Just a small thought

Olusoga is a Yoruba name. The Yoruba were not all slave traders, of course not, some of them became slaves. But it is true that some certain number of Yoruba were slavers, selling peeps from further inland to the ships.

Of course, go back enough centuries and we’re near all – certainly, people with any attachment to place are with the others of that place – tenth and twelfth cousins. But it is still true that as someone that one generation removed from Yorubaland that David Olugosa is more likely than I am – or perhaps you – to have a recent ancestor who was a slave trader.

The same would probably be true of Afua Hirsch with her Akan roots, of Nesrine Malik as an Arab Sundanese.

Wouldn’t it be fun if there were a “Who do you think you are?” investigation into those three sets of roots? You know, given how they do insist that slavery is the ineradicable sin upon an ancestry line?

9 thoughts on “Just a small thought”

  1. Anecdatum – a couple of people I know did an ancestry DNA test, one came back as a mix of Eng, Sco and Ire in that order. She shared her result and apologised for it being boring. The other came back Sco, Eng a few % southern european and 2% Punjabi. No idea how it got in there but Oooh That’s So Exciting was the most common reaction.

    And they say racism is rife in the UK.

  2. @John,
    I wonder whether the few % southern European and Punjabi could have been from a romany gypsy ancestor?

  3. I would have thought that a “Who do you think you are” investigation would only be possible in countries with functioning bureaucracies. Olusoga et al can only accuse the Brits of doing bad stuff because we were smart enough to record what we did, and because we valued individuality enough to write down names and ancestry and preserve this record with superior technology. That’s why Olusoga et al are living here, because we are better at doing stuff.

  4. “a mix of Eng, Sco and Ire in that order”: I am sceptical that a DNA test can distinguish on that scale. We are just one wee archipelago, fella.

  5. Wouldn’t it be fun if there were a “Who do you think you are?” investigation into those three sets of roots?

    It would be more fun if all three were to fuck off to wherever their ancestors hail from, or indeed anywhere else at all, and cease to bother us.

    @dearime – indeed. What is the ethnic difference between English & Scottish? I’m not convinced there is any.

  6. @KyleT – thanks for that idea – could be something in it. The woman in question has brown eyes (not hazel) and a penchant for piercings, though the last could be cultural to the UK now.

  7. What is the ethnic difference between English & Scottish?

    Scotsmen wear kilts and eat porridge three times a day, whereas Englishmen wear bowler hats and eat bacon and eggs . So there’s that

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