Many years ago, my mother had an older friend who had a rather dark complexion, because her father was a descendant of the African slaves employed by the Ottomans, mostly for domestic work, until the late 19th Century. Sadly, this woman had never accepted her heritage or come to terms with her skin color; instead, she was forever resentful to her mother for having married that dark-skinned man, her biological father. It apparently never dawned on her that she was a unique and chance product of those 2 special people and that had her parents never mated with each other, or even, for example, if they had happened to have mated on another night she would not have been born.
What made her mentality especially disturbing to me was that she taught biology at a high school. Imagine having her as a teacher.
Nevertheless, I had always assumed that this woman’s distorted notion of her identity was an isolated case and that most normally intelligent adults would not fall into the same logical trap.
Just recently, however, I came upon another example, but this time in a fictional setting. A couple of weeks ago, I started reading the Turkish author Kemal Tahir’s novel Esir Şehrin İnsanları*. One of the secondary characters in the book, a Turkish man, visits his ex-wife, an Italian woman who, years earlier, had taken their small daughter and left him. The man goes out to lunch with his daughter, now in her late teens. She doesn’t recognize him and is instead under the impression that he is a friend of her father. During lunch, the man asks his daughter what she thinks of her father.
She became sullen. She said she couldn’t comprehend how her mother had done such a wrong thing...A Turkish father...I can only hope Kemal Tahir, often labeled an intellectual, was aware of the absurdity of the young woman's thinking.
*People of the Captive City, first published in 1956, is a novel about the incipient nationalist movement in Istanbul after the 1st World War when the city was under British control. As far as I know there is no published English translation of it. A Turkish account of Tahir's life and works is here.