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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2008
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    1,600

    Default Would you have the nerve to ask?

    Recently, I discoverd a box of very old photos from my great aunt's house. I recognized everyone in the photos except for one person. In the box was a formal photograph of a young mixed race man. I have never seen his face, and he was the only person of color in the whole group. Everyone else pictured was related-only blood kin, no friends included in the box.

    After reading Annette Gordon-Reed's book about the Hemmings family, am wondering if I might have cousins of color. Now, I think that would be cool, but approaching the question with my mother would be awkward.

    Would you push through the discomfort to get the answer, or would you let sleeping cousins lie?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2007
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    1,875

    Default

    Do it! If he's included in the family photo, whoever it was, he was accepted enough to be included in a family photo. Just tell her you were going through pictures, saw someone you didn't recognize in a family photo and wanted to know who it was.
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2003
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    1,266

    Default

    In my family I probably couldn't ask fast enough-before someone else asked and someone would have scanned the picture and posted it on facebook for the family to see. No one in my family would be upset about anything. we embrace any perceived scandal.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2007
    Location
    PA
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    5,150

    Default

    Ask. I can't believe you didn't already - I know I would have and so would everyone else in the family.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2008
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    6,021

    Default

    I'm a writer... so no. I would instead make up an invented and awesome history for him, and then write a book about it. d;



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2001
    Location
    New York, NY
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    6,986

    Default

    Why would you be uncomfortable asking? That seems to reflect upon your involuntary racial prejudices...



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,136

    Default

    I would have to dredge up the nerve to ask, because my mother is AWFULLY proper and HATES to talk about improper (HER rules) subjects and makes you VERRRRRRRY sorry you asked.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2006
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    1,404

    Default

    Ask. And if you think the answer is evasive, ask somebody else.

    But make sure you have possession of the photo first, so that it does not 'disappear'.

    Ask me how I know...........
    Incredible Invisible



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2008
    Posts
    1,600

    Default

    kateh-the young man is alone in the photo, very well dressed, and it's a formal portrait. It looks to have been taken in the late '20s.

    My dad died 10 years ago, and my mother and I have become closer since his passing. I am reluctant to upset our relationship just to satisy my curiosity.

    Woodsperson, I am the only "progressive" in the family-I'm sure the rest of my mother's family would be less than thrilled to have to to face diversification-or "scandal" if you want to call it that!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2008
    Location
    In the middle of Texas
    Posts
    635

    Default

    I would ask but most likely in private. Each family is different and some individuals are much more defensive when you ask certain types of questions. My family is o-l-d o-l-d Texas and there are somethings you simply do NOT ask, ever. But, I've learned to find answers to my questions in a round about way. I, like you, did find out that I have a cousin of color. I wanted to meet him and did. Was my family happy about it? No, that's why they ostracized them from the rest of us. Did I care? Hell no. We only live once and I'm going to do whatever it is that I feel is right. Although, I will say that my grandmother's long time housekeeper, nanny, and later in life caretaker was a wonderful woman. She worked for my family for 40+ years. When she passed I absolutely insisted that we pay for her funeral. That's the least we could do to show gratitude to her and her family. She was absolutely wonderful.

    I will say, that when I was younger (before I shipped off to a liberal hippy college) I believed everything I was told. I'm sad to say that. BUT, I quickly learned that color is just that, color. It's simply a means of history and shows how certain groups of peoples adapted to certain regions throughout time.

    I don't think you'd be sorry that you asked

    Best wishes!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2008
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    1,600

    Default

    Tha Ridge-it's mama issues that keep me from pursuing the answer, not racial ones! I'm not bothered at all by the idea, but my mother would be very upset if she had to face the fact that she may have black relatives.

    Quin-the only other person left to ask woud be my aunt-and she would have a bigger coniption fit than my mother! And, thanks for the tip on keeping possession of the pic-I could see it getting "misplaced"-and that would be a shame.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2001
    Location
    New York, NY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lesson junkie View Post
    Tha Ridge-it's mama issues that keep me from pursuing the answer, not racial ones! I'm not bothered at all by the idea, but my mother would be very upset if she had to face the fact that she may have black relatives.
    Gotcha.

    Well, I hope you ask and find out some interesting stories about said young man. You should update us next OT day if you do ask.



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