The Mirror


As we get older it becomes harder to look at ourselves in the mirror.  And no, it’s not just the obvious signs of aging but that we have to face — not even choices but — things that happened in our lives that left a mark on that person looking back on us.

Those of us who grew up near a large and relatively stationary family (look, dad’s family lost half its kids or more to other countries each generation (I represent) but there were enough that stayed there) and had enough generations to know the “family look.”

When you’re young you can deceive yourself that you don’t belong to this large, clumsy, lumbering tribe (represent again!) but as you age, you start seeing other people in your mirror.  For years now, I’ve been looking at my paternal grandmother, which is funny since, objectively my features are more like mom’s.  But there’s the look.

Otoh, when I’m tired or ill, the voice that comes out is that of my maternal grandmother.

So, what does it matter?  Oh, well, it doesn’t.  Not really.

Knowing where you came from seems to be a human obsession, though.

I have friends who were adopted and who would like to know who their real parents are, in varying degrees.  Some have been trying to figure out for years (and some managed) and others would kind of like to know for the health information, but have no burning desire to find out.

But humans as a whole seem to want to know “where we come from.” It could be said that in the past nobleman-privilege amounted to knowing who your great grandfather was. (Actually I know that.  It’s after that that it gets fuzzy.  Usually in varying degrees of family legends, and stories of ancestors getting amalgamated with each other.)

Sure there are things to knowing who your ancestors were and what they were good at.  It managed to make me pass (usually B) in math, even though I have severe digit dyslexia (how severe?  Well, I led the entire family on a search for a house number 265 recently, verifying my print out several times, until younger son pulled paper from my hand and went “For the love of heaven, mum, 295!”) because “our people have always been good at math.”  Ditto history and languages.  In fact, the only thing I was allowed to be bad in was crafts and art.  Art, because only about half of us were good at art.  And also because “crafts don’t matter.”  This is the other side of knowing.  You see, I actually COULD be quite good at crafts and art, but I got a free pass, because the family as a whole wasn’t.

Oh, yeah, and I could be as bad as I wanted in gym because the family as a whole had such coordination issues we could never jump rope or ride a bicycle.  (This part is good.  I tried.  I tried really hard.  Knowing no one on dad’s side could do it, just saved me beating myself up.)

There are stories particularly from the early twentieth century of noblemen walking away from their heritage and finding it immensely freeing.

I think part of the reason for American exceptionalism is just that.  You walk away and can reinvent yourself any way you want.  Easier, even in early days, as you could not travel, and your relatives didn’t check up on you via facebook.  You get there, and you can be anyone you want, and the people around you don’t have expectations of you based on the lives of people you never met.

To an extent, the left is reversing that.  It’s locking people up in victim/oppressor groups.  It’s worse than being bound by the deeds of your ancestors.  You’re being found by the deeds of people you never met and who might have no genetic relationship with you: nothing but a vague physical resemblance.

Take our former president, embraced by the descendants of slaves in America, thinking one of them finally won the presidency.  Yeah.  His mom’s family were slave owners, and I read convincing accounts of his father’s family’s relationship to Arabs and Dahomey, both slave dealers.  So, why is he supposed to be descended from the oppressed again?  Oh, yeah, he can tan, so he’ll always be a victim.  Gotcha.

Does anyone think this makes a yota of sense?

I have a friend whose ancestors fit in the same “oppressed group” at lest on appearance. But they came to the US recently, and as she pointed out once, they certainly didn’t consider themselves oppressed in their homeland.  Why should they?  What their status was in America didn’t affect them.  They weren’t here.

There is a certain blinkered twenty first century American blinkeredness about this designation of oppressors and victims, as though no other country ever existed, and as though everyone should care what WOULD have happened to your ancestors here.

It’s like we’re locking people in that same web of expectations, but not only less rationally, but also immutably.

Hey, it doesn’t matter if your dad is the president, if you’re of African ancestry, you’re still a victim forever.  And it doesn’t matter if you’re a concentration camp victim, you still have white privilege.

It’s like they’re constructing an entire world with no contact with reality.  Oh, wait, they are.  It’s what they do, and why communism is so lethal and socialism kills on the installment plan: because it tries to force people to act like equal and interchangeable widgets.  Which can’t happen.

