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Video: DNA ancestry tests can change the identity of those who see themselves as ‘white’

| | February 13, 2018

As more Americans take advantage of genetic testing to pinpoint the makeup of their DNA, the technology is coming head to head with the country’s deep-rooted obsession with race and racial myths. This is perhaps no more true than for the growing number of self-identified European Americans who learn they are actually part African.

At the DNA Discussion Project, an initiative at West Chester University in Pennsylvania that surveys people about their perceptions of their genetic makeup before and after DNA tests, 80 percent of the 3,000-odd people they have surveyed self-identify as white. Of those, two-thirds see themselves as of only one race, and they are more likely to be shocked and unhappy with unexpected African ancestry than those who identify as mixed or other races, according to a peer-reviewed paper conducted by the project.

In an era when technology is partly blamed for an increased sense of polarization, it is perhaps ironic that a technological advance is helping to blow up some of that.

The test results can present an intriguing puzzle. When a significant amount of African DNA shows up in a presumably white person, “there’s usually a story — either a parent moved away or a grandparent died young,” said Angela Trammel, an investigative genealogist.

Read full, original post: They considered themselves white, but DNA tests told a more complex story

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