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« This Week at Christ Reformed Church (August 21-27) | Main | Purple Mountain Majesty »

Racism and DNA Testing

DNA testing for ancestral heritage is all the rage these days.  You have likely seen ads from, 23 and Me, and Family Tree DNA.  You may have seen the TV series, "Who Do You Think You Are?" or one of the other programs devoted to identifying the ancestry of celebrities and sports figures.

Almost everyone who takes an ancestry DNA test, or whose ancestral history is researched by a professional genealogist, comes to the inevitable conclusion, "I'm not who I thought I was."  "I did not know that I have ancestors who were_______" (insert the ethnicity or geographical locale of your choice).

A number of genealogy websites beat me to it this morning, but the question I have is "what does DNA testing say to those who identify themselves as `white' nationalists?" (BTW--You can include any racially motivated group in this question--surely there are racists in every culture and ethnic group).  Racism is a fruit of Adam's fall and the consequence of human sinfulness (Genesis 6 comes to mind).  We are all prone to hate our neighbor, but it is much easier to hate him or her if they do not look like we do, if they speak a different language, or if they come from a different place with different customs.

My ancestral DNA is as "waspy" as you can get.  Genetically speaking, I am a 99% white European--predominantly from the British Isles, Swiss on my dad's side, with my mother's mtDNA line (U5b3b) probably coming to the British Isles a couple of thousand years ago during the Roman occupation.  But my y-DNA (my father's father's father's DNA), as well as my "trace" ancestral DNA, goes back through Switzerland to the ancient Middle East.  My y-DNA is H2-P96--very old and very rare.  The oldest H2 DNA was found in the skeletal remains of a man who lived about 8000 years ago in what is now Israel.  My H2 ancestors were among the first inhabitants of Europe after the retreat of the Ice Age. 

But how waspy am I, when all of my DNA traces back beyond Europe to a common ancestor whom I share with you (Adam, then Noah)?  And on the genetic path back to Adam is the realization that my H2 DNA is an ancient branch of "H," from which many Indians and Pakistanis come.  Way back when, one brother headed west (taking his line into Europe), while another brother went east and is the genetic father of millions today who are citizens of India and Pakistan.

Contemporary discussions of race (especially in the heated shouting matches of our 24/7 news cycle) are clouded by Darwinian propaganda that there are multiple "races":  Caucasian, Negroid, and Mongoloid.  The reality is all of us share common DNA ancestors, many of us who take DNA tests discover that we are ethnically mixed to some degree or another, and that ultimately, we are all of one race--regardless of where our ancestors lived in the last twenty-five or so generations.

How many white nationalists have DNA from ancestors who belonged to "races" they now regard as inferior or deficient?  Imagine a white nationalist discovering a Jewish ancestor?  An African ancestor?  An Asian ancestor?  How many militant racists, of whatever stripe, have the "pure" DNA of their recent national or racial identity?  Certainly not all.  Likely most do not. 

DNA testing proves we are all of one race because we have a common ancestor.  We are all children of Adam, who is the biological and federal head of the human race.  The Scriptures teach this, and the Reformed confessions echo the biblical teaching.  We may have different ethnicities, come from different cultures and places, but we are all of one race--Adam's.  And that race is fallen, one poisonous fruit of which is racism.

Reader Comments (1)

Hey Kim,

In the past I would assume that all people could be racists in conversations, until I came across a PCA pastor that told me that was not the case. He pointed to a YouTube video of a professor for an explanation, but in all honesty I didn't care to spend the time watching it. It seemed like the way people chose to define it made it impossible for non-white people to be racists, at least in the US. So with the pastor I have in mind, he was saying it was not possible for black Americans to be racists; I heard the same from a black member of a panel composed of Muslims, which was led by Frank Luntz.

I guess they have a point due to the history, demographic makeup of the US, and how they define it, but in the common man's understanding of racism, I think everyone can be.
August 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto

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