My aunt took a DNA test recently and was excited when the results came back saying she has 4.8% African DNA (with a 0.11% variance).
These results aren’t that surprising to me, however. Though my family is mostly Scandinavian and Western European, that 4.8% is practically the least amount of African DNA anyone can have. This is because humanity came out of Africa (like that book, Out of Africa, only not at all). Every single one of us has at least a small percentage of African DNA, no matter how blindingly white you may appear to be.
Interestingly, according to Harvard genealogist Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the average African American only boasts 65-80% Sub-Saharan African DNA.
A video made the virtual rounds a while ago where a grizzled old white supremacist learned on a talk show – much to the amusement of Trisha Goddard, the black female host – that he had 14% African DNA.
That fist bump-refusing jerk STILL has almost 10% more African DNA than my aunt does. Being that she’s my aunt, however, there’s some genetic variation between us. It makes me want to take the mail-in DNA test in the hopes that maybe I have a little more.
Why do I care? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because, again, everyone has African DNA, so having more would make me feel more like a child of the world, somehow? I guess? Yeah, I know I sound like a hippie.
Put it this way: it’s kind of like that time my grandmother told me we were related to the Norwegian royal family. I got all excited, then found out that this was probably just an old family story and I’m probably more closely related to Carrot Top than I am to King Harald V.
The disappointment feels similar. I don’t know. Maybe I just wish I were more exotic. Like Blake Griffin.
Instead, I’m most likely this:
Seriously? That’s what I get? Boo. Variety is the spice of life, people. Would you eat a queso dip that was 95+% cheese and only 4.8% peppers/onions/garlic, etc.? Not only would you not touch such a boring dip, you would ostracize the idiot who brought it to the party. I’d rather eat a 3-bean salad or even vegan chili – anything as long as there’s an intriguing heterogeneous distribution.
Sorry. I didn’t set out to compare people to food, but Oscar party appetizers have been on my mind a lot lately.
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