"When Don R. Harrison Jr. was growing up in Philadelphia, neighborhood children would tease him and call him 'white boy,' because his skin was lighter than theirs. But Mr. Harrison, a 'proud black man,' was still unprepared for the results of a DNA test, taken as part of a class at Pennsylvania State University, to determine his genetic ancestry.The rest of the article is interesting, suggesting to me that if such testing spreads widely, given $99 per test and human curiousity it should, maybe it will undermine remaining prejudices. When it's no longer a binary, white/black issue, but a spectrum, and when there's surprises (suppose George Wallace had turned out 5 percent black) prejudice at the intimate level will be difficult.
'I figured it would be interesting. I'm light-skinned and I wanted to know my whole makeup,' said Mr. Harrison, a 20-year-old sociology major. But he was shocked by results showing him to be 52 percent African and 48 percent European: 'which I had no clue about, considering both my parents are black,' said Mr. Harrison. 'So I'm half white.'"
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The New York Times reports on a program of DNA testing at Penn State.