Do assumptions about race in genetics research promote the Alt-Right agenda?

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A white supremacist group rally in Los Angeles. Credit: The Atlantic

[On the Internet, there are] pages after pages of Stormfront discussions on the reliability of 23andMe ancestry results and whether Neanderthal interbreeding is the reason for the genetic superiority of whites. Obsession with racial purity is easily channeled, apparently, into an obsession with genetics.

 

Modern geneticists now take pains to distance their work from the racist assumptions of eugenics. Yet since the dawn of the genomic revolution, sociologists and historians have warned that even seemingly benign genetics research can reinforce a belief that different races are essentially different….

If a genetic test can identify you as 78 percent Norwegian, 12 percent Scottish, and 10 percent Italian, then it’s easy to assume there is such thing as white DNA.

The problem is not with the science per se, but with the set of an underlying assumptions about race that we always imprint on the latest science…[Like] its predecessors, genetics is vulnerable to misuse by those with racist agendas.

“White supremacists are kind of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to beliefs about race,” says [Ann Morning, a sociologist at New York University]. Their rhetoric is extreme, of course, but the idea that race represents real biological differences is pervasive. Genetics are just the latest frontier.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Will the Alt-Right Promote a New Kind of Racist Genetics?

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