A simple “DNA Journey” forces people to confront their biases

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/06/a-simple-dna-journey-for.html


Paying for DNA results for an avowed white supremacist:


Seeing the expression on his face when he learns that 3% of his DNA is from sub-Saharan Africa:



God, I’d love for Drumpf to do this and have the results televised.


Culture is more than just blood roots.

That’s it? We are all from Africa, and considering how many people with “Indian Blood” actually have Black African blood, I would have been less surprised if it were higher.

What I find even more ironic is that pretty much everyone on the planet, including White Supremacists, have Neanderthal DNA - EXCEPT for peoples who stayed in Africa. So those who value the “purity of race” the most, have dirty Neanderthal DNA in them, where as the despised race is actually “pure” human. See, God has a sense of humor.


Reptile DNA sure to found.


Is there anything so emotionally touching as reality TV?


Why bother? We already know he has the best DNA. If you need confirmation just ask his doctor. I did, and his doc said “If elected, he’ll have the most DNA of any president in history.”*


  • Trump 2016!

When did every advertisement become a journey?


I thought the same. 3% is fairly low to the point that it’s almost just noise, but i do think that these kinds of tests do provide a visual on people’s background that they would not get otherwise and i think that can be valuable. Especially if it causes a person with biases to take a second look at themselves.


The issue with this entire “controlled” social experiment is that you can presume everyone will fit into 3 basic categories from the start.

  1. Those that already know we are absolutely mongrels and while we cling to a couple primary ancestries we know its far more varied in reality (I am primarily Irish and French, but I know there is a ton more ancestries in there than that).
  2. Those that think they are “pure” but when confronted with the reality of their heritage will react as most of these people did…with shock, amazement, and awe of how small the world really is, and just how much in common they have with the persons to their left and right.
  3. Those who think they are “PURE” and no matter what you say or show them, they will deny your science claiming falsehoods and lies, trickery and deception. They will bury their head in the sand and continue to see the world throug the tiniest of lenses and most narrow viewpoints.

There are far less in category 1…which would be OK if the over whelming majority of the rest were category 2. Therein lies the rub…most people, the most dangerous people, are in category 3.

That is far scarier than knowing where my ancestors truly come from…knowing that we still haven’t evolved nearly enough.


Oh, I don’t need one of those. I know exactly where I’m from. East Africa.

In a more or less roundabout way, of course, but… :slight_smile:

It’s not just that! My family also has a very old pedigree! The oldest. Why, the crowned heads of the world turn green in envy when they hear that I can trace my origin in an unbroken line to the very first primitive replicators in the montmorillonite-rich clays of a long-ago Earth. 'strue! We’re ancient, we are.

You don’t really need DNA tests to explain to silly people that they are silly. Just the fact that they, whether they want to be or not, are relatives of the common radish.


I would tell you to look out at “Neanderthal supremacists” that use that as a “scientific” basis to prove Europeans are superiors but I dont really want you to end up in some Rabid Puppy, Theodore Beale bullshit page


A couple of observations: To begin with, nationality is not usually about genetic homogeneity. It is more about shared values and morals. Exceptions exist, especially in places that have remained isolated for long periods of time. But a place like France, which has been in conflict and involved in colonialism for most of history is going to have people from a large range of backgrounds.
Second, the methodology of the Ancestry.com test is pretty controversial. I found this comparison of the various retail tests vs. a known genealogy: https://dna-explained.com/2013/10/04/ethnicity-results-true-or-not/
Also, the video itself was a little staged. I understand that they had a desired message, and that this was mostly about advertising. But I have always found it odd that Ancestry.com always uses actors in their commercials, and they did so here, although they do say that this time the dialog was partially unscripted. They chose 16 people of the many actors they tested who had results most different than the person’s perceived heritage. They did retakes, and had audience response from paid extras.
This is just me being a little skeptical, but the idea of people understanding that humanity is the result of lots of migrations and exchanges is a good one.


Are you serious? That is a thing?

Deep down I knew it would become a thing.

Fun fact - if you think your genetic make up makes you automatically superior in some way, it means you are actually inferior to everyone.


It won’t work because there’s no genetic marker for Islam. In fact, those shiftless meskins are as diverse as us real Americans; there is no meskin gene.


Good list, but you forgot:

  1. Habitual casual racists who are apathetic towards the struggles of minorities as they identify as white, and self absorbed youth appropriating cultural symbols because they think they ‘look cute’ will now claim their behavior is ok because they are “3% __________”.

Can someone tell me, did they pre-screen for the nationalists and chauvinists or am I in the minority by not being all that concerned?


And now they can’t get health insurance? Or is that just in the US?


Just to be clear, I assume that these are all actors, right?


Yes, of course.

1 Like