Genetic Testing and Identity

Thomas Jones

person1_23andmecomposition

23andMe, a personal genomics and biotechnology company, has been much discussed since its launch in 2006. In 2008, when the company was offering estimates of “predisposition for more than 90 traits and conditions ranging from baldness to blindness”, Time magazine named the saliva-based personal genome test ‘Invention of the Year’. By 2012, the company had doubled its existing capital. In 2015, that capital hit $241 million.

When I first saw the adverts for 23andMe, it seemed that the primary purpose was to assess the customer’s predisposition to certain diseases and health problems, such as certain cancers, coronary heart disease, possible drug responses, and the possibility of various inherited conditions. This is the first advertisement that I ever saw from them. One of the last lines is “learn more about your health” as if to imply that medical testing is the primary function of their product and services. However, the company’s marketing has since changed with a greater focus being on ancestry and ethnicity. The latest version of the website now features two major services; one is for ‘health and ancestry’, while the other simply concerns ‘ancestry’.

Due to the success of 23andme and the popularity ethnic genetic testing, other companies have begun providing similar services. Many are even more explicit about using these tests for the purpose of discovering ones’ ethnic origins, as every ad features an actor talking enthusiastically about their ethnic background, how they wanted to discover their story, to know about their origins, and find out about their ancestors.

Is ancestry a subject of great public interest? Long before 23andme, genealogy has been a topic of fascination for many; not least those in their later years, conscious of their own mortality, keen to build upon a record of the generations that went before them, intent on passing this information on to their own children as an heirloom. Well, of course, the answer is “yes”. Yet one is not meant to think so. Or at least, not if one’s heritage is European. In this brave new deracinated world we live in, apathy towards our own race is the most we’re allowed (self-loathing and guilt being the preferred sentiments). Political goodthink aside, all humans have an innate desire to know of their origins and to feel connected to the past. For most groups, this is still possible, but whites, as stated before, are not meant to have a racial identity. This longing for an understanding and connection to our roots, I believe, is especially important to people in North America. Very often, due to a lack of concrete information about their ancestors from The Old World, the subject of familial origin inspires intense interest and curiosity. I’m sure that for many whites it is also a means to find out if they have non-white heritage. In which case, they may then receive an official license to tout their flavourful 1/16 Cherokee credentials, while breathing a sigh of relief over being not quite so boring and not quite so oppressive. Others, I’m sure, simply want to have a better understanding of which ethnie they primarily belong to, as current nationalities (Canadian, American) are just too universalist and vague.

For many, ethnic (let alone a greater racial), identity is out of the question because of how we’ve been raised and what we’ve been taught to think. Instead, deracinated sub-cultures have taken over in lieu of any racial or ethnic sense of self. This is especially noted in music sub-genres but also we can see it with comic books, science fiction (such as Star Trek; think of trekkies) and movies/tv in general. Hyper individualistic entities; corporate tools are what we, the Occidentals, are supposed to be.

Perhaps, for most, that curiosity is instinctual and innate, as opposed to being something readily on their mind. Either way, even mere interest may be seen as a  fight against this deracinated, global construct which has been imposed on us with increasing vigor over the last several decades. However, there is a dark side to these tests. This video from Momondo and Ancestry, working jointly, is one such example. In it, we see overly emotional portrayals by what are probably actors (although Ancestry claims otherwise) about how we are all just the same. This melodrama ends with a pithy caption about the need for an open world, and how that open world starts with open minds. This is just part of the greater liberal project of destroying identities. It’s as if they knew how genetic tests could be used as a gateway towards race realism, and so a pre-emptive strike was declared necessary. The video suggests that because someone isn’t, say, 100% Irish, due to having some English heritage, that we are all just a mixed bag, and should, therefore, start preparing to embrace a future of increased melting pot ‘diversity’ and fully fledged one-worldism. This is especially so in the case of distant connections, where someone has negligible amounts of ancestry from more ‘exotic’ steppes. Back in the real world, this doesn’t negate ethnic identities and certainly doesn’t negate race, which is a far larger category.

Clearly, humans are not one single all encompassing race. This should be obvious based on even the most superficial physical characteristics (facial structure, skin colour, etc.) but scientists have also found differences which go beyond the surface. Different races have, for example, different earwax, fingerprints, bone-marrow, oral bacteria, and immune systems. The simple fact that we can determine what someone’s race is and the general areas that their ancestors came from, clearly shows that racial and ethnic differences are very real.

Of course, these tests fail to take in cultural and religious differences which are obviously beyond their purview; but they too are real and they matter.

With any luck, attempts at using these tests as a way of further entrenching multiracialist and globalist dogma will fail. What is more promising is the popularity of these genetic tests leading to more individuals embracing biological realities and discarding tired, old one-world narratives.

 

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