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BIGGER PICTURE: The end of a mystery

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John Kenny is 72 years old. For 70 of those years the Waterloo resident has dealt with a mystery of sorts in his life, one that has troubled him constantly.

His parents had five kids. He is the third (middle) child. The two before him have blonde hair and blue eyes. So do the two born after him.

Look at the accompanying photo and you can see John has a dark complexion and dark eyes, nothing close to the look of either parent. Logic might dictate he was adopted. Perhaps he was switched at birth. Maybe a recessive gene surfaced from generations back. Or, was his dad not his biological father?

The simple solution would be to ask his parents, which John did. But he was never given any explanation; in fact, it was preferred that it not be a topic of discussion. It was a lingering, unanswered question that always stuck in the back of his mind — and, at times, made life difficult.

Many may not be aware of the “one-drop rule.” It is a social and legal principle of racial classification that started in the United States in the 1900s. It asserts that any person with even one forebearer of Black ancestry (“one drop” of “Black blood”) is considered Black. It is an example of the automatic assignment of children of a mixed union between different socioeconomic or ethnic groups to the group that usually has the lower status, regardless of the proportion of........

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