Attention all racists, and racists in training: before you start ridiculing other people based on their race, it might be a good idea for you to check your own heritage. A new study published in The American Journal Of Human Genetics says that about 3.5 percent of Americans who call themselves “white” have some African ancestry.
According to the Washington Post, researchers took a look at the genetic records of people who submitted to a cheek swab DNA test for the company, “23 And Me.” That company advertises on its website that, for $99, you can find out about what your genes say about your ancestry. Some folks may be shocked by what this genetic test tells them.
It may come as no surprise that there are large variations in the amount of African ancestry of self-identified “whites” at the state level. Thanks to slavery, southern whites are much more likely to have African ancestry, than whites in other areas of the country. The study reports that:
Individuals with African ancestry are found at much higher frequencies in states in the South than in other parts of the US: about 5% of self-reported European Americans living in South Carolina and Louisiana have at least 2% African ancestry. Lowering the threshold to at least 1% African ancestry (potentially arising from one African genealogical ancestor within the last 11 generations), European Americans with African ancestry comprise as much as 12% of European Americans from Louisiana and South Carolina and about 1 in 10 individuals in other parts of the South.
While racism is a problem that is nationwide, studies have found that much racism remains centered in the south. According to Atlanta Blackstar, all but one of the ten most racist states in the country are located in the south. One of those, Louisiana, is also one that has the highest number of whites who have African ancestry.
Many African Americans have a good amount of European ancestry.
The study also found that many African-Americans have some European ancestry. The average African American is about 24 percent European. Also, given the legacy of slavery, it may come as no surprise to learn that African-Americans are more likely to have a European male ancestor, than a European female ancestor. This is due in large part to white slave holders raping African women.
Another fascinating discovery in the study is how much African blood a person has to have before he or she calls him/herself “black.” That number is about 28 percent. People with less than 28 percent African ancestry tend to call themselves “white,” while those with more than 28 percent African genetics tend to call themselves “black.”
So, dear racists, before you spend the holidays sitting around with your supposedly white relatives, singing “White Christmas,” and tossing around racist comments, you might want to check out your genetics. You may be more black than you realize.
Image via The Village Voice