Why My Roots are Important

In collaboration with HISTORY and 23AndMe — the story, words and experiences are my own.

ROOTS is premiering on HISTORY this Monday, 5/30 at 9pm ET. Be sure to follow ROOTS on Twitter (#ROOTS) and Facebook, and to find out more, click here.

The moment I submitted my DNA kit, I knew there was no turning back. Over the next few weeks, I looked forward to receiving the results on the 23andMe website. Well, it’s been an excruciating few weeks to say the least.

When I finally had the chance to review the results two days ago, it was rather eye-opening for me. It reminded me of how little we actually know about ourselves, despite the age of self-promotion that we live in. We're constantly promoting ourselves on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Yet that’s just one part of our identity. For some, it’s a very small part of it. When I first began this process, I wasn’t aware of how potentially life-changing it can be. You can see my full story in the video below:

Some key takeaways that I’ve come to embrace as a result of this entire process:

As an individual of native East Asian descent, I embody two identities - one as an immigrant and the other as a naturalized citizen in the United States. This identity can often be conflicting, polarizing and politicizing. It continues to influence my everyday decisions in perpetuity.

• Our genealogy not only represents our ancestral roots, but they also determine the physical traits that so commonly effect how others perceive us. Discrimination and stereotypes are inextricably tied to our roots.

• As an individual of native East Asian descent, I embody two identities - one as an immigrant and the other as a naturalized citizen in the United States. This identity can often be conflicting, polarizing and politicizing. It continues to influence my everyday decisions in perpetuity. 

• It's not about who you are, but who you become. I remember growing up always trying to keep up with my peers in a way that wasn't organic and authentic. This comes to mind as I reflect upon my genealogy and roots; just because I wasn't born into a life of privilege, it doesn't mean I can't fully manifest and maximize my destiny. 

 

After all, Harold Taylor once said, "The roots of true achievement lie in the will to become the best that you can become.” I am very grateful to have taken on this project as it allowed me to examine and augment my identity from an angle I had never imagined before. It reinforced the notion that I am a whole person in control of achieving my true potential, whether our roots hinder or propel us towards greatness.