Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Monday, February 13, 2017

being cultured

 I keep seeing the ads on television to get your dna tested. Then you will receive a pie chart showing your genetic makeup. One lady in the commercial is excited to discover her Native American heritage. She goes on to say, I had no idea. and I will investigate this further. In another one the guy trades in his lederhosen for a kilt. It is all very amusing. I consider having this done as I do find it of interest. We are all a mixture, of that I'm certain. What I find amusing is those that want to adopt a " heritage " based on those tests. I'm an American through and through. I'm certain of a good portion of my ancestors and where they came from. Scandinavian, German, and English. I'm betting there are others in there somewhere. People and their " urges " haven't changed all that much  over the centuries.
 Heritage is inherited. Okay, I understand that. It is culture that these folks attempt to adopt, not heritage. You can't adopt a heritage. I may study that culture and attempt to understand it but unless you live in that time and place you can not. I just find it a bit ridiculous to masquerade as something you are not. As I said, I have German heritage but I'm not German. I'm just having a hard time understanding why we are getting so fixated on being something from the past. Is it a desire to somehow take credit for the accomplishments of our ancestors ? I'm certain we don't want to take credit for their mistakes. Perhaps we get a feeling that we are somehow " owed " something based on that heritage. Strange how that works isn't it ? There are those that believe  I am somehow responsible for whatever my ancestors may have done. I'm not, nor is anyone else responsible for what happened in the past. Unless you were there, it's not your fault.
 If I found that I had a distant ancestor that was a Viking would that make me a Viking ? Not hardly. If I have a distant ancestor that was a Native American does that make me a Native American ? No. I'm an American born and raised. Where my ancestors may have originated will not change that. The composition of my dna will not change that. It may explain some physical features but not what really makes you, you. Genetic makeup and heritage are not the same thing. It could be that is part of the problem we are having these days. Maybe if we spent as much time and effort embracing the culture we actually belong too, we could reach common ground. We should learn from the past, not try to profit from it or live it !
 Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. That is what the dictionary says. It is those things that define a nation. Your dna does not contain that information. It is cultural differences that cause unrest. Confusing heritage with culture has the same result. If you are born into a certain culture that is what you will adopt, regardless of heritage. You can not adopt heritage and attempt to infuse it the culture in which you live. Attempting to do so will only cause unrest and incompatibility. That is especially true when the " heritage " we adopt is more myth and legend than actual fact.
 I may get my dna tested one day. It is a curiosity. I understand it may prove to be of some medical value as well. It could provide some more clues to the past. I don't believe I would be shocked to discover I have other ethic groups represented in my dna. I can't think of a single group that I would take issue with. Prejudice is taught by the society in which you live, not by genes. I take no credit for anything my ancestors may have done, good or bad. Sure, I can be proud of their accomplishments or ashamed, but I'm not responsible or accountable for that. The truth is I'm a human. That is what those 23 pairs of chromosomes prove. The rest of it is dependent upon time and place. Our heritage is being human, everything else is culture. We can even put those chromosomes in a test tube, develop a culture and it becomes a human. The human is created by culture, heritage has nothing to do with it.