Saturday, January 3, 2009

American Identity

Great great grandchildren of Sally Hemings  

As we are about to inaugurate our next president I am wondering if we have finally accepted that the real definition of American is not someone like Thomas Jefferson or Dolly Madison.

Our new president has African ancestry, as well as European. He was raised by a white family who were not wealthy, but sent him to the best schools. He married an African American woman who is the descendent of slaves.

How would he describe himself? Of course, he has to say he is American first. But then what does he say? He is from Chicago? He is originally from Hawaii? He is a father? He has roots in Africa?

No, racism is not gone. It is REALLY alive and well. But, America has changed. Our ideal image is not Jefferson. Maybe it is the children of Sally Hemings.

By the way, speaking of American identity... it is worth checking out Annette Gordon Reed's book on Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson -- Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy

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