The Liberator,’ in Dublin in 1845.

The event was sponsored by, among others, The African American Irish Diaspora Network, The Embassy of Ireland USA, Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, Irish Network-DC, and University College Cork.

Learn about the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship. “Outstanding students of color” may “participate in a customized summer study abroad program focused on leadership and intercultural communication skills.”

July rambling: Phonus-Balonus!

VeggieTales’ creator Phil Vischer’s viral video on race in America

Trevor Noah: Maybe not a great idea to take a victory lap in the middle of a pandemic.

60 Minutes Australia: Inside the wicked saga of Jeffrey Epstein: the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell.

Defund the Poice: What’s in a slogan?

Why a Struggling Rust Belt City Pinned Its Revival on a Self-Chilling Beverage Can.

ADD has updated the Comic Book Galaxy blog for the first time in five years.

Stop microwaving books: Michigan library frustrated by damaged books.

Appreciating Letty Owings; the Reason I’m Here, By Greg Hatcher.

Meet 8-time JEOPARDY champion, Jennifer Quail Part 1 and Part 2.

Local galleries are reopening! Part 1 and Part 2.

Phonus-Balonus: 1920s Slang We Need to Bring Back.

A Brief History of the Lawn Chair”.

Riddle of the Week: The Gold Chain Math Problem and The Hen and the Egg.

Stop Doomscrolling. Ah, too late.

Now I Know

The Job That’s a Riot and The One Thing You Can’t Do in IKEA and When It’s OK to Lose Your Head and The Sweet Mistake and The Robutts That Protect Your Phone.

Race in America

VeggieTales’ creator Phil Vischer releases viral video on race in America (17 minutes, and very good).

Elijah McClain played violin for lonely kittens. His last words to police are devastating.

Facial recognition: “Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm”.

Racism, Disparities, and the Health of the Nation.

My denomination: PC(USA) General Assembly affirms that Black lives matter; pledges to work against systemic racism.

I thought I understood white privilege, then I married a Black man.

Man shares two lessons he learned from disrupting a racist joke in a group of white people.

Dr. Robin DiAngelo Wants White People to Stop Saying They’re Not Racist; she’s the author of White Fragility.

slave castles — and the weight of history.

Reparations.

Free online comic book – Henry Johnson: A Tale of Courage.

When The Klan Ruled In Freeport, Long Island.

This ‘Equity’ picture is actually White Supremacy at work.

Blackface: The Birth of An American Stereotype and Celebrities now apologizing for using the racist trope for laughs have no idea just how sorry they really are.

Frederick Douglass’ admonition on the moral rightness of liberty for all.

The rage and love of James Baldwin.

Diversity in business is about expanding networks

This Rocket Scientist Is Tracing Black Ingenuity Through Barbecue.

Blacklexa (at 1:28).

anti-racism

Full bibliography here.

IMPOTUS

In the Land of “No We Can’t”.

His ‘Roger Mudd’ moment augurs ill for his reelection. If he can’t explain why he wants another term, he shouldn’t expect voters to give him one.

Reverend reveals what evangelicals say privately about Trump.

Mary Trump: he is the product of a deeply dysfunctional family that makes him a uniquely destructive and unstable leader for the country; inside his psychopathology.

Family, Cronies Cleared For Millions In Bailout Funds, such as Elaine Chao’s family business.

A Shameful Moment: Formal Withdrawal From WHO as Covid-19 Cases Climb.

Lincoln Project: Benedict Donald and Comrade Trump and Whispers. More.

Randy Rainbow Devastates A “Poor Deplorable Troll”

Music

America by Rebecca Jade, Erik Canzona, and Alfred Howard. Rebecca Jade is the Artist of the Year at 2020 San Diego Music Awards.

Ennio Morricone, Prolific Italian Composer for the Movies, Dies at 91.

Coverville: 1314: Cover Stories for KT Tunstall and Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies and 1315: The Blondie Cover Story II and 1316: Ennio Morricone Tribute and Ringo Starr Cover Story.

Perdido, by trombonist Juan Tizol, performed by Wynton Marsalis.

Be Still – Beach Boys.

Ballade in A minor for orchestra by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Adagio For Strings – Samuel Barber – conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Fantasy on Themes from the Masque of the Red Death – David Baker.

Suzanne – Leonard Cohen.

Dancing in the Canebrakes by Florence Price.

K-Chuck Radio: Our Robot Overlords.

Music For The Movies: Bernard Herrmann (Documentary).

Frederick Douglass bicentennial

I’ve long been fascinated with Frederick Douglass. The son of a slave woman and an unknown white man, “Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey” was born in February of 1818 on Maryland’s eastern shore as an enslaved person. But he became a free man, and was one of the leading spokespersons in the abolitionist cause. He was also an ally in the women’s movement.

He did some of his greatest writing and oration in upstate New York. His July 5, 1852 speech about Independence Day when one is enslaved is an epic piece.

On the 200th anniversary of his birth month, here’s just a small bit from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass:

“I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land… I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of ‘stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.’ I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me.

“We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus…

“The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time.

“The dealers in the bodies of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—devils dressed in angels’ robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.”

Read more about Frederick Douglass here or here or here.

Connecting the historical dots: Ferguson to Charleston

“People should not spend their days mourning relatives they never knew from a war that ended 150 years ago, especially if that feeling is so paramount that it outweighs the sense of brotherhood they might feel toward fellow humans who are alive…”

Little Rock, 1957
Little Rock, 1957
At my relatively diverse, but still primarily white, church, I am the de facto organizer for Black History Month each February. I’ve noticed that 2016 will mark the 90th anniversary of what what was Negro History Week, designed by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. “Besides building self-esteem among blacks, [it] would help eliminate prejudice among whites.”

I think the argument that the United States is “post-racial”, now that Barack Obama has been elected President twice, has been pretty well negated by the events of the past six years. There are those who will seriously argue that because Obama, and for that matter, actress Halle Berry, had white mothers, they shouldn’t be considered black. Anyone passingly aware of the historic obsessive nature of the US government to define race Continue reading “Connecting the historical dots: Ferguson to Charleston”

‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?’ by Frederick Douglass

I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine.

This year, in addition to reading the Declaration of Independence – I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere, consider reading Frederick Douglass’ July 4, 1852 address, only a portion of which has been included here. And if you’re in Albany, NY area, check out a speaker on this very subject this morning:

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. I am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation… There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence… Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier…

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your “sovereign people” (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown. Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers… To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness, and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back…

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men, there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change, (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold, and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor…

Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history—the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance…

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day—cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.

The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness…

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settled” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final”; not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times…

THE PRESENT.

My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the present. The accepted time with God and his cause is the ever-living now.

“Trust no future, however pleasant,
Let the dead past bury its dead;
Act, act in the living present,
Heart within, and God overhead.”

We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future… It was fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have “Abraham to our father,” when they had long lost Abraham’s faith and spirit. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country today? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchres of the righteous? Washington could not die till he had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood, and the traders in the bodies and souls of men, shout—“We have Washington to our father.” Alas! that it should be so; yet so it is.

“The evil that men do, lives after them,
The good is oft-interred with their bones.”

“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?”

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow-citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then fellow-citizens, is AMERICAN SLAVERY. I shall see, this day, and its popular characteristics, from the slave’s point of view. Standing, there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery—the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

Read more HERE or HERE or especially HERE, which provides greater historical context for the speech.
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Frederick Douglass: New Tea Party hero?!