It was this vintage commercial that made me think of my DNA results. “A little dab’ll do ya.” Really, now?
My Ancestry DNA results revealed that I am 74% African (mostly Nigerian), and 26% European (mostly Norwegian). Roughly one-quarter of me is of Caucasian descent. How much more Caucasian DNA would I need in order to be classified as white? Am I white enough to be considered mixed-race? Am I wrong for identifying as Black? After all, before the acknowledgement of mixed-races on documentation, if a person was 99% Caucasian, but that remaining 1% was of African descent, then they were considered Black, no matter how white they looked. What if that 1% was Asian? Which would they be? White? Asian?
Even after knowing that the idea of race was constructed as a means to prove Negroes as an inferior species of the human race, the labels are still used. Even after knowing that bestowing these labels upon someone can determine their entire life experience, and expectancy, they’re still used. It’s not something anyone asked for, nor can control. It’s like one’s gender, which for many, is also problematic. Why?
One-quarter of Caucasian DNA is quite a bit more than a little dab, but if I went around declaring myself to be a white woman, not only would I get the side-eye from bystanders, but given today’s social climate, I’d likely get shot.