Sure, family trauma, and if your ancestors were badly treated has some influence on you.  Not a ton.  I mean, look guys we’re all born broken.  But some of the breaks of the past come through to us in a way.  Mom’s obsession with never being quite good enough might have a lot to do with where she grew up.  But passing it on to me second hand makes mine less rational.  The fraction I passed to my sons is utterly inexplicable.  But yeah, it’s there.  You don’t raise kids with your good intentions.  You raise them with all of you. They learn from things you don’t know you’re doing.

So, yeah, the children of the oppressed — or the abused, or the social climbers, or the unsatisfied, etc — bear their scars.

But this is not something that can or should be fixed by government.  I might still be working through the guilt of some great-great-great ancestor at what he did in a war we’ve now forgotten, but CERTAINLY that doesn’t mean everyone who looks like me or has a similar geographic ancestry is working through the same.  And the government has no way of knowing PRECISELY what you might be working through.  Even if we could precisely identify all your ancestors (I have a feeling people in the future will find our DNA testing as funny as we find phrenology) do we know who raised them?  It’s not a matter of DNA alone, and the raising has at least half of it.

Right now, what we’re doing is creating “aristocracy” of the blood, endowed with rights just because of their PRESUMED ancestry, and “peasants” (really villains) of the blood, endowed with guilt and shame because of their birth.  No society who does this can retain its rate of innovation or be socially permeable for long.

We are who we are, to an extent, and as different from the rest of the world as we are, because those chains were broken.  It’s okay to want to know where you came from, provided you’re not going to find yourself in the ancestral village with the neighbors and even strangers telling you the limits that sets on who you are.

It’s okay to want to know what went into making you.  It’s not okay to make yourself part of a victim or oppressor group based on “looks like.”

And it’s a really bad idea to have the government give bennies or punishment based on “looks like.”

Using the government to do anything is akin to practicing surgery with a wooden spoon in the kitchen.  Using the government to right the wrongs of past generations and fix the psychological wounds of individuals by coddling or reviling is more akin to doing all of that, only it’s brain surgery, and it’s midnight, and the electricity is out.

It can’t be one, or at least not in any way that makes it better, instead of worse.

Yeah, that person looking at you from the mirror doesn’t feel like you.  But you are.  And you are human with all the goods and ills of it.

So, yeah, sure, you might be carrying wounds you don’t even know about because some past ancestors was very badly treated.

All of us have some wound.  No one can do the work of saving you.  It’s time to become the self-rescuing princess (or prince.)

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off.  Whatever your ancestors endowed or failed to endow you with, it’s you who has to make your best of what you have.

Now go do it.




132 thoughts on “The Mirror

  1. As far as Obama goes…well, we’re all the descendants of slaves and the descendants of slavers. It was pretty obvious to anyone who looked even casually at his past that he was probably closer in time to the latter than the former, but it was clear not many people were looking at him that way. And, to be fair, it was within the lifetimes of at least some people in this country that someone who looked like Obama would have faced a lot of prejudice regardless of who his ancestors were, so I don’t blame those who saw his election as a sign that we’d overcome that prejudice.

    But yeah, the “concentration camp victims still have privilege because they’re white” idiots need to, well, check their privilege. Namely the privilege of living in a country where your children are in no danger of being gassed to death just because they are your children, and one that’s so free you can say stupid stuff like that with no fear of repercussions.

      1. Also look at Catholicism. We’re apparently responsible for all the ills of the world, and yet, in America, Catholics were more likely to be discriminated against more recently than they were doing the discrimination. But in popular headspace, Catholics are lumped in with evangelical Protestants, which is historically hilarious.

        1. To some people it’s the Jews who are the ones who’ve messed up the world with our supernatural powers. Who knew that we control the weather? According to some barking mad official in an Arab country in the middle east. Also according to some loon of a commentator at Insty’s. .

            1. Hell, a DC Councilman is lower on the totem poll of serious people than a commentator at Insty’s.

              It helps to understand DC politics if you think of the District as ‘Ruritania’ in a comic opera.

          1. You know, if the Jews really were that powerful, being rude to them would be a very bad idea . . . 😀

            1. “You really think I did that?”

              “Yes, I do!”

              “Then why are you still standing in my way?”

              –Miles Vorkosigan
              –A CIVIL CAMPAIGN

              1. Not on Bujold’s level, but to continue on the theme:

                Let me get this straight, you think that your client, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante, who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands, and your plan is to blackmail this person?
                -Lucius Fox
                -The Dark Knight

              1. I’m wanting to know where is this white male privilege that I’m said to have? [Puzzled Frown]

            2. The Progressive Left probably hates the Jews because a) A to of the Progressive Left is ethically Jewish, so that’s what their (arrested) adolescent rebellion is against and b) the Jews are the origins of the idea that the ruler is UNDER the Law. Indeed, a great deal of Jewish scripture is bound up in the Jews telling God “You promised!”; holding God to His Law.

