I Don’t Need a DNA Test to Tell Me How Black I Am

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2019-04-17 14:08Z by Steven

I Don’t Need a DNA Test to Tell Me How Black I Am

The New York Times
2019-04-16

Erin Aubry Kaplan, Contributing Opinion Writer


Simone Noronha

Tests like 23andMe are a fad that distracts us from the reality of race in America.

When my sister called me a few months ago to say, a little breathlessly, that she had gotten back her results from 23andMe, I snapped at her, “I don’t want to know!” She kept trying to share, but I kept shutting her down, before saying I had to go and hanging up. Afterward I felt a little shaky, as if I’d narrowly escaped disaster.

I’ve never been interested in DNA tests. I have nothing against people discovering they’re 18 percent German or 79 percent Irish, but I think the tests are a fad that distracts us from the harsh realities of race and identity in America. They encourage us to pretend that in terms of shaping who we really are, individual narratives matter more than the narrative of the country as a whole. There is no test for separation and tribalism, and yet they are baked into our cultural DNA.

But that didn’t explain the panic I felt during that phone call. I was a little embarrassed that I couldn’t take the news, whatever that news turned out to be. And then I realized that was it: I didn’t want to “turn out to be” anything more than what I was. I didn’t want my blackness divvied up or deconstructed any more than it has already been, not just in my lifetime but in the history of the Creole people of Louisiana I descend from…

Read the entire article here.

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Carlos Arias Vivas | DNA tests don’t define your identity

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-04-09 02:03Z by Steven

Carlos Arias Vivas | DNA tests don’t define your identity

The Daily Pennsylvanian
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2018-03-14

Carlos Arias Vivas


CC0

Convos with Carlos | 23andMe results can’t change your upbringing

During one late night bonding session with my hallmates, one of them revealed to the group that they took a DNA test and discovered more about their background. Intrigued, I sought out to buy one of the kits for myself. The major players in this industry are Ancestry.com and 23andMe; both offer DNA tests that can shed light on your lineage as well as an optional health risks assessment.

Now, I knew that these tests are very expensive. For 23andMe, the basic ancestry service costs $99 and the Health + Ancestry service costs $199. I ended up choosing to go with 23andMe based on positive online reviews. Also, this was the brand my hallmate had used. Luckily, for me, there was a special Black Friday sale, so I snatched up the kit and waited for it to arrive at Amazon@Penn.

Before doing the spit-test that is required, I knew that I was going to be Latino. My parents are from Ecuador, and I imagined that my ancestry composition would show a high concentration of Latino ancestry. I never questioned my background because that was never a conversation I had with my family. After countless times of spitting in my tube, I entered my registration code to track my kit, sealed up the test tube in the box, and dropped off my sample at the post office.

This “waiting game” was an agonizing process. But even though I was excited to receive my results, I knew that the outcome wouldn’t dramatically change who I was. Whatever 23andMe had in store, my upbringing is already set in stone…

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Woman takes 2 ancestry tests, gets 2 wildly different results

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2017-11-07 22:50Z by Steven

Woman takes 2 ancestry tests, gets 2 wildly different results

The Grio
2017-11-03

A Chicago-area woman wanted to test the accuracy of the popular DNA tests that are supposed to find your family history, but when she mailed away her DNA, the results she got were vastly different from each other.

Jennifer Smith was interested in her family ancestry, so she tried out a DNA kit from Ancestry.com, but was shocked when her breakdown showed that she was 97 percent European and 2 percent Asian.

“I’m a Black girl; I am not a Jewish white lady,” Smith told Fox32 Chicago, recalling her utter confusion at her results…

William Gilliland, an associate biology professor at Depaul University, explained that “DNA tests for ethnicity are entertainment value only,” noting that while DNA tests can connect you to family members, there is no solid DNA marker or “diagnostic nucleotide” for race…

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White Nonsense

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-10-19 00:38Z by Steven

White Nonsense

Vice News
2016-10-09

Elspeth Reeve

Alt-right trolls are arguing over genetic tests they think “prove” their whiteness

Andrew remembers feeling a “tinge of apprehension” when he logged on to 23andMe. Several weeks earlier, he’d spit into a tube and mailed it to the genetic testing company, which analyzes customers’ DNA to estimate where their ancestors came from. But when he clicked on his color-coded ancestry chart, he felt relief: 99.7 percent European. He went to the Reddit page /r/WhiteRights, where he’s a moderator, and posted a screenshot: “Finally got around to checking my privilege,” he wrote. At the bottom of the chart, he’d photoshopped in an extra line: “100% Goy.”

“There’s kind of a running joke that everyone works for the JIDF [Jewish Internet Defense Force] or is secretly nonwhite,” explained Andrew, who says he’s a 31-year-old lawyer from Washington, D.C. “So when I posted my 23andMe results, I was playing off that.” (Andrew posts on Reddit as slippery_people, but, like quite a few of the white nationalists I’ve spoken to, he doesn’t want his real identity associated with these views.)…

…23andMe does not test for race. Its main business now is ancestry testing, after some early trouble with the FDA over claims the service could mine your genes to determine risk factors for disease. The company, based in Mountain View, California, received an investment from Google in 2007, a year after its founding. It got another boost in 2012 when PBS began running “Finding Your Roots,” a show where celebrities traced their ancestry with genotyping from 23andMe. By June 2015, the company had analyzed the DNA of 1 million customers, though it has faced some criticism for not having a large enough sample of DNA from people who do not have European heritage…

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White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2014-12-24 17:50Z by Steven

White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier

The New York Times
2014-12-24

Carl Zimmer

In 1924, the State of Virginia attempted to define what it means to be white.

The state’s Racial Integrity Act, which barred marriages between whites and people of other races, defined whites as people “whose blood is entirely white, having no known, demonstrable or ascertainable admixture of the blood of another race.”

There was just one problem. As originally written, the law would have classified many of Virginia’s most prominent families as not white, because they claimed to be descended from Pocahontas.

So the Virginia legislature revised the act, establishing what came to be known as the “Pocahontas exception.” Virginians could be up to one-sixteenth Native American and still be white in the eyes of the law.

People who were one-sixteenth black, on the other hand, were still black.

In the United States, there is a long tradition of trying to draw sharp lines between ethnic groups, but our ancestry is a fluid and complex matter. In recent years geneticists have been uncovering new evidence about our shared heritage, and last week a team of scientists published the biggest genetic profile of the United States to date, based on a study of 160,000 people…

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Black And White In America: Study Reveals Many Americans Have Mixed Race Background They Were Unaware Of

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-19 21:40Z by Steven

Black And White In America: Study Reveals Many Americans Have Mixed Race Background They Were Unaware Of

Medical Daily
New York, New York
2014-12-18

Dana Dovey, Health Journalist

Earlier this year, National Geographic made headlines with its “Changing Face of America” article. The story explained that America was becoming more comfortable with interracial relationships, and as a result, the future would be made up of a group of people with features from multiple races. A new study has challenged this hypothesis and suggested that this “mixed race future” is already here. We just never realized it.

The study, published by Cell Press, found that there is quite a large difference in the race that people identify with and what they actually are. In a recent study, researchers analyzed the DNA of more than 160,000 Americans who had offered their saliva as part of the 23andMe project. What researchers found was surprising.

The study found that, as expected, people tended to identify with the race that made up the majority of their background. However, for many, this self-identification was not completely accurate. According to the press release, the team estimated that as many as six million Americans who identify as white from a European background carry African ancestry and as many as five million self-described European white Americans have Native American ancestry….

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The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-12-19 02:12Z by Steven

The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States

The American Journal of Human Genetics
Volume 96, Issue 1, 2015-01-08
Pages 37–53
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.11.010

Katarzyna Bryc, Research Fellow in Genetics (EXT)
Department of Genetics
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Eric Y. Durand
23andMe, Inc., Mountain View, California

J. Michael Macpherson, Assistant Professor
School of Computational Sciences
Chapman University, Orange, California

David Reich, Professor of Genetics
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Joanna L. Mountain, Senior Director of Research
23andMe, Inc., Mountain View, California

Over the past 500 years, North America has been the site of ongoing mixing of Native Americans, European settlers, and Africans (brought largely by the trans-Atlantic slave trade), shaping the early history of what became the United States. We studied the genetic ancestry of 5,269 self-described African Americans, 8,663 Latinos, and 148,789 European Americans who are 23andMe customers and show that the legacy of these historical interactions is visible in the genetic ancestry of present-day Americans. We document pervasive mixed ancestry and asymmetrical male and female ancestry contributions in all groups studied. We show that regional ancestry differences reflect historical events, such as early Spanish colonization, waves of immigration from many regions of Europe, and forced relocation of Native Americans within the US. This study sheds light on the fine-scale differences in ancestry within and across the United States and informs our understanding of the relationship between racial and ethnic identities and genetic ancestry.

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