DNA Testing and Recreational Genetics
A recent report in the British broadsheet The Observer investigated the trend in DNA testing and genetics that is currently sweeping America. DNA tests has unveiled some surprising truths that show how easily misconceptions about identity and roots can manifest themselves in the present. For example, DNA ancestry testing revealed that Barack Obama, a man hoping to be the country’s first black president, is descended from white slave owners.
DNA Tests Reveals Surprising Truths
These tests have shown that the majority of black Americans have European ancestry. One story of unusual genealogy the Observer followed was that of Al Sharpton. Reverend Sharpton is one of the most outspoken black civil rights leaders. But DNA testing revealed he was in fact descended from Strom Thurmond. Thurmond was a white segregationist who ran for president based on his racist views.
Just as DNA testing has shown white racists such as BNP members that they have strains of African blood in their make-up, the revelations show that identity is far more complex then the colour of a person’s skin.
DNA Testing and Genealogy
All across America, people are digging into their family history as part of the hobby of mapping family trees. Identity and roots are particularly pertinent to many Americans who immigrated to the land just a few generations ago. Many are eager to re-connect to their roots, and DNA ancestry testing is one way of confirming family relations.
Modern Testing Techniques
Modern testing methods that are DNA based can reveal what part of the world a person’s ancestors came from – how much of a percentage of their make up is European, African or Asian. And many Americans are making surprising discoveries. As well as whites with black blood and vice-versa, the Native American population has increased as a result of DNA testing revealing hitherto unknown ancestors in their genes.
An Identity Revolution
DNA testing unveiling ancestral make-up is causing what has been dubbed an ‘identity revolution’ in America. Caucasian people are discovering for example that they are a quarter Native American, and some blacks are discovering that they are a quarter white. These tests are literally changing how many Americans think. It reveals that the racial lines drawn by the colour of a person’s skin are much more blurred and far less straightforward.
This trend in the field has been labelled ‘recreational genetics’ and the tests can radically change how a person sees himself with just a simple swab sample. As a result, some whites who have discovered African DNA are now applying for scholarships aimed at minorities or using their discoveries to find distant relatives. It’s been reported that DNA hunters will go to extreme lengths to get samples for DNA testing, including plucking hair from newly deceased relatives.