Being multiracial and growing up without the culture of my DNA did affect me and it could affect you. Not researching this area or highlighting this for patients or clients and integrating it into therapy, coaching, or any sort of personal growth curriculum for finding individual purpose could lessen the maximum benefit of reaching true resiliency.
Our DNA is what defines us physically, but not connecting the DNA to one’s true conscious self could mentally be conflicting long-term. In a more direct statement, multiracial people growing up in their non-multi-cultural lives could be conflicting.
Some people reading this may already say, I know this….I already do this with my patients or clients, or may not believe in it….but do you really spend enough time on this important step which I define as the, ” Roots of Personal Growth?” Do you even know who you really physically are?
I was motivated to write this article because I had someone say to me, “You People,” in a conversion yesterday. For those who know me, I do not write unless I am inspired and this phrase,” You People,” inspired me. I was verbally classified by someone else who may not have respected my culture or even know he was disrespecting my culture. This happens to me often and I want to express this thought:
“If people are not resilient enough to bounce the negative conditioning of the world off of their own backs and rise above it, I feel we will always be at war with filling our mind space and time up with negative reaction instead of filling it up with positive action that can truly progress our own lives.
Other people’s actions that cause negative reactions should not cause distraction leading and resulting in slowing down the results of our own success.”
I hope, if you, your patients, or clients are feeling somewhat always lost, not sure of your defined purpose in life, or are always being engaged in several different directions of life at the same time and cannot settle on just one path in life, I want you to read this and be motivated to research your heritage, learn about your culture, and connect your DNA to your mental consciousness to build resiliency.
From my personal definition, I am what I call, Tri-Racial. I define this as having DNA from 3 different races identified by the minimum categories of government classified race which are: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White.
I classify myself as Asian, American Indian, and White, but it had not always been conscious to me that way.
My father died when I was very young. He met my mother over in South Korea during his deployment for the US Army in the 197th Infantry Brigade 72nd Engineer Company between 1978 to 1981. My mother could not speak English and since coming to America lost her husband, my father’s grandparents adopted and raised me.
My grandfather from my dad’s side was Cherokee Indian, British, and Scotch-Irish, my grandmother from my dad’s side was German, Dutch, and French, and lastly, my mother and her entire family were South Korean; however, being raised by my grandparents, I was raised to only identify myself as White and embrace the Scotch-Irish culture.
Growing up I was told to mark the boxes as White on any forms I filled out and respond as being the White race. As a child, I did not understand what this meant, I even remember asking my grandmother which box should I chose and she said, “White.” I just accepted it as normal and never questioned it after that. Also, back in the 80s and 90s, there was usually not a box for marking, “Other.” I laugh at it now when I see the box, “Other,” but honestly to me, this is all sorts of wrong. Another topic for another day.
Growing up in Tennessee, I did not mind embracing the Appalachian culture and their food I loved so much. Fried chicken, collard greens, fried potatoes, biscuits and gravy, blackberry cobbler, fried green tomato casserole, fresh country ham, and everything you can imagine a country raised southern belle, tomboy like me would be surrounded by. It is a part of my DNA, but not all of it.
Imagine growing up looking Asian and talking with the Southern Appalachian draw I love so much. Having people come to you and always ask you,” What are you?” Going to speech classes for years to undo my dialect because my mother spoke to me in Korean and I did not pronounce English sounds, “correctly.” Even people making racial remarks to me not knowing I was Asian such as the word,” Chink.”
I grew up blessed and cursed at the same time. I always had a deep feeling of being out of place and always seeking something in my work and personal life, I had deep adversities. It wasn’t until I started educating myself on my true DNA to when I started to feel grounded.
I truly believe DNA has subconscious cultural effects on a person’s physiological behavior for needs and wants.
I recently watched a video clip on a debate about the terms African American and Black Race classifications. On one side they were discussing you are only African American if you are from Africa and if not, you were considered to be the Black race. The other person was debating you are considered African American if you have ancestors from Africa.
Correlating this debate to the defined legal description of Native American Tribes such as the Eastern Band of Cherokee, they say you cannot enter a tribe unless you are 1/16 blooded Cherokee which means if you are 1/32 you do not count as enough Cherokee to be considered Cherokee and be allowed to be inducted into the Cherokee Tribe.
In my opinion, these differences in thoughts and approaches shine a light on the current identification process to define DNA and true rights of claiming that DNA; however, it is not well defined and massively diluted in the perspectives among millions, as well as, in government programs.
Does this mean, if you are not a certain percentage of DNA of African American descent, then you should not claim you are African American and just should claim as part of the Black race only?
Being a government contractor myself, I highly appreciate and respect private companies and government programs that help minorities; however, I also feel the US government classifications are diluted as a whole.
In certain government programs by claiming I am part of the Asian race, my Asian race has to be over 50%, but they do not define the other races I am. It is a part of my DNA, I do have a defined percentage of DNA from different races, so how can the government define me as not being Asian at 50% and only at 50.5%? What are the true fractions of DNA that are defined throughout all government agencies and programs? If the government does not have this clearly defined and consistent in all agencies, then it is realistic to see why the rest of America may have a hard time defining as well.
I feel the classification for race is outdated. Being an American is not one race; however, being classified to fit an outdated system could be suppressing personal cultural awareness which in turn could suppress the harmony of one’s mental state.
Even though the race classification system is outdated, diluted, and may be out of your control, my purpose for this article is to motivate you to take control, learn who you really are, and learn your true culture without the government classifications defining you.
When you can connect your DNA to your true Culture, I strongly feel you can have a better grasp on who you are as a person which in turn, can help solve the feelings of not belonging, not being satisfied, or understand why you feel pulled in so many different directions while being an America citizen. It is not like Tawain, Brazil, or France where most of the citizens are the same race and culture. We live in America. We are a melting pot of the world; therefore, we need to pay special attention to this dynamic.
Your DNA may not be as complex as mine, but if you embrace your DNA and learn how to embrace your physical culture…see if it allows you to become more confident in who you are and alleviate feelings of not belonging or not having a purpose in life. When you have true confidence in who you are, you may be able to have a better understanding of what truly inspires you which may lead to what can truly fulfill your life.
For the guy that said to me, “You People,” he is still a dear friend of mine who now understands my cultural boundaries. It does not make him a bad person; it just created the opportunity for me to help him learn something in hopes he will adjust his behavior in how he speaks to me or others in the future. I don’t have malice towards him, I don’t want to bash his car in with a bat, I saw it as a positive opportunity to help change the world one person at a time.
Til Next Time,
Below are my DNA results. Use my referral link to get a discount if you want to seek your own DNA results at https://refer.23andme.com/s/mwhaley238 .
Also, here is the link to my audiobook, “Snap Out of Complacency,” action steps for finding your true self at https://www.audible.com/pd/Snap-Out-of-Complacency-Audiobook/B07BNPY8P2