              The Progressive HATE that idea. They want to rule utterly; to be able to treat people like farm animals (hence any sufficiently advanced Communist State’s resemblance to an abattoir).

            3. Well, there is that whole “bless them that bless you, and curse them that curse you” in Genesis 12. Not themselves per se (not that getting crosswise the IDF is good), but their being the apple of His eye.

        2. One of the reasons for that one is (darkly) funny– English naughty novels. There was an entire class of book that was “Catholics doing horrible things that you can read and be titillated but pretend it’s not a naughty book, because gosh it’s TruCrime!”

          One of the favorites was super powered nunneries where they’d drag pretty much any lady in and then run it like a brothel crossed with the Mafia, usually supposedly written by the escaped forced nun.

          1. I once described a horror comic as having “one of those nuns feeding babies to pet demons tropes” because it is a trope.

            1. I am still shocked by the Doctor Who spinoff for kids, the Sarah Jane Adventures, having had a demon nuns episode.

              And of course they were not SJW nuns, which at least would have been funny.

          2. Okay…now, this I have to start thinking about writing. A secret organization of nuns that through faith, good works, large-caliber weapons, and lots of lesbian sex, save the world. 🙂

            1. I don’t recall if it was Dark Horse comics or a Marvel one-off that featured an order of nuns who really did get called in to do physical as well as spiritual battle against the forces of evil. Their founder was blessed by St. Michael and the Lord when she prayed for deliverance for her fellow sisters from a Viking raid. There’s one panel where the Mother Superior and Novice Mistress are sighing over budget cuts, “Because the Holy Father wants to encourage more women like Mother Theresa.” But there is NO sex.

      2. Don’t forget the idiocy of the “Permanent Oppressor Class”.

        It’s begging to look like White Liberals are being hit by that idiocy. 😈

        1. If I have no choice but to be an oppressor, why shouldn’t I cheerfully embrace that identity?

          1. That’s danger of that idea but Lefties are unable to see that danger. 😦

            1. The folks with high numbers of Oppressed Victim ™ points think that history is on their side, and the Super Evil Oppressors will never recover the ability to act. The folks with low numbers of points are sure it will never be their turn on the tumbrel until it is. They often have blind spots about their opposition, which means over the long term that they are less effective fighters than they could be.

        2. In truth, it is the Democratic Party who are the real Permanent Oppressor Class. I propose that they be punished most harshly come November. 😉

    1. “Obama would have faced a lot of prejudice regardless of who his ancestors were, so I don’t blame those who saw his election as a sign that we’d overcome that prejudice.”

      What annoys me is that we could have at LEAST gotten THAT out of the Obama mess. Except we didn’t. People mouthed the whole “sign we’ve overcome prejudice” bit must have had their fingers crossed behind their backs, because what we ended up with is MORE racial decisiveness.

    2. At this point, I want this mythical white power that they claim, if only for the money and the harem and the free helicopter rides for people I don’t like. 😀

      (Small harem, if I have more than eight it’s too much and at a certain point, what is fun just becomes work and I feel sorry for the last girl in line. Have some specific requirements, but not THAT specific…)

      1. Yah… on helicopters, stolen from a friend:Anyone claiming that wasn’t REAL Socialism” will be thrown out of an autogyro—which isn’t a real helicopter

      2. Eight? Sir, you are ambitious.
        For myself, I couldn’t see more than four, although I could be talked into five given certain exigencies.

    3. well, we’re all the descendants of slaves and the descendants of slavers.

      No. Just no.

      I have literally read flat denials of that.

      1. I have also read people who claim that only in the United States was chattel slavery practiced, everywhere else it was not law.

        Sad that that’s saner than some things I’ve heard about slavery.

        1. you should ask them what they think happened to defeated enemies before slavery (hint, hunter-gatherers don’t have jails and are not going to pamper their defeated enemies by feeding them)

          1. blink, blink, blink You mean they had WARS back before the evil cisheteropatriachy?

            Well, then, obviously, they just let them go! It wasn’t as if they would come back!

            And obviously if they kept them, they should have just fed them. It’s not like there’s any such thing as scarcity.

