Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-06 > 1055483224

From: "Cecelia Clancy" <>
Subject: [DNA] Do Sub-Saharan Africans Have More Unique Markers?
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 02:08:08 -0400
References: <> <>

----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles" <

> The debate has been raging in this forum as to how valid the test is for
> determining minority add mixture. It seems that no one is debating that
> the test will do a good job in determining Sub-Saharan minority add
> mixture content. I guess because the AIM makers for SA are very good and
> unique to the SA population.

Is this established scientifically that Sub-Saharan Africans have more
"unique" markers? The only "unique" (or almost unique) marker for SA that
I've seen in the published scientific literature is the Duffy marker. All or
almost all SA have it, while all or almost all Indo-Europeans lack it. I've
read in one source that Native Americans lack it totally.

Or, are you judging by the posts on this list that "nobody is debating that
the test will do a good job in determining Sub-Saharan minority admixture"?
This could be more a factor of who is on this list than what is actually out
there in the real world. You need a PC with internet access to participate
on this list. That means you either have enough money for both or have
access to these at work, in a library, etc. (But my local library forbids
e-mailing. And at work, they might want you to use the computer only for
work.) You also need to have somehow been convinced to think that computers
are worth buying. This convincing could come from being in a family with
enough money to get the latest electronic devices. It could come from
exposure to computers and the Internet at K-12 school, at college, or at
work. We all know that the "richer" the K-12 school, the more computer
facilities they will have. I got my very first exposure to computers in

It is an unfortunate fact in today's America that "Whites" as compared to
"Blacks" tend to have more money, tend to be in "richer" school districts,
tend to go to college more and stay there, and tend to be in jobs where they
are at liberty to use the "work" computer for personal use. So "White"
America is more wired (online) than "Black" America.

So, it logically follows that the participants on this e-mail list do not
"look like America." We are "Whiter" than America as a whole, and are less
"Black" than America as a whole.

If we were as "Black" as America, we would see more discussion of SA vs IE
and SA vs NA.

And most people in poverty will find tests like DNAPrint too expensive and
would not order it even if they are otherwise interested in the subject.

And it gets even more complicated for two reasons:

1) Much of American society, including much of it's African-American
population, has been conditioned for generations to go by the "One Drop
Rule." This "rule" - a social construct of race, not a biological one -
dictates that "One drop of Negro blood makes you all Negro." So, because of
this, there are many people in America who have minority SA ancestry, yet
consider themselves nothing but "Black" or "Negro" or "African American"
even if they are light-skinned, have a long, skinny nose, and have wavy
hair. The One Drop Rule has so conditioned so many racially-mixed people to
consider themselves "all Black" that many people who are a mixture of SA and
something else never even think to wonder, "What ELSE am I and how much of
what else is in me?" These people are very unlikely to order DNAPrint.

2) American society still attaches "stigma" to African Ancestry, even a
small amount. So, the majority of people who are mostly White but who know
or theorize they have some Negro ancestry as well are a lot less likely to
mention it and inquire into it than their would for a small amount of Native
American ancestry. And the more public the forum, the stronger this "stigma"
factor becomes. The person has not only him or herself to worry about, but
also about relatives.

In my case, I was initially quite hesitant to mention a possibility of SA
ancestry publicly because I feared "What if my siblings' spouses are
racist?" and "What if my cousins are racist?" and even "What if my landlord
finds out?" and "What if my openly-racist father finds out?" I did go ahead
and mention it anyway, but only after much work to get over this "stigma"

I can post later on why I am wondering if maybe DNAPrint is "missing" SA
ancestry, but that is another dimension of this topic. I should clarify that
I have no absolute documentation of SA ancestry, but for geographic and
historical reasons, combined with my maternal grandfather's very curly hair,
I have reason to wonder. Of course, the SA percentage, if there, might be so
small (1/32nd or less) that DNAPrint cannot detect it.

Another thread in this area could be the ethics of a situation that is bound
to come up. Take somebody who was "raised White," always regarded
him/herself as "all White" (and never even wondered if he/she was also
"anything else"), was similarly regarded by friends, relatives, employers,
police, school teachers, neighbors, strangers on the street and in stores,
etc. But then, before applying to college, he or she discovers for the very
first time that he or she has a small amount of SA or NA ancestry - either
by DNA or genealogical means.

Is it ethical for this person to then go ahead and take advantage of
"affirmative action" plans aimed at trying to bring more African American
and Native American students into the university?

This actually does sort of belong in this list because DNAPrint in its
advertising suggests that the DNAPrint results might be useful in getting
"race-based" scholarships and college admissions.

Cecelia Clancy

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