The Whole World Family
So this little thought has been rolling around my brain pan for about a week now and what better way to expel it than post a rabid blog about it?
Before I spill it - I'm going to remind you of who I am behind the happy virtual canvas. As far as I know I am of white mostly northern European descent (Cornwall, Normandy, Scandinavia) with evidence of ties to the houses of Burgundy,Capet and Plantagenet both via paternal and maternal DNA. It is possible that my great great grandmother was Seneca Native American - but for the rest of the pack of braying donkeys - they're all a bunch of pale devils.
Since both my parents share common ancestry - I've been studying that ancestry where it intersects and have found what cosmetically would puff up a chick to be uniquely disturbing once the "Titles" are dismissed and the behaviors are revealed. I certainly don't want to detract from the hard work of any family genealogist/historian who's amassed a thousand years of "identity" but I am not one to romanticize constant land disputes, murders, kidnapping, selling and marrying off women for property exchanges and the unbridled use of "the church" for personal gain. And that behavior is exactly what the early feudal Barons that sparkle in my happy tree did. It is fascinating study - but these aren't people to be elevated and admired. Many were absolute monsters displaying evidence of severe depression, rage issues, violence etc. And yet, these are the people who perpetuate our "cultural norms" today. For me - if I know who we were, I understand why we are who we are now and what steps I may need to take to become who I need to be.
I'd probably stop my tangent right there if I weren't in the middle of attempting to develop a Humanities curriculum for a sophomore. It just went off in me while looking at "Historical Time lines" and what is normally presented as "World History" at the High School Level that the focus is incredibly skewed - feeding up into this Greco/Roman then European and finally American advance of civilization. And here is where it gets incendiary: What kind of message is this sending? Doesn't this only serve to promote the bias of "white or European entitlement?" Seriously? If I'm white and I see this do we even need to wonder why some kids bristle when presented with the same information? Hear my heart. I'm not ashamed of the color of my skin - but skin comes in LOTS of colors and western civilization is not the only example of how humanity has grown over time. Yup - you should study the history of the area in which you live as in I took American History because I am an American. But if I am going to teach my child about the whole human world - its not going to be a white-centric lesson. That would do him a disservice.
Its fine to study Greco/Roman and European History but it isn't the only example of culture and perhaps it shouldn't be the hub on the wheel. I know I only got a part of the story when I was in public school. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure my own spawn is more rounded than I was.
There is a phrase someone told me that keeps it in perspective. A friend of mine is Fijian. He told us once when discussing missionary efforts in Fiji - "my people used to eat your people" Such a fine line between being served and being "served" - capiche?
Peace. I'm still looking for Ghengis Khan in my tree. I am. At this point it would make me feel better. I encourage those of you who are hundreds of years back in your studies to refrain from just collecting names and dates and really dig into the reality of who your ancestors were, what they did and what life was like for them on a daily level. The information can be amazing, humbling and at times a little brutal.