Author Topic: 23 and me... as a survival tool?  (Read 10342 times)

Offline David in MN

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Re: 23 and me... as a survival tool?
« Reply #60 on: October 17, 2018, 08:08:21 AM »
According to 23 and Me, I have 8 times as much Native American ancestry as Elizabeth Warren.....  But, silly me, I have been only referring to my background as European,  since that is the other 99.2%..... Or, since we get more intersectionality points for minority status maybe I should capitalize on my above average Neanderthal genes, since my Native American percentage is barely above average for the average White-looking American. 


( Ok, my overwhelmingly large percentages are Irish/British and broadly Northwestern European )

Yeah, she made a fool of herself. In an odd way I'm empathetic because my grandmother insisted we were part Native American (I'm not and I have the data to prove it). I guess I feel there's a healthy and unhealthy way to go about this process. I'm having fun exploring my ancestry because I have nothing to prove and learning my actual roots is taking the place of "generalized European mutt" that I had come to