      2. ((BLINKS))

        Seriously? Chattel slavery is probably one of the oldest institutions around?

        1. Seriously.

          I called him a liar on the grounds that it was too well-known for him to be innocently ignorant.

  2. I am an American mutt and such a mix of two very different parental appearances that the visual is not so much a problem in its reminders.

    I was shocked one day by the reminder of ‘hearing’ Daddy when it come forth from my mouth, not because of the words or the content, but something to do with the tone, cadence and phrasing.

    1. People who knew my father would very often ask me “are you Ralph Howard’s son” even before they knew my name.

      This was in spite of the fact that Dad had been going bald at a young age.

      We had pictures of Dad at a young age where at first glance you would mistake them for pictures of me at that age.

      Before Dad’s death and while I was living in my parents house, I would answer the phone and people who knew Dad would think they were talking with Dad. (Both of us would answer the phone by saying Howards.)

      1. I’m the same way. There is absolutely no doubt of my paternity, the resemblance to my father is frightening.

        1. Me neither, but it’s because of my resemblance to my paternal grandmother.

          I am always being taken for my sisters and mother, and yet the cousins who knew her and hadn’t’ seen any of us in over a decade could pick me out because I resemble her.

      2. I walked into a store at about 19 years of age and a lady who turned out to be a classmate of my mom’s from middle school scared me half to death by pointing and pronouncing “YOU are (mom’s full maiden name)’s daughter!” (She’d moved after middle school and hadn’t seen mom since.)

        I was a book worm, mom was a track star, but apparently it was close enough….

      3. My son got that – we visited an old high school friend of his dad’s, and, while his dad was finding a parking space, he walked up to the door.
        The friend that answered took one look at him, and said, “Where’s Dennis?”

        1. Old enough to know better. 😈

          Of course, any member of the Howard Families knows that Ira Howard had no descendants who were members of the Families. 😉

      4. I’ve speculated that I’m the product of a cloning experiment since I resemble my father greatly. 😀

        1. A family joke about one of my brothers: “Mom, we know $BROTHER is Dad’s son, but are you sure you’re the mother?”

          After a few decades, we’re pretty sure she was. 🙂

      5. Yes family resemblances can be astounding (particularly given we get only 1/2 of the genes from one side). I had to take off a mustache I’d had for 20 years and as I did it I found myself staring into my father’s face at 50 in the mirror. In turn he was a spitting copy of one of his maternal Uncles.

        I have pictures of my mom at ~20 (Civil Defense Badge). My daughter is very similar except for Auburn hair and the nose which she gets from my paternal side . My mom rest her soul had the Miller family nose, a big broad schnozz, both daughters lucked out and missed it (wifes maternal side would not have been a win, classic northern Italian roman nose, mix of that and Miller nose would have been catastrophic…). There are a pair of twins from a cousin of my mom’s (on the maternal Miller side) that look exactly like my mom including the nose (poor things…). In my elder daughters case she shares at most 1/4 genes with my mom, and far less with those distant cousins ( 1/8 or 1/16? we’re back to a great great grandma before there’s a common ancestor) but yet put her with the twins and you might think they were triplets (but for one minor feature and hair color).

        1. My Aunts’ had their mom’s memoir printed outlining growing up on different parts of the old family homestead in early 1900’s. On the cover there is a group photo during the mid-50’s, with a side picture of a mid-teen grandma. When I first saw the picture my first thought was why did they put $cousin’s picture on the cover? Nope, it was grandma. No doubt what family $cousin belongs to.

          When my son was younger, I thought he got all his looks from dad’s side. He looked uncannily like hubby’s brother’s son at the same age. Got pictures of my son with all his cousins on my side, & there is no doubt they all are cousins, but the resemblance to the cousin on the other side was uncanny. We haven’t seen that cousin since he was (maybe) 12 (long story), so don’t know how they compare as adults. But, now? Son looks like his grandfather (my dad) & his dad (my grandfather), no doubt. Same dark lean look. I only have a picture of grandpa, don’t remember him (he died when I was 2). Put a picture of Grandpa, with dad in his late 20’s, with my son, definitely family.

  3. I’m sorry, but that person in the mirror has _way_ too many miles on her . . .
    Oh. Okay, I guess that is me. I just have to ignore the people who think I should be a old retired lady, and keep on writing. I’m delighted to say that my husband also has no desire to retire, and shows no signs of stereotypical “Old White Dude” behavior.

