By Raquel Cepeda
In 2009, while Raquel Cepeda nearly misplaced her estranged father to center ailment, she used to be terrified she’d by no means recognize the reality approximately her ancestry. each time she appeared within the replicate, Cepeda observed a mystery—a tapestry of races and ethnicities that got here jointly in an ambiguous combine. With time operating out, she determined to embark on an archaeological dig of varieties by utilizing the technology of ancestral DNA checking out to excavate every little thing she may well approximately her genetic history.
In 2009, while Raquel Cepeda nearly misplaced her estranged father to middle affliction, she used to be terrified she’d by no means recognize the reality approximately her ancestry. at any time when she appeared within the reflect, Cepeda observed a mystery—a tapestry of races and ethnicities that got here jointly in an ambiguous combine. With time working out, she made up our minds to embark on an archaeological dig of types by utilizing the technology of ancestral DNA trying out to excavate every little thing she may possibly approximately her genetic history.
Digging via thoughts lengthy buried, she embarks upon a trip not just into her ancestry but additionally into her personal heritage. Born in Harlem to Dominican mom and dad, she was once despatched to stay along with her maternal grandparents within the Paraíso (Paradise) district in Santo Domingo whereas nonetheless a child. It proved to be an idyllic reprieve in her in a different way fraught youth. Paraíso got here to intend relations, domestic, belonging. while Cepeda lower back to the united states, she stumbled on her kinfolk constellation had replaced. Her mom had a brand new, abusive boyfriend, who relocated the relatives to San Francisco. whilst that dating fell aside, Cepeda discovered herself again in manhattan urban together with her father and ecu stepmother: attending tennis classes and Catholic colleges; battling vicious battles wih her father, who discouraged her from expressing the Dominican a part of her hyphenated identification; and immersed within the ’80s hip-hop tradition of uptown long island. It used to be in those streets, in the course of the prism of hip-hop and the occasionally loving include of her neighborhood, that Cepeda built her personal id.
Years later, while Cepeda had turn into a profitable journalist and documentary filmmaker, the strands of her DNA might take her extra, around the globe and into historical past. Who have been her ancestors? How did they—and she—become Latina? Her trip, because the such a lot unforgettable ones frequently do, may lead her to locations she hadn’t anticipated to move. With a colourful lyrical prose and fierce honesty, Cepeda parses thoughts of race, id, and ancestral DNA between Latinos by utilizing her personal Dominican-American tale as one instance, and within the method arrives at a few type of peace together with her father.