We wish the rest of the nation could have witnessed the fun and harmony of Jackson’s massive St. Paddy’s Day Parade, which attracted tens of thousands of revelers. It was a peaceful day of fun, and the weather was magnificent. The floats weren’t fancy or high falutin’, but the joy and laughter were plentiful, making up in spirit for any lack of Mardi Gras grandiosity.
Americans who don’t know much about our state would have been perplexed. White and black partied without a hint of racial animosity. Smiles and goodwill abounded. Everybody was having a fun time. There was no segregation of any kind. African-Americans and Euro-Americans were equally festooned in green and every variety of St. Paddy’s Day decor. Nobody thought a thing of it. Everyone was there just to have a good time and rub elbows with their fellow Mississippians.
Regarding African-Americans dressed to the hilt in Irish green: It may not be quite so improbable as some would believe. The rise of DNA testing has revealed that American lineage is not so black and white (pardon the pun) as many would believe. “White” Americans who get genetically tested to further genealogical knowledge will soon find they have a host of “black” cousins and vice versa. Indeed, the typical African-American is genetically 25 percent “white,” most of that being of Irish and Scottish origin. So the African-Americans in green are really celebrating a good chunk of their true ancestry.
As time goes on and genetic testing becomes more prevalent, perhaps we can all have a less exclusive view of race. As the cheerful enthusiasm of the St. Paddy’s Day Parade so clearly revealed, there really is only one race: the human race.
• The Northside Sun, Jackson