    1. Uhhh. Retire so you can do what you want to, not what you have to to survive/live (granted for a lot of people, “if you have planned properly” or “lucky enough”). Now if you’ve been doing what you want to & able to survive, YEA, no retirement.

      Hubby “retired”, he golfs. Some people even do that for a living, he doesn’t, but he has fun trying.

      Me, I wrote software for 35 years. Loved it. Love not doing it too. I putter (no not a golf reference, shutter). I might even try writing or drawing, maybe, maybe not. Raised a puppy. Having fun training the adolescent. In a couple of years it’ll be raising a couple of kittens … & maybe, given a miracle or dozen, spoiling grandchildren. I expect to spend the next 30+ years puttering, should genetics hold true; yes planning on 100+, what’s wrong with that?

      1. “no not a golf reference, shutter” that is “shudder”, *sigh*

        Well if I’d pronounce it correctly in the first place, I might have caught it. *double sigh*

  4. Genetics and cultural heritage play a part…but a man is more than just the sum of his genes, better than a biological automaton. We possess free will. And with it, the power to choose to act like beasts…or civilized men.

  5. Oh, don’t get me started. I ground my teeth in one German city because every single thing in the guidebooks about the Jewish community there (which had been small but durable and rather interesting) focused on the Holocaust. Every monument was Holocaust. Nothing about the living, breathing community, what they did after major fires that devoured the entire city, how they managed trade, their role in city life, why they had a Polish-style synagogue (that the local preservationists dismantled and hid from the officials, oddly enough). No, everything was blood-guilt.

    I get it. “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,” but enough. There was a lot more to the past than 1933-45. Let me have some of that, please. *kicks soap-box back into its corner* Bad soap-box, go home!

    1. I sometimes wonder if folks want that stuff to happen again– because they sure destroy any hint of “person” or “culture” involved in the targets; the dehumanization aspect was part of what made it horrible– not something that should be copied!

      1. Or worse, later generations get so fed up and say, “OK, fine, let’s just kick out all the [Jews/Roma/whoever] once and for all so we don’t have to hear this stuff ever again.” Or “well, everyone says that we still hate Jews, so why not?” *shudder*

      2. The enviro-leftists openly advocate massive reductions in population to “save the Earth”. Needless to say, they consider themselves essential to their new environmental friendly world order and only all those people they consider oppressive groups should be the ones to fill the mass graves that are needed to achieve their visions. The leftist loons who now dominate the e Democratic Party espouse ideologies that inevitably end in mass graves and are open about their desire to get rid of all the “deplorables” (i.e. anyone who is not ideologically approved and a member of an approved group). Anyone who doesn’t believe that they would not try to achieve this goal if they have the opportunity hasn’t been paying attention.

        1. Oh, yes, I’ve seen a post explaining that Thanos’s problem was acting like killing some random person or animal would have as much of a beneficial effect on the environment as killing a CEO.

  6. “Ugh. That’s hideous! That’s awful! That’s terrible!”

    “Uh… that’s a mirror.”

    “Oh, uh….”

    Haven’t quite had that one, yet.

    1. It’s easier when the mere sight of you drives ordinary mortals insane.

      On the other hand, it offers some neat opportunities for trips to the South Pacific, when the stars are right. Something starts bubbling in R’yleh, the Navy sends me, I give it a nasty look, and there’s this horrific scream of terror and whatever eldritch horror was down there retreats. 🙂

      1. > It’s easier when the mere sight of you drives ordinary mortals insane.

        IME more of a putt than a drive.

      2. Orvan is a Minotaur not a Gorgon so I don’t think he drives mere mortals insane. Unless perhaps they’re liberal and then there is the question of whether thy’re human at all…

  7. You just sang “Genetic Emancipation” from “Repo! The Genetic Opera.”

  8. My family is not, and apparently hasn’t been for generations, physically or emotionally close. On either side. When I first found one of my 1st cousins on Facebook (I have a whole 3 of them) I messaged and friend requested him saying I’m pretty sure we’re 1st cousins. He messaged back he didn’t think so but that I was the spitting image of his father F and his Uncle H. So I messaged back that would be my father H and my Uncle F.

    Through the wonders of I discovered I had 2nd cousins. (I was told I didn’t have any…) on both sides of the family. And I’ve uncovered pictures through the generations of all kinds of distant cousins. And yes, there are family resemblances. Easy to see.

