She had always identified as mixed-race. Her DNA results changed that.

When Shayna Watson decided to get an AncestryDNA test to reveal her ancestry on her 30th birthday, she had a certain idea of what the results would look like.

"I expected to see African, I expected to see a little bit of European, just based on colonization, and I definitely expected to see at least a little Native American," she says.

Watson had grown up with stories of her partial Native American heritage. In fact, her father had proudly shown her photographs of her grandmother on a Pequot reservation.  


When Watson was asked, frequently, throughout her childhood and adulthood, "What are you mixed with?" in regards to her distinctive curly hair, she had responded with "Native American" — although she had never known for sure.

Image courtesy of Shayna Watson.

"I get my ancestry results back and there's not even a drop of Native American," she says.

"It was a shock."

Immediately, she took a screenshot of the results and sent them to her mother, followed only by a question mark. Questions initially popped into her head — like "Am I adopted?" "Is my dad really my dad?" But that wasn’t it. She wasn't adopted. And her dad was her dad. There was just more to the story.

Screenshot of AncestryDNA results via Shayna Watson.

"It made everybody kind of stop and recognize that a lot of the oral history that we know in our family may not be true," she explains. "It opened up this conversation of whether my grandma was passing as Native American at the time."

That discovery led Watson to some difficult questions about her family's history. Had her grandmother been told the same stories she had? Or did she have to downplay her African heritage because of anti-black sentiment she faced?

Watson continues, "I think what the DNA test did that was great for me and my family was that it kind of allowed a truth to be told without people having to tell the truth."

Screenshot of AncestryDNA map results via Shayna Watson.

The experience has even inspired Watson's mom to take her own AncestryDNA test, and she is eagerly awaiting the results.

In addition to revealing her family’s past, the AncestryDNA test results helped Watson better understand how her ancestry can inform her identity.

Once the initial shock of not having any Native American heritage died down a little, Watson was able to really process her results, which showed that 73% of her ancestors came from the continent of Africa and 25% came from Europe, mostly Scandinavian regions.

"I was kind of pleasantly surprised with the percentage African-American that was there," she says. "With us black Americans, it's not an easy narrative to come back and see such a large percentage of European because, for a lot of us, we know what that means. We know the tough history behind that."

Seeing such a large African percentage, she felt relief.

Finding out her family history and where they came from, she says, has given her more confidence in her identity as a black woman. Knowing that some of the unique physical characteristics she receives compliments on are, in fact, a result of her African ancestry has become a source of pride for her.

Image courtesy of Shayna Watson.

"There was a lot of times when I was growing up that I kind of clung to this idea that I was mixed with a bunch of things and I used that to set myself apart a little bit," she says.

"Now when people ask if I am mixed with something, I say 'no,'" Watson says.

"Hearing that question again as an adult," she wrote in her article for The Root, "especially now — when I know the legacy of squeezing into spaces in order to exist that has come out in my history — has really shifted the way I view beauty and blackness."

Watson is a writer by career, and while telling her story to others, she found it resonated with a lot of people. So, she decided to write about her experiences of digging into her ancestry in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same.  

"I think for those of us that are labelled as minorities in this country, it's a difficult place to find where you fit in," Watson says. "What this allowed me to do was decide for myself — even though the results came back with six different places I was connected to — it allowed me to decide where I wanted to identify."

For her birthday this past year, Watson took a vacation to Africa and spent a lot of time exploring Morocco.

Watson on her trip in Morocco. Image courtesy of Shayna Watson.

"That trip … it definitely felt different, just knowing that such a huge percentage of me was from where I was standing," she says. "And it definitely makes me want to go back and visit Nigeria and Congo and all of the places that showed up on my results that I never knew I had a direct connection to without doing this test."

Watson says that she recommends that other people take the test too even if they think that they know what the test will show.  

"There are so many things in your ancestry that  your  family may never know to tell you ... It lets you get a part of [your past] that you could never get just from talking to people and family members," she says. "Even if you think that you know, and even if every story going back in your family is from a certain place, I would still suggest doing it because we are such a melting pot and it's a beautiful thing."

Did you know? April 25 is DNA Day. Have you celebrated your heritage today?

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.




Others found this to be very relatable content.








And then things took a brief turn...


...when Carli revealed that her dad had been stood up by his date.



And people were NOT happy about it.





However, things did work out in the end. According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Carli told her dad about all of the attention the tweet was getting, and it gave him hope.

Carli's dad, Jeff, told Yahoo Lifestyle that he didn't even know what Twitter was before now, but that he has made an account and is receiving date offers from all over the world. “I'm being asked out a lot," said Jeff. “But I'm very private about that."



We stan Jeff, the viral Twitter dad. Go give him a follow!

This article originally appeared on SomeeCards. You can read it here.

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Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

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Abigail Disney is the granddaughter of the late Roy Disney, the co-founder of the Walt Disney Co. Abigail herself does not have a job within the company, but she has made some public complaints about the way things are being run and how it is effecting the employees of the company.

Disney recently spoke on the Yahoo News show "Through Her Eyes," and shared a story of how a Magic Kingdom employee reached out to her about the poor working conditions at the theme park. So, Disney went to see for herself, and she did not like what she found.

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