Research Scientist of Learning and Education
IN THIS AGE OF POLITICALLY CORRECT RHETORIC and government required forms that request race (or ethnic, gender, national, etc.) identity, 23andMe announced its Ancestory Composition service that can reveal the geographic origins of a person's DNA. This service can provide important medical insights into ways of managing and avoiding diseases.
With its "Chromosome View," people can see their personal ancestry reflected segment by segment on each of their 23 pairs of chromosomes.
This service also puts a practical end to political inferences and influences of race, including among people who try to force each of us into a "race" identity category in school, health and financial services, as well as employment reports.
There's good and bad to the capacity of this service as there is with atomic energy. The good is that individuals may trace their extended family. It is also good that these tracings can indicate likely sources of various diseases in families.
The bad is, given the potential for describing origins of a person's DNA, will the expanding Federal government, in the name of fairness, health care efficiency, or some other political ideal of the moment, try to require each person to present a DNA Origin card when applying for any service that includes Federal funds? Oh shudder, shadows of the 1930s revisited!
Or, perhaps more likely, will people come to expect candidates for public office to document their claim to political Minority status with a DNA Origin card? Oh, shudder again!
But, ah yes, will at least one professor or political advocate for something or other somewhere form a nonprofit association to study and lobby for the potential uses and abuses of DNA Origin cards?
Kudos to 23andMe for offering their valuable services and for implicitly providing a real world vehicle for erasing even the image of differential racial identity. Their map of the distribution of their genetic pool shows how interrelated we remain, a huge family with common ancestors. And, that's good to remember.