    I have distant relations in VA where my mother’s side of the family first settled. One family still living in house that’s been in the family since the early 1800’s. Buy my direct ancestors, in every line in the U.S. have died in different states than they were born for 6 generations. Makes me wonder why some people are impelled to move and others content to stay in place. I’m in NY now, by pure happenstance 50 miles from where I was born. I’ve resided in 7 states. And have children living in CO and TX. One of my friends here in this area has 4 generations of family here. Last Thanksgiving they had 30 family members gathered together. Looking at the pictures, yep, you can them mirrored in each other. We had 4.

    I have the boot camp photos of my two oldest on a wall. I’ve explained to several people I don’t have 2 pictures of the same kid- it’s 2 children.

    1. just did a quick counting and I have 40 first cousins unless I missed someone I think I counted. Range in age from 20 maybe 21 to 60. I have cousins with kids older than my youngest cousins. Sadly, one of them just lost his 16yr old daughter to a accident. She and her best friend were driving to work very early one morning, and the truck left the road and impacted a tree. coroner said both were dead on impact but fire was involved as well. Seems the friend fell asleep, as they were only doing 37 mph. (friends mom had gps tracking to monitor her kids use)

      All but 9 first cousins were at one time/or are now, living in my home town of 4500 people. Add me and my 3 sisters to the total and yeah, the opposite to your situation. Growing up, there were 29 of us within the town, and 3 more just across the bay (only a few minutes drive in winter, bit longer in summer), and we didn’t even got to second cousins.

      1. I have a number of first cousins, though that number has a tendency to change unexpectedly (marital fidelity was not a well-practiced virtue among certain family members). My daughter, however, will have 0 first cousins unless something changes; my husband is an only child, and my only sibling has indicated no desire to marry or have children.

        I do worry about that a bit. There’s not really anything I can do about it, but I feel like she’s going to be lonely as the single leaf on our branch of the family tree.

        1. My dad’s uncle was essentially stolen from the family and adopted out and his adoptive parents were both only children, he also married an only child with few cousins, so he had very small family. In ’85 his adoptive parents passed away and he decided to find out if he had any family out there. He contacted my grandma and she had been looking for him all her adult life and he was shocked he was not supposed to be adopted out.
          He went from being just he and his wife (her parents had passed away as well) to finding his Sisters (his brothers all were passed away) and not only did he have more family than he thought possible, many were in town that weekend for my sister’s wedding. Then he found out his nephew was an actor he had seen in movies, and his brothers did animation on cartoons he watched, etc.
          He had issues dealing with it, got help and started a support group.
          (You jazz fans who listened to radio around Detroit, he was Jimmy Rockwell)

      2. I think I’ve mentioned this before. A short while ago I discovered I had a 2nd cousin graduate from my HS the year before I did. We never interacted with each other, had entirely different interests and were in entirely different social groups apparently. 1600 people in the HS. My mother and her first cousin were living 3 miles from each other and didn’t know it. Was a regional HS, so next town over.

        1. Pfff. I had second cousins 3-4 miles of me growing up that I *knew* about and we interacted maybe once every year or three.

          1. I’ve had second cousins going to the same university as I did for the last several years.

            I never saw them when I was on campus.

        2. We had cousins living in the plat across the road. I sold them Girl Scout cookies. Not a clue on either side.

          Yeah, we have had some epic family feuds back when.

          1. I’ve brought up the “Applegate” family, a time or two. I’ve discovered extended cousins who I graduated with, & did not know we were cousins. Our family has been in the same general area since about 1835? Second wagon train to Oregon. Only one branch has held onto the main homestead house (Charles Applegate house), not my side. Although there is slightly less than one acre officially & irrevocably preserved for family graveyard, on my side. If I’m the 3rd great granddaughter, then my son is the seventh generation living in Oregon.

            I’ve also mentioned the challenging dynamics between my family & my husbands & his adjustment. He went from core family only at family gatherings, holidays, & funerals, to Holy OMG they are coming out of the wood work!!!

  9. the funny thing to me about being blamed for the deeds of my ancestors in 30 years ago, the same liberals showed us that doing so was a terrible thing… “Sins of the Father”, STTNG, and most of the other ‘worf story’ episodes.

    1. Like with anything coming from the left, the hypocrisy is baked in from the start; being responsible for the sins of the father only applies to “oppressor groups” in the same way that they think that free speech rights should only exist for those who espouse goodthink.

