We are the sum of our parts. Everyone who came before us has contributed to who we are in unfathomable ways. Our ancestors’ decisions of who they decided to mate with combined with where they lived have set a groundwork and template for our very life. It is incredible to think of people you have never met and how they have made you the person you are today. Of course, ancestry does not tell the whole story of an individual but it tells a major part of it.
Your ancestors have created your physical appearance. It is no secret that your DNA draws upon the DNA your ancestors have contributed towards it. If all of your ancestors were Northern European, then you will exhibit those traits. If all of your ancestors came from Sub-Saharan Africa, you will also exhibit those traits. A person could have had a breakage in the similarity of traits with an ancestor of a different ethnic group. Diversity in traits tend to disappear the further away one gets from the ancestor who is unlike the rest. However, this is not always true. Due to the wild card nature of the human gene pool, a person can exhibit traits from a distant ancestor, causing the parents to ask “where did this come from?”. Someone’s perceived physical attractiveness is all dependent on this. If you feel as if you are not attractive enough or you dislike your physical appearance, blame your ancestors.
Beyond physical appearance, our ancestors have given us a set of genes that can make or break us. For example, a person with parents of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have a high propensity of developing Tay-Sachs’ disease and an even higher chance of developing Cystic Fibrosis. In essence, your ancestors’ desire to mate and have descendants of your own can make you live with the consequences of their choices and have a diminished life as a result. It is a harrowing thought to consider.
Culture is also affected by ancestry. You inherit the culture of your forefathers. If they decided to settle in Italy, you are Italian and will be raised in the Italian tradition. If those Italians decided to settle in America, you may develop a mixed Italian and American identity. This Italian identity may not be passed on to your descendants who will grow up to be unabashedly American. If your ancestors were brought onto slave ships during American colonization, you will most likely be one of the many Black Americans that got a slow start on “The American Dream” and your life will suffer as a result. If your ancestors were one of the people who brought them here, you will most likely be considered an “Old Money” family and will have invest-able prosperity. There is no escape.
We are judged on our physical appearance, disabilities, and how we relate to others (culture). People tend not to focus on what is within as that is intangible and too difficult to grasp. Some people win the genetic lottery, others are not so lucky. It’s amazing to think of all the freedom in the world that we think we have but our life has pretty much been decided by our ancestors. There’s only so much we can do.