23 May 2012

Surprised? Really?

Has anyone else watched Who Do You Think You Are?, the genealogy showed that shamelessly promoted Ancestry.com?

I find genealogy interesting, so I caught most of their episodes. The episodes that have gotten under my skin, however, are the ones in which the celebrity discovers s/he had ancestors who had slaves and they act all surprised about it.

Really? You're Caucasian and your family has been in the US for a long time and this surprises you? Unless you're descended from indentured servants (who sometimes went on to have slaves), chances seem pretty high someone in your family tree owned slaves. The further back you go, the more branches your family tree has.

Acting surprised about it just strikes me as ignorant or hopelessly naive.

"Acting" is probably the key word here. They don't want to be associated with relatives who had slaves. But to opt for shock and surprise? It reads as uneducated to me.

Of course slavery is wrong, but acting surprised that it touched your family tree seems like denial, and denial doesn't help prevent atrocities from recurring.

A year ago on TTaT: Pre-CT

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