racial identity

The LA Weekly has an interesting piece (now also on Alternet) about a black man who takes a DNA test, and what the surprising outcome means for him: Black Like I Thought I Was. Here’s an excerpt:

Like most other black folk, [Wayne] Joseph grew up with an unequivocal sense of his heritage and of himself; he tends toward black advocacy and has published thoughtful opinion pieces on racial issues in magazines like Newsweek. When Joseph decided on a whim to take a new ethnic DNA test he saw described on a 60 Minutes segment last year, it was only to indulge a casual curiosity about the exact percentage of black blood.
(…)
when the results of his DNA test came back, he found himself staggered by the idea that though he still qualified as a person of color, it was not the color he was raised to think he was, one with a distinct culture and definitive place in the American struggle for social equality that he’d taken for granted. Here was the unexpected and rather unwelcome truth: Joseph was 57 percent Indo-European, 39 percent Native American, 4 percent East Asian

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2 Responses to “racial identity”

  1. language hat Says:

    Fascinating — thanks!

  2. collounsbury Says:

    Pity the article rather garbles the genetics to the point of complete illiteracy, there is no way to test for “black blood” as there are no ‘private’ alleles for race – best one can get is frequencies of allelic distributions.

    The main point, I suppose is correct, race is not what it seems, but I am always disappinted to see the genetic science gotten so wrong so consistently.

    Mais voila, journalism.

    Interesting web log by the way, I believe you’re Maghrebiyah, sah? moucharifine.

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