What happens when DNA tests show that white nationalists aren’t as ‘pure’ as they thought?

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The National Socialist Movement, one of the largest white nationalist movements. Image: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

On the hate site Stormfront, one of the largest online discussion forums dedicated to “white pride,” sharing DNA results with fellow members has become a rite of passage for some members.

But what happens when users’ results show that they fail to meet their own genetic criteria for whiteness? 

Such questions have long intrigued the sociologists Aaron Panofsky and [Joan Donovan].

Their findings, outlined this month in a study in the journal Social Studies of Science, show that yes, even members who fail to meet their own genetic standards will sometimes share the results.

In response, their fellow white nationalists tend to console them by offering potential reasons the results can’t be trusted. Among them: skepticism about the tests’ interpretations of the science or statistics, conspiracy theories about Jewish-owned genetic testing companies’ multicultural agendas, and reminders about alternative ways of measuring whiteness.

Related article:  Viewpoint: We need to stop worrying about whether people can cope with bad news from genetic tests

The findings add to an already robust body of scholarship that shows how difficult it is to get people to alter pre-existing views, said [psychology professor] Jonathan Baron.

“People go to extraordinary lengths to maintain beliefs to which they are committed,” he said.

Read full, original post: How White Nationalists See What They Want to See in DNA Tests

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