Not Egyptian

Photo of me by Wesley Abney
Photo of me by Wesley Abney

At a party last night, a woman asked where I am from. I told her my hometown. She said, “No, no, no, where are your parents from.” I thought, “Oh, boy, I know where this is going.” So I told her my father is black and my mother white. She wanted to know what part of Africa he is from. I told her my father’s first cousin got the mitochondrial DNA tested and it was from Ghana, but both mDNA goes mother to child so his relationship to this cousin is through his father makes and in the amount of time since they probably left Africa, that would be one of a 128 to1024 ancestors [1] so not really relevant. She dismissed the latter part and said I really look Egyptian (as her husband is Egyptian). She says a number of Ghanaians have immigrated to Egypt. I must have had a weird look on my face because she said at that point if she was boring me we did not have to talk about it. Her main point is I look a lot like her husband. Enough for her to think I was Egyptian.

Since I look enough like any number of relatively brown skinned people from all over the world and sport a scarily bushy beard, some people make interesting first impressions about my background. I have heard Greek, Saudi, Persian, Indian, and other Middle Eastern. Egyptian fits nicely. Still not Egyptian.

Though I am amused.

1: The move out of Africa was probably 7 to 10 generations back.

Find Wesley Abney who took this photo on Flickr.

Haven’t Been Called Middle Eastern In a Long While

Was invited to dinner at Nasrin’s last night. Some others from the neighborhood were invited as well. I got to tell the story I formerly blogged about in the Melungeon post:

Laurie: Ezra, where are you from?
Ezra: Right here, born and raised.
Laurie: Oh… Where are your parents from?
Ezra: Dad is from here. Mom was a military brat, so she’s not really from anywhere.
Laurie (Getting visibly confused… Long pause.): Okay, I’ll just say it. Why do you look like that?
Ezra: Oh, okay! I understand now. My father is black. My mother is white.

There was shock on various faces. More so on the trio who had never previously met me. None had thought I was black. They had thought me maybe Middle Eastern. Like maybe I was related to Nasrin? ROFL

The only time anyone has ever thought I am from the Middle East was back in college. Rahat, I think, who was from Saudi Arabia wanted to know when I was going to apply for my work permit to stay in the US. LOL It turns out he knew I knew so many people from the Middle East, he assumed I was as well.