    2. I’m not sure that the Worf stories were meant to convey that message. It’s generally treated as though the reason it’s wrong to blame Worf for his father’s crimes is that Worf’s father was innocent. Certainly there doesn’t seem to be any problem with placing hereditary blame on all members of the House of Duras for the crimes of its patriarch–they all show that they more than deserve it.

  10. I remember being startled by my reflection in a mirror once. I was house sitting for a friend who had had his house broken into a few times when he went out of town. So, he asked me to stay there while he was gone for a week. In the middle of the night, I was wakened a boom and a crash on the other end of the house. So, I did what any other idiot… I mean… red blooded Marine would do, and I got out the old .45 and went looking for the boogey man, only to have the bejeebers scared out of me by a mirror in the hallway. My friend almost lost him one mirror (or more likely, I would have replaced it). In the end, the noise was just his goofy dog knocking things over. Ever had to deal with a dog that liked to run around and play all night? Yea… he was one of those. (note, the dog was not in any way threatened by the .45. Just in case you were worried).


    If you prefer the music version

    [blockquote]I have friends who were adopted … and others would kind of like to know for the health information, but have no burning desire to find out.[/blockquote]

    Raises hand. I am grateful I wasn’t aborted (then again this would have been 1966).

    1. My glasses may need cleaning. I thought that read, “Thunder and Constipation.”

  12. One of the things that annoyed me about Black Panther was the villein’s dying comment about his ancestors jumping from the decks of the slave ships.

    At least half of his ancestor lines were not slaves, they were royalty in Wakonga

    The other half of his ancestor lines may have been american slaves, but probably nowhere near all of them

    1. And even then, if he had slave ancestors, they wouldn’t have been the ones jumping off the boats. The ones who stayed on the boats would have been his ancestors.

    2. Excuse me. But the people jumping from the decks of slave ships ended up drowning; and therefore had no descendants. Ergo, claiming his ancestors jumped from the decks of slave ships was a lie.

      1. Also, how are people who are in chains able to get on deck and jump of the ship to begin with?

      2. well, it’s possible that they had children already who didn’t jump.

        But I agree that it’s extremely unlikely that anyone who did jump left decedents.

        but my point was that he was the grandson of the King on his father’s side, hardly an oppressed group.

        but ‘color of skin’, even kings of science-fiction level advanced civilizations are considered ‘victims”

        1. If you and your child were enslaved, would you abandon your kid to throw yourself off a slave ship to die? I doubt it. Throw yourself at the slavers to try to kill one of them, and get killed in the process? I can accept that.

          1. Depends on the home culture; there are, sadly, no shortage of tribes that view the kids as being of value only in as much as they are useful.

            Humans being human, there are still folks who dearly love their kids in those cultures– but it’s not a matter of course.

    3. Killmonger, the villain in the Black Panther movie had swallowed it whole and was spewing it back.   Stating, with the self assurance that it is admirable, ‘I am Black Hitler!’ doesn’t exactly sound rational to me.  If his thinking had been clearer he might not have become the villain he was. 

  13. The thing with adopted kids wanting to ‘now who their parents are/were is a bit of a sore point with me, in a way that shows how right Sarah is about inherited baggage.

    My Father was adopted. In the 1920’s, so there were no foundations trying to bring adoptees together with their biological parents. And as an adult, he found the whole issue deeply insulting to his family. Further, he saw colleagues who had adopted going through the mess of their child discovering his/her biological mother and suddenly having a sexually careless, drug using, mess brought into the family by a child who was (all too often) blind to what they were doing.

    Some years later, I watched a program about a group,calling themselves Bastard Nation, who were suing to get the adoption records open, and I went ballistic.

    In the first place, let’s not encourage the government to break its word. But in the second place, with all the services one could (then, and I believe now) join to see if somebody was voluntarily seekng a child or parent, if you weren’t getting an answer, there simply was NO GOOD NEWS to be had. Maybe your mother was raped, and your forcing the documents open would hurt her all over again. Maybe you were the product of an abusive relationship, and opening the records might lead the abuser back to his victim. There are just soooo many posibilities, amd so many of them SUCK.

    And then I thought of a solution. The government looks up who you mother was, and discretely contacts her. They tell her you want to know who she is and ask her if she’s now sorry she didn’t abort you. And if the answer is “yes”, they come back to you and blow your head off.


    1. I know of one person who had to beg, almost on her knees, just to see her genetic parents’ medical records. Her own children were showing signs of a genetic problem, and she really, really needed to know causes of death. In the end, that’s all a clerk allowed her to see, but apparently it was enough to answer the questions and let the family know what might be coming. She still does not know their names or where they were from.

