Memo to the racists/white supremacists among us: I am not white and damn proud that I’m not.
In my veins flow the blood of Seminoles and some others that you would not like.
When I’m asked to fill out an application or form that asks “race” I check either the “other” box or write “N/A” for non-applicable. My gender is male, my sexual orientation is heterosexual and my citizenship is American. My ancestry is such a mix of races that even a computer has trouble figuring it out.
Ancestry.com examined my DNA and came back with “undetermined,” which is just fine with me.
Whenever some self-declared “white nationalist” waves a Confederate flag in my face while shouting some diatribe about “superiority,” I just stare him down.
My Scottish ancestors came to America in the early 1800s and eventually settled in Florida, which is where a full-blooded Seminole woman who would be my great-grandmother met and married one of “them darn Scots.”
I’m proud of my mix of Scottish and Seminole ancestry, along with some “black Irish” thrown into the pot. My wife is Lebanese-Irish, a feisty mixture when it comes to temper but certainly pleasant in other areas we don’t discuss in public.
An avowed white supremacist who lives in Floyd County cornered me at a local eatery recently to say my writings about what I see as rampant racism around us is treason to his whiteness.
“You are turning your back on your race, the race that is destined to control our future and destiny,” he proclaimed.
“Wrong,” I answered. “I’m not white, never thought of myself as one ‘color’ or another and am damn proud of it.”
“So you’re a half-breed,” he answered.
“No,” I said. “I’m an American.”
Wife Amy calls herself “beige.”
“In the not too distant future, all of us will be beige,” she adds.
That might not sit well with those who wave Confederate flags as some misbegotten sign of non-existent heritage. Most of them probably have mixed blood that they either ignore or don’t accept.
In my single days, I dated an African-American woman for several months in an intense, intimate relationship. She and her family taught me a lot about what they have faced and continue to deal with in America. We remain good friends. She’s married now to a Pakistani man and they raise their three children in Los Angeles, where they are doctors.
I spent my early childhood years in Gibsonton, Florida — “Gibtown” to the locals — the winter home of the “carnies” who traveled the country in carnivals. We had midgets, those with deformities or physical attributes what made them look different. My mother taught me that they were just “people” just like us.
That upbringing taught me to despise bigotry and racism.
I saw racism first hand as an elementary school student in Prince Edward County, where the racist board of supervisors and school board closed the public schools rather than obey a federal court order to integrate and started a whites-only private school.
When someone tells me that they don’t “want anything to do” with African-Americans, it tells me that I want nothing to do with such racists.
When a religion preaches that it is the only way to believe in or accept God, it warns me to avoid that religion. We are a nation and world of diverse people of differing shades of skin, differing beliefs and differing way to worship. Each of us should be able to accept those of different appearances, beliefs and habits.
I’m delighted to have a mix in my blood that precludes me from being a “white man.” I damn proud of it.