Radical Inclusion

I’m going to write this story once so that I don’t hold on to it longer than necessary.

I was at a bar having a great time when a gentleman sat down next to me.

He was Middle Eastern and since my dad is Middle Eastern I wanted to talk to him about where he was from.

So I politely asked him where he was from.

Oakland.

Oh, I see. I only asked because my father is from Lebanon and I thought you might be too.

Well, it turns out he WAS from Lebanon.

Beirut actually, just like my father.

So we chatted about the old country and farms and Burning Man.

He asked me what my favorite Burning Man principle was.

I replied that it was definitely RADICAL INCLUSION.

I can come off as awkward from time to time so I like a principle that encourages people to embrace me despite my weirdness.

He agreed with me.

We were having such a good time talking, we barely noticed the bartender who was hanging around us, muttering under his breath.

But suddenly, we both VERY CLEARLY heard a racial slur come from his direction.

One I don’t care to repeat, but which was so troubling to me that I froze out of fear.

Of course, I look Scandinavian, not Middle Eastern, so the man’s comments were directed to my new friend, but for a brief second, I felt was it was like to be disliked because of something as insubstantial as heritage.

And it was frightening.

By now, all we could hear was the sound of this man’s voice, very clearly continuing on this path of racial discrimination.

My new friend gave me a hug, and left the bar after sharing a few words with the bartender.

I sat there in silence for a while, thinking about the Radical Inclusion principle which should have protected my friend from racism.

But didn’t.

Genetics, apples and trees

For a long time, my genetic background remained a mystery.

I was adopted.

I always felt like my parents were my parents but I never felt like I could claim their background as my own.

My father is Lebanese after all and I am the least middle eastern looking “Lebanese” woman you will ever meet.

My mom is also dark skinned with dark eyes and brown hair.

Then, when I was 22, I met Paul and Sherri, my birth parents.

And the mystery was somewhat solved.

I was Nordic and Scottish with a little Portuguese thrown in.

Mystery solved, right?

Not when you’re a geneticist by training.

I needed to know more.

So I sent my DNA sample (aka spit) to 23andme.com and they came back and told me the same basic information.

Northwestern European, British Isles, and Portuguese.

It seems no one could pin point my genetic makeup past Northwestern Europe – Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

Then lo and behold, a FACEBOOK quiz was created which analyzes your face to tell you where you are from.

Highly scientific, I am sure.

So I run the test (and probably offer over a buttload of personal data as well) and here is my result:

There is a 95% likelihood that I am Swedish.

Ha!

I had to laugh at that.

Then I had to post it to my Facebook page and tag The Swede.

Just because I know he’d get a kick out of it.

Travels 9,000 miles and meets a Swedish American.

Oh, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree now, does it?