What ethnicity are you? Has anyone ever asked you this question? It’s a question I get asked every so often and my response is rarely if ever what the inquisitor is expecting. “I’m a European mutt. Mostly Welsh and English descent.” I’ve gotten a mixed response to this answer. Some are clearly disappointed, I presume because it wasn’t the answer they were expecting. Some are slightly puzzled, I presume because once again it isn’t what they expected. In a couple cases I have been asked what exactly Welsh is. Really? I know it’s small but the flag has a red dragon on it, how do you miss that. Occasionally I run into a brave soul that will just straight out guess… “Are you part Native American?”, “Are you part Asian?” Either one I would be more than happy to claim as part of my heritage, but I would be lying if I did.
Really my heritage doesn’t change who I am or make me more or less important. However I do feel an affinity towards my Welsh roots, and when people ask what ethnicity I am, I’m quite certain it’s the Welsh in me that they see. I used to have a friend in high school who would say, “Jessie, when you wear black you look just like Catherine Zeta Jones”. It was a lovely compliment. Catherine Zeta Jones is Welsh, Anthony Hopkins is Welsh, Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, his dad was Welsh, and Mary Quant, credited with inventing the mini skirt and hot pants, is also Welsh. But where did the Welsh come from? Largely Wales was settled by the Celts. The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies, so I’m still left to wonder.
Maybe those people who ask if I’m Native or Asian aren’t that far off. Recently I did a little reading and found this info: Geneticist Prof Steve Jones says the Welsh and the Irish are among the most homogenous people in the world. He and colleagues at University College, London, have spent years creating a genetic map of the Y chromosome, which is passed by males from generation to generation. The results show that the Welsh are related to the Basques of northern Spain and southern France and to native Americans. All are descended from the Kets people of western Siberia…. So maybe next time some brave soul offers a guess as to what my ethnicity is I’ll just nod and say’ “Yes, yes I am.”