Rather, I am referring to my ancestry.
My mother is Japanese, so that theoretically makes me half Japanese, a quarter Welsh, and a sixteenth Scottish, Irish, English, and German.
But my father once told me that when he went to Wales he saw absolutely no one who looked like him.
And my mother has a pronounced bridge to her nose, which is vaguely non-Japanese-looking. And none of the three kids in our family were particularly Asian-looking, though that may have been primarily a function of our father's craggy features.
A couple days ago I stumbled across this account of how Vanessa Williams found out exactly where her ancestors had come from. I wondered if I might have any similar surprises, so sent away for a DNA kit from Ancestry.com. for $109.
They seem to be able to break down your European ancestry (to "British Isles," if not Scottish or Irish, and "southern European," if not necessarily Greek or Italian). It will be interesting if I don't come back exactly as advertised.
It may turn out that we have some Korean or Ainu blood, which might not please my mother, who grew up in Japan, and can't help but harbor a few typically Japanese attitudes.
My father's side of the family has been in this country for over 200 years; I'm sort of hoping we turn out to have a dash of African blood. If so, I'll be able to speak honestly about racial differences without anyone accusing me of racism. (Or, if they do, at least I can patiently explain to them that it's okay for me to say these things -- even if it's not okay for them.)
I'll even be able to use the n-word with impunity. (Well, maybe not.)
I love the idea of DNA testing. Apart from its usefulness in determining criminal culpability and paternity, it could be a useful tool in other ways, too. For instance, in determining who has the right to open up a casino: personally, I don't think anyone who has less than half Native American blood should be allowed to. (Actually, I don't think the government should be awarding such licenses on the basis of ancestry at all, but that's another matter.)
I've seen pictures of some of the people who claim Native American ancestry in order to obtain such a license. About three quarters of them could never, ever get cast in a Hollywood movie about Indians. I look far more like an Indian than most of them, even though I have no Indian blood.
Or maybe I do. As I said, my father's side has been in this country a long time, and stranger things have happened. If we are part Cherokee, that could be a nice windfall: step right up folks, we have the finest slot machines in the entire state! The roulette wheel is right over there; put your money on either the red or the black.
I'm not putting my money on either red or black ancestry; but I will consider it a pleasant surprise if I have either.
An interesting surprise, anyway.
I'll report back in a few weeks.