Alright, time to go back to relatively normal things. I’m still going through my EEOC situation and definitely will try to modify donation so it won’t be via YouCaring but something a little more for the long term because I don’t feel right by keeping it up when I’m sure there’s an alternative.

“In the Pagan community I interact with (which is mostly white), conversations often revolve around trying to figure out which of the European ethnic groups a person descends from is the one he/she/ze feels the most connected to, or identifies the most with, in order to pick out which flavor of ethnic Paganism (Germanic/Irish/etc.) to practice. I pointed out that this was a part of white privilege, from not having been subjected to the ethnocide of slavery, and that African-Americans didn’t have the luxury of picking out which ethnic group they feel like the most. One responder said that all African-Americans had to do was take a genetic test to determine which ethnic group they’re descended from, and make a pagan religion based on that.

So, that is making me ask: have you ever asked yourself, “should I take a DNA test to determine where my family came from to figure out which religion to practice?” Has this question ever come up in conversations you’ve been a part of? Is this subject important to the Pagan community you belong to?”

– T.T.R. 

Dude, the best you can do is just find another community and be off. Honestly, you sound like you’re hanging with SS sympathizers, Aryan wannabes and Trump’s voting bloc.

And you’re right, it is part of White privilege to be able to go up and down the family tree and know who you were related to several centuries ago. While I’m sure other folks may go, “Hey, Asian American folks can trace back their family lines centuries and they’re not White!” but here’s the thing: they’re not seen as the yardstick of “this is a human” and we’re not even reaching into exclusion acts, separations of families, etc. It’s not the same.

Black families can’t really trace back further than their great grandparent without outside help because of the drastic effects of chattel slavery where Black people were bought, sold, murdered and traded like animals. And then you have to throw in lynchings, which, like police-related murders, aren’t well tracked and traced so there’s a not-so-mysterious vortex that makes missing people because not every brutal murder started with an iconic burning cross. It’s as simple as a kid walking to a library on an open road and a group of White people spotting them and going “Let’s kill ’em.” White folks don’t have boughs of broken branches littered throughout their family trees annnnnnnnd they’re collectively the reason why.

Maybe you should suggest the suggester take a DNA test…which, by the by, costs money, time and isn’t completely accurate without heavy searching on your part. How do I know this? I worked in the Library of Congress, we have countless data on people but it slims up dramatically the darker the people get.

And it’s not the same as how White people learn about their families. If the person was German, ask if they would like to only be able to learn about who their family is strictly through Holocaust records because, without fishing deep through some of the worst experiences of history, they wouldn’t they know anything beyond their parent or grandparent because the test they paid hundreds for only tells them they’re of whatever percentage that they are. Those tests don’t really give names and experiences that are the same as what an aunt or elder could share. And these tests have to rely on submitted (and accepted) history… which, by the way, can be burned, erased via genocide – or near genocide -, rejected/destroyed due to colonization and systematic bigotry (also known as, “The institution of academia can look very easily like a Klan member armed with a dictionary, white-out and an over active imagination”). There’s a bunch of data missing from history due to douchebags. Useful history that an elder would be more likely to know than the Library of Congress. Because it’s about your family in all its oddities, something books and datasheets gloss over.

Books and sheets won’t tell you about how your great great great great great cousin was a chicken thief but your great great great great grandpop made things right by running a community bank and food pantry that helped everyone flourish because he had the right knack for figuring out exactly when to plant and fish. Or that really dumb thing that your 13X great relative did that wound up creating a law that still exists to this present day because when your relative pranked people, they always went big… which somehow floated down the family line and now shows via a niece having a “social experiment/prank” channel on Youtube that occasionally goes viral because pastel-dyed skunks released in City Hall was a funny idea to her. But not so much to the mayor and council members, who may pass a small ordinance over this. You know, the little bits of history that a DNA test forgets. So, again, that was a dumb suggestion.

Oh, and here’s another reason why it’s dumb: because if you’re Black, you have to find who owned your family and hope they kept good records because that’s not a promise either. And it’s gonna be depressing.  Like, discovering your great, great, great aunt had their eyes burnt out with acid and fire and then lashed and lynched for simply being caught with a book since she wanted to learn how to read at the age of 45. Or how splintered your family was because of how often they got sold…or used as alligator bait.

And we do have indigenous faiths that stem from African beliefs: Santeria, Voudon, Hoodoo, Igbo, Maasai, etc etc etc. Duh.

Now, that’s already good and done. No need a DNA test for that. And is that person 100% German? 100% Anglo? 100% Welsh? 100% Scotts? Given that they’re American, I’m gonna ballpark that’s a “no”. Like, if that’s how they feel, I’m sure they can go back to Europe to be as true as possible; they’re not even on the right continent, let alone in the right country. But they’re going to need a magical blood separator to divide all those flavors of mayo they are if they want to be full-force, “Hitler would be proud, totes gonna vote for Trump” about it. I wonder what genetic test they took to figure out what branch of Paganism they’re going to follow. I mean, they sound like they probably couldn’t pass a literacy test so I’m sure they were none too bright to consider that.

Have I ever thought, “I should get a DNA test because I hang around neo-Nazis so I have something to tell them?” No. Why? It’s dumb and they aren’t showing me their files first so why should I have to take a test on my genetics? So they know exactly what patches to give me?

I didn’t have to figure out what part of my family came from where to figure out what version of Paganism to practice. Hey, even Christianity doesn’t have such a threshold…as well as other religions. Because it’s ridiculous. This sounds so Aryan, it’s moronic. This subject isn’t very important to any Pagan community I want to belong to. The Pagan community in the Western world is already racist enough, we don’t need people who take that hate to the next level.

Find other people to hang with, these people are eventually going to do something worse than just chat religious-flavored eugenics. And you’re not going to get a burning cross or spray-painted swastika as a warning.