    2. Seems unjustifiable to kill you just because your birthmother wished she had aborted instead of offering you up for adoption.

      “Life’s not fair, and I shall never be King.” Which is fine because I don’t want the job. However, there’s nothing wrong with anyone wanting to know where they come from; which is part of what goes into making them who they are.

      Not all adoptive parents are the selfless, saintly people that many like to paint them as. For a kid who comes up craps for adopted parents, finding her or his birth mother and genetic father might be an improvement.

      1. My point isn’t that adoptive parents are saints, or that adopted children shouldn’t look for their biological mothers. But if you’ve put your name on all the available registers, and nobody has come forward, then there’s probably a good reason, and if you force the issue you are likely to be dropped into a sewer.

        Medical records are another matter, though I suspect that they will often be incomplete. But if the mothers were assured that the records would be sealed, then they should stay sealed. The government should not be encouraged to break its word; it does it often enough without encouragement.

      2. > Seems unjustifiable to kill you just because your birthmother
        > wished she had aborted instead of offering you up for adoption.

        Seems a reasonably modest proposal.

  14. According to my late aunt who did a genealogical search, I am related to two Finnish kings from somewhere about 1000 AD. But that’s on the maternal side. The male side just shows up out of nowhere in 1815. So, I don’t much care.

  15. 7 generations.
    That’s what it takes to randomize out anything that effected your great, great, great, great, great grandparents. Figuring on a generation being roughly 20 to 22 years, it’s been 7 generations since slavery was abolished in the U.S. Which means slavery isn’t the cause of any victimization in America today. That doesn’t mean that racism, especially Jim Crow effects, aren’t relevant, nor is good old fashioned bigotry for that matter. We’ve had 3 generations since civil rights enactment stomped out blatant Jim Crow, and opened the doors to affirmative action, integration, and increased quotas for minorities in education and employment. 3 generations that wiped out 87% of any racial hold downs; provided said minorities actually took advantage of those offerings and worked to succeed with them.

    By the way, it also takes seven shuffles to completely randomize a deck of cards. But then statistics was never the strong suit for the BLM and Whites are Racists crowd.

  16. The thing of it is, the only thing the collective (the whole group; bunches of anonymous other people) can do to help you is to get out of your way. Individuals can help other individuals: they can lend a hand, they can say an encouraging word…

    Reality is both horrifying and joyful. A lot of people go to great lengths to avoid dealing with this. Doesn’t fit into tidy categories. It’s rarely a shortcut to political power.

  17. Doing some genealogy a few years back, I discovered that my great, great, great grandfather was an overseer on a large antebellum plantation in Georgia. He probably did some really horrible shit. I have no idea. What I do know is that the amount of guilt I feel or bear for anything he may have done amounts to precisely zero.

    1. You have just as much justification in believing that he did his best to care for the slaves, if only as a stableman would care for horses.

      I think the idea of Original Sin is useful here; rather than totting up the sins of the past in some kind of virtue-accounting, just accept that we are all sinners and need the Grace of God. It clears the decks, so to say.

      Now, if I could find a denomination that didn’t make me gag, I’d be a Christian.

  18. I’m considered weird because I honestly could care less about tracking down my ancestors (who all emigrated from the Old Country Ireland) making me on all sides a 3rd generation American). I’m just an American and could care less about the Old Country which sucked the life out of its people. Actually it as my Dad who got crazy annoyed at the idea that he should hyphenate his nationality. I get annoyed too.

    1. I agree on the hyphenation point. I’m 100% mongrel America. My ancestors, that I know of, came from Ireland, Wales, England, and Germany. Bunch of them dead end into mystery ancestors who could be from anywhere. I’ll need to take a couple of genetic tests one of these days and see if there’s anything interesting lurking in my blueprints. But my ancestry isn’t me; they’re just the starting materials I got for my present on my Day of Conception.

      1. I can’t exactly claim the “mongrel” part (LOL), but I agree with you completely that I’m not my ancestry. I may have been influenced by my relatives’ own views and prejudices (although my parents were insanely determined to not raise us with the same prejudices they’d been exposed to (i.e. The English are scum; don’t associate with The Polish, Hungarians, etc.) and they were largely successful as I never heard a racial epitaph growing up, and my Dad outright refused a dream job with IBM in South Africa as he did not wish to expose us to apartheid as young children).

Comments are closed.