DNA And African Ancestry Test Results
DNA And African Ancestry Test Results
By Chance Kelsey, chancellorfiles.com
Chance: In 2006 PBS did a show called “African American lives” Henry Louis Gates jr. was the host, Gates chose 9 famous African American (black Americans) people to do DNA testing on. Gates wanted to see what were these people genetically mixed with. The show had some nice surprises, and verified that many so called black Americans are mixed to various degrees. Some are mixed very little an other are mixed a lot. All of the participants had African ancestry, but at the same time some had a lot of European ancestry in them.
This raises the question, should Americans continue to follow the one drop blood rule that says if you have one drop of black blood in you then you are therefore black? Another name for the one drop blood rule is ODR (one drop rule), many Black Americans continue to follow and demand that the ODR remain in effect. Now at the same time there are a small number of people who are labeled black but are so mixed that their physical appearance (phenotypes) don’t fit into the black race. These people have skin tones that are yellowish, reddish yellow, beige, whitish, and have various eyes colors, hair textures ranging from general black American type hair which is the same as black Africans to hair that is a combination of black and white mixture to strait hair like whites and other non black ethnic groups.
As long as black Americans continue to follow the ODR, and have these types of mixed race people among them — there will always be jealousy directed at these mix race people at the hands of blacks who are dark skin and caramel skin. Especially dark skin blacks. At the same time some of these mixed race people are white in phenotype (white in appearance to the point where you see no visible black ancestry in their physical bodies) but are labeled black because of ODR. Then you have those who are what is called 50/50 looking, they show in their physical bodies visible signs of black, white and other ancestries, on top of that there are some who are labeled black but look like mestizo latinos or Asian or some other ethnic group. With all of these mixed race looking people being labeled black actually holds then back from progressing, and has opened them up to the same social and racial discrimination that blacks who are dark skin and caramel skin experience in America. Having these mixed race people among blacks benefits blacks, but in many ways hurt the mixed race people because they get mistreated by whites and other non whites and mistreated by blacks for being too mixed looking.
Chance: Henry Louis Gates jr DNA test revealed he was 50% whit and 50% black, Music Producer Quincy Jones’ DNA test revealed he is 34% white and 66% black, Sociologist Sara Lawrence Lightfoot’s DNA test revealed that she was 45% European. All three of these people have Caramel brown skin, yet have a high percentage of of European ancestry all three had European ancestry that was past 30%. Now imagine if we DNA test all of the blacks who have yellow, reddish yellow, reddish, and whitish skin, many of them would have high percentages of European and other non black ancestries.
I must say too, that some people may be predominately black in ancestry but their phenotype may look more mixed race instead of looking predominately black. The reality is, that DNA and genetic science has opened up a do that allows many people of all ethnic groups to study their genetic past.
"We now know that our ancestors brought something with them that not even the slave trade could take away: their own distinctive strands of DNA. And because their DNA has been passed down to us – their direct descendants – it just might be the key that unlocks our African past." – Henry Louis Gates, head of the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University
Mark Shriver, a white population geneticist at Penn State, talked about how surprised he had been by his own test – which had come back 86% European, 11% sub-Saharan African, and 3% Native American – and how his mother wanted him to stop publicizing these results. Then to test for specific African ancestry, two more tests were done: a mitochondrial DNA test that traces the matrilineal line (mother to grandmother to great-grandmother, and so forth). The Y chromosome test is only done on males – women must get a male relative to do it – and traces the patrilineal line. The conclusions for some of the more famous case studies:
Oprah Winfrey: The billionaire talk show host said that she didn’t believe that she had any European or Native American ancestors. Her admixture test showed her ancestry to be 89% sub-Saharan African, 8% Native American, 3% East Asian (researchers said that Native American ancestral traces show up here too), and 0% European. Henry Louis Gates told Oprah that, no, her other test results didn’t show Zulu ancestry, as she has claimed (and she had to take a breather). She descends from the Kpelle people (who cluster in the Guinea Highlands of what is now central Liberia and Guinea), the Bamileke people (who cluster in modern-day Cameroon), and a Bantu tribe in Zambia. I hope Oprah travels there, and does a show about these findings. Let us not forget that in the previous installment, Ms. Winfrey – born to unwed parents in rural Mississippi – discovered that an ancestor owned land after the Civil War, and had a school for black children on it (and she broke into tears upon hearing the news).
Quincy Jones: Mr. Jones’ admixture test showed his ancestry to be 66% sub-Saharan African, 34% European, and 0% Native American. Given family stories, the music producer was surprised that he had no Native American ancestors, and shocked at the high percentage of European ancestry (the average for black Americans is 20%). His Y chromosome test – which traces the patrilineal line – showed only European lineage and no African match (not unusual as apparently 3 out of 10 Y chromosome tests for black Americans reveal European ancestry). His mitochondrial test – which traces the matrilineal line – connected him to the Tikar tribe, who cluster in present-day Cameroon. And apparently the Tikar people are famous for their music and artistic genius, hence no surprise given Jones’ prowess in the music industry.
T.D. Jakes: The famous minister’s Y chromosome test showed him to be of Igbo descent (clustered in what is now Nigeria). He was the only one of the nine famous people to correctly guess his African ancestry. Jakes is fully black with no other racial mixtures.
Whoopi Goldberg: Her admixture test revealed her ancestry to be 92% sub-Saharan African, 8% European, and 0% Native American (which meant that family stories about having such ancestry were untrue). The comic / actress descends from the Papel and Bayote tribes, who mainly cluster in modern-day Guinea-Bissau. Apparently, these were popular tribes in the slave trade.
Mae Jemison: The first black female astronaut to go into space (who is light-skinned) had no discernible European ancestry in her admixture test. Out of all the famous guinea pigs, I expected her test to come back with the most mixed ancestry. Not. Her ancestry reveals her to be 84% sub-Saharan African descent, 13% East Asian, and 3% Native American. Researchers were unable to find a conclusive match for her in terms of a specific African tribe. Researchers explained her high East Asian ancestry (for black Americans) to the fact that Chinese laborers were sent to Mississippi – her family’s ancestral state – in the late 1800s, so apparently one of her great-grandfathers may have been such a laborer. She was surprised to be of Asian descent (I wasn’t…has she looked at her eyes?), although she indicated that people had told her such during her travels to Asia. She figured that it was just traces of Native American ancestry.
Chris Tucker: The comic’s admixture test came back 83% sub-Saharan African, 10% Native American, and 7% European. He guessed that he was descended from a tribe in modern-day Ghana. His Y chromosome test was the most intriguing of the group: it linked him to the Mbundu tribe, who inhabit modern-day central Angola. In fact, the DNA link was so strong that researchers said it was within the last eight generations…which is rare (researchers were only able to trace his family tree to the 1830s, and you may recall how one of his fascinating relatives kept selling plots of land to keep it in black hands during the Jim Crow Era). Apparently 1 in 4 U.S. slaves came from what is now the Congo-Angola region. Mr. Gates accompanied Mr. Tucker on a trip to Angola, where they visited a village in the region where the Mbundu people cluster (and folks were very excited to see him, did a homecoming celebration for him, and a village elder / griot talked about how they had heard stories about people disappearing during the slave trade).
Sara Lawrence Lightfoot’s (Sociologist) DNA test revealed that she was 45% European.
Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot, a sociologist and professor of education at Harvard University, has written eight books, which include: Worlds Apart: Relationships Between Families and Schools (1978); Beyond Bias: Perspectives on Classrooms (1979); and The Good High School: Portraits of Character and Culture (1983), which received the 1984 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association.
Henry Louis Gates: The head of Harvard University’s African And African-American Studies department had an interesting family history. Researchers traced his family tree back to the American Revolution (where a relative fought). His admixture test revealed his ancestry to be 50% sub-Saharan African, 50% European, and 0% Native American. Like Quincy Jones, his Y chromosome test revealed only European ancestry (in common with British and Dutch males). His mitochondrial DNA test also revealed European ancestry (in common with French and Irish) – and it is very rare for black Americans to reveal European blood on the woman’s (mitochondrial) side, so there is definitely a creepin’ story there – with weak traces of ancestry from modern-day Egypt. No sub-Saharan ancestry. To help trace his sub-Saharan African ancestry, researchers took his 50% DNA strand that was African and compared it to African individuals. The result came closest (but not definitely) to the Mende people, who cluster mostly in modern-day Sierra Leone, as well as Liberia.
A DNA test also showed that Heny Louis Gates jr’s father is 67% white
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