Opinion: DNA test results do not prove race

Delilah Alvarado, Opinion Columnist

The new fascination with exploring DNA test results is headed into the dangerous territory of being abused to put a false label on someone’s identity.

With popular DNA and health services, such as 23 and Me and Ancestry DNA people are now trying to become more aware of what truly makes up their genetic code. DNA tests are meant to inform society of their genetic relative background and they often even present a different ethnicity than originally thought.

Discovering unique qualities regarding genetic makeup can be life-altering for some, and might even open up opportunities that seemed unreachable. However, this innovation triggers dangerous, chaotic behavior from a significant percentage of users.

Various public controversies showcase what can happen when someone who is not of color claims DNA results that prove otherwise. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, 2020 presidential candidate, exhibited the behavior of a white person claiming a different heritage. In 2018, Warren revealed DNA results to refute Trump’s claims that she had lied about her lineage. In law school, she identified herself as an American Indian when registering for the Texas bar exam.

In fact, she had listed herself as a minority in multiple records since the 80s and she was even named as the first woman of color hired by Harvard Law. It is not surprising that no one ever questioned her claims and even praised her for it.

Native Americans are only offered so much in terms of services provided by the government and organizations. When someone who is predominantly white claims Native ancestry, they are taking away from actual Natives who might need these services. As Warren received the title of the first woman of color, it disregarded all other people of color who tried and worked for Harvard Law.

Minorities are known to receive little accomplishments and positions compared to white counterparts. So, it begs the question of why a white person would try and fill that gap.

People are taking these tests in order to prove they are a minority to gain a type of advantage. A man in Washington took a DNA test so his business could be claimed as a “disadvantaged business enterprise,” even though his DNA proved he was 90% European. Youtuber Brittany Ann went viral for filming an upset reaction to DNA test results that prove she did not have an Asian background.

From YouTubers to businesses and presidential candidates, people are trying to prove something that minorities do not want to admit: that they are minorities.

Not all minorities suffer, but they do not experience the same privilege as white people. Statistically, white people do not face as many hardships as other minorities. Native Americans only make up 1.7% of the U.S. population, but the youth have the highest suicide rates among all ethnic groups. Black people are incarcerated 5 times more than the rate of whites. About 20% of Latinx people have been told to “go back to their country.” The list could and does go on.

All people of color have to constantly prove they have a place among the white majority in the west, yet the majority want to remove them from their own spaces. The irony of white Americans trying to prove they are apart of a minority group is beyond anyone’s comprehension.

People should seek out DNA tests for the pure curiosity of knowing their genetic makeup, not for the sake of being manipulative and and claiming minority status. Minority groups have enough issues to face without adding invasive whites to the equation.

– Delilah Alvarado is a journalism senior

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