Updated: Apr 24
Episode 05 Know Your Genes: DNA & Personal Identity
There are many ways to explore our ancestry - one modern option is DNA. Race may not be scientific, but technology now allows us to explore our identity through genes using direct to consumer genetic testing (e.g., Ancestry.com).
Join us as Chris and I continue to explore our origin stories through DNA and the ways in which the results impact our personal perspectives.
Chris, left, and Cha, right, found they were primary connected to ancestors in West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana) and Western Europe (Britain/Ireland).
Our DNA results? ~75% West African, ~25% European
Chris and I fit almost perfectly within the average found in the discussed study.
“The average African-American genome, for example, is 73.2% African, 24% European, and 0.8% Native American, the team reports online today in The American Journal of Human Genetics. Latinos, meanwhile, carry an average of 18% Native American ancestry, 65.1% European ancestry (mostly from the Iberian Peninsula), and 6.2% African ancestry."
Read more here.
So, what really is race? It's a social construct not based in science but defined by ever-shifting and often contradictory community norms. If race is "an arbitrary classification of modern humans," why do we invest so much in it? Some possible answers: slavery, race-based oppression, social hierarchies, cultural connections & deep senses of community.
1. a group of persons related by common descent or heredity. 2. a population so related. 3. Anthropology.
(no longer in technical use) any of the traditional divisions of humankind, the commonest being the Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negro, characterized by supposedly distinctive and universal physical characteristics.
a. an arbitrary classification of modern humans, sometimes, especially formerly, based on any or a combination of various physical characteristics, as skin color, facial form, or eye shape, and now frequently based on such genetic markers as blood groups.
b. a socially constructed category of identification based on physical characteristics, ancestry, historical affiliation, or shared culture:Her parents wanted her to marry within her race.
c. a human population partially isolated reproductively from other populations, whose members share a greater degree of physical and genetic similarity with one another than with other humans.
4. a group of tribes or peoples forming an ethnic lineage: the Slavic race.
5. any people united by common history, language, cultural traits, etc.:the Dutch race.
Because of his life experiences Chris chooses to identify as a multiracial. What does this mean?
Multiracial [ muhl-tee-rey-shuh l
consisting of, representing, or combining members of more than one racial group: multiracial communities.
(of a person) descended from more than one racial group.
Essentially, he believes he recognizes the black and other racial groups in his ancestral line. He does not want to be confined to one group at the exclusion of the rest.
Hear more about this on the AOS podcast!
Genetic study reveals surprising ancestry of many Americans ScienceMag.org By Lizzie Wade (2014)
Definition of Race, Dictionary.com
Definition of Multiracial, Dictionary.com
Some music provided by artist, Solomuse. Find more at: https://soundcloud.com/solomuse.