The Browning of America started long ago

I saw this at Raw Story today, and it was too much to not pass along.

Researchers examined 145,000 DNA samples provided to genetic testing company 23andme for ancestry analysis to determine that at least six million Americans who called themselves white had 1 percent or more African ancestry.

The study published this month in the American Journal of Human Genetics found that whites in the South were far more likely to have at least 1 percent black ancestry than any other part of the country.

“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,” the authors wrote.

The study also noted that individuals with less than 28 percent African ancestry tended to identify as white, while individuals with more than 50 percent African ancestry almost always identified as African-American.

And black Americans living in the South also had more African ancestry than any other region of the country. African-Americans in West Virginia and Oregon had the lowest percentage of African ancestry.

Basically, what I got from reading part of the study is that America has far more “African” DNA than most of us realize.  There are some people who think of themselves as being White and from European ancestry that don’t realize they have a bit of African DNA mixed into their family tree along the way.  This reinforces a study I read about a while back that discussed Black American DNA in that we’re more than likely to be up to 20% European in our genetic makeup.

The study is linked in the quoted section above, if you want to read it.  Here’s part of the conclusion they reached.

This work demonstrates that the legacy of population migrations and interactions over the last several hundred years is visible in the genetic ancestry of modern individuals living in the US. Our results suggest that genetic ancestry can be leveraged to augment historical records and inform cultural processes shaping modern populations. The relationship between self-reported identity and genetic African ancestry, as well as the low numbers of self-reported African Americans with minor levels of African ancestry, provide insight into the complexity of genetic and social consequences of racial categorization, assortative mating, and the impact of notions of “race” on patterns of mating and self-identity in the US. Our results provide empirical support that, over recent centuries, many individuals with partial African and Native American ancestry have “passed” into the white community,79,80 with multiple lines of evidence establishing African and Native American ancestry in self-reported European Americans (see Subjects and Methods). Though the majority of European Americans in our study did not carry Native American or African ancestry, even a small proportion of this large population that carry non-European ancestry translates into millions of European Americans who carry African and Native American ancestry. Our results suggest that the early US history, beginning in the 17th century (around 12 generations ago), might have been a time of many population interactions resulting in admixture.

So, all these people who are up in arms about racism will have to recalibrate their race meters.  The people who harbor hatred towards different races just because of the DNA makeup may want to go and have their DNA tested themselves to ensure they’re not hating on themselves.  There’s nothing more pathetic than a racist that has to learn to hate himself.  Remember Craig Cobb?  There’s likely a few more just like him who have no clue.

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5 thoughts on “The Browning of America started long ago

  1. Ah, genealogy is in my wheelhouse. lol

    Most people don’t realize how quickly things spread out. A person has 4 grandparents (25% each), 8 great grandparents (12.5% each), 16 great great grandparents (6.25% each) 32 gr-gr-great grandparents (3.125% each), 64 gr-gr-gr-great grandparents (1.56 %). It varies from person to person but in my own case, my known gr-gr-gr-great grandparents were born between 1755-1814 and I know who 41 of the 64 were. Of course, only another person who has an interest in this would have that much info on their background. I meet people all the time who can’t even tell me their grandparents’ names. And your gr-gr-gr-grandparents are only 6 generations back.

    There’s a theory in the genealogical world that once you get back a certain number of generations (it’s either 12 or 16, I forget which) any random person in the world could connect with any other random person, if both people knew their complete tree (and I’m guessing even multi-generation European royalty can’t fill in their complete tree). Couldn’t prove it but I’m inclined to agree that would be the case, an overwhelming amount of times.

    As an aside, we all hear the jokes all the time about family trees not branching but if you can fill in your complete tree (or even if you can’t), the odds are very good in 6-10 generations that most anybody will find a place where their branches cross. If you have people who’ve lived in one area for a long time on all sides, it’ll likely be 5-6 generations back. So people who like to make the jokes are often living in glass houses, but that’s another story for another day.

    So when you get into how quickly the ancestor tree branches out and how little most folks know about theirs, a whole lot of people would find a whole lot of surprises.

    It’s something that’s always fascinated me, from the time I was a kid, and I’ve been working on it in earnest for over 30 years. There are three truisms for “digging in the family boneyard” as our buddy calls it; 1) no matter when you start you started too late, 2) you’ll never be finished and 3) every time you find an answer, you’ll have 3-4 new questions.

    The truth of it is, there’s no telling what is behind each of us, that has been totally lost to time.

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    • So very true. We’ve found one of our descendants from the 1790s. The others have been harder to track. That said, we didn’t need to do a trace to find out we had European ancestry as there’s more than enough family with very fair complexions that prove it. My son’s eyes were gray when he was first born, and they’ve slowly started turning brown. Every now and then, they’ll still look like they have a shade of gray in them.

      That’s quite interesting about the genealogy theory that you posted. I’ll have to read into that as I’m not as up on genealogy as I am in other areas. As usual, you’re a wealth of knowledge. Keep this up, and I’ll have to ask the president to declare you a national treasure. LOL!!!

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  2. I been doing a bit more research so get ready for your eyes to glaze over folks 😆

    I was talking yesterday, about how the number of ancestors doubles every generation. Doing a bit of research, the “experts” estimate that in all of humankind, approximately 107 billion people have lived on this Earth, in total. Look at this figure a little closer, doubling the tree every generation, and at 37 generations back, each person’s 35th great grandparents would total 137,438,953,472. So go back 37 generations and in theory, you have more ancestors in that generation than have ever lived.

    Let’s complicate things a tad further, accepted length of a generation varies from 20-25 years, depending on who your expert is. So taking the two extremes, 37 generations ago, from right now, would be 740-925 years meaning the year range for those people being alive would be in the 11th to 13th century AD. So take yourself back a mere 800-1000 years, and you already have more direct ancestors in a single generation than have ever lived on Earth.

    If that isn’t mind-boggling enough, the total estimated population of the world in the year 800 AD was from was 220-260 million people. In the year 1200 AD, it’s 360-450 million inhabitants of Earth.

    Remember that from about 1250-1500, the World Population remained relatively flat (Bubonic plague and all that). What you get into, if you work back from now, is that along about 1200-1500, any random person is going to have more direct ancestors in a generation than there were humans living at that time.

    The math don’t add up.

    My conclusion? Mankind in general, and experts in particular, don’t know nearly as much as they think they do. 😉

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