Having a mother who is 100% Syrian, and a grandfather who immigrated from Damascus, Syria, I knew there was a high probability my dominant ethnicity would originate from the Arab world. My father, who has a very Italian last name, would certainly contribute some Italian to my DNA makeup too. Well, the verdict is in. Ancestry.com reports that my DNA looks most like DNA from these world regions:
- Northern Lebanon & Northwest Syria (51%)
- England, Nortwestern Europe, & Scotland (24%)
- Northern Italy (13%)
- France (12%)
Add them all up and you get 100%. Pretty clean. It begs the questions … should I be referred to as an Arab-British-Italian-French American? When I’m asked about my ethnicity on surveys, why isn’t there a box for Arab-British-Italian-French American? The closest category is usually “non-Hispanic white.” Why am I forced into that group? Who gets to decide that?
Would it be a bad idea to simply have a box for “American?” All Americans are multiracial, anyway, so what’s the point to put us all in groups based on race and ethnicity? Did you know that by 2050, 50 percent of the American population will be made up of current racial and ethnic minorities? Arab Americans are considered one of those minority groups. So given my ancestry, am I a minority, or am I in the non-Hispanic white majority?
All of a sudden, I’m confused. Thank you Ancestry.com.
But wait, no worries. I’m good. The book, Gracism, by author and pastor David A. Anderson, has helped reconcile my newfound confusion with God’s love and hope for the human race. God is a Gracist. Pastor Anderson is a Gracist. And now, I’m a Gracist. The more Gracist Americans we have, the less racial and ethnic tension we’ll have in America. Won’t you join me in becoming a Gracist American? Here’s a sample of the book. I encourage you to buy it and read it.
This book, Gracism, tugs on my heart and compels me to want to teach its message. We pass by people of all colors, classes, and cultures we don’t know every day. We’re often tempted to overlook the average or marginalized person because we don’t want to be inconvenienced, or we don’t think we can make a difference.
Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was once asked this question, “If you had one final broadcast, one final opportunity to address your television neighbors, and you could tell them the single most important lesson of your life, what would you say?”
Well, I would want [those] who were listening somehow to know that they had unique value, that there isn’t anybody in the whole world exactly like them and that there never has been and there never will be. And that they are loved by the Person who created them in a unique way.
If they could know that and really know it and have that behind their eyes, they could look with those eyes on their neighbor and realize, “My neighbor has unique value too; there’s never been anybody in the whole world like my neighbor, and there never will be.” If they could value that person – if they could love that person – in ways that we know that the Eternal love us, then I would be very grateful.– Fred Rogers
It sounds like Mister Rogers was a Gracist American too. I’m in good company. Won’t you join Mister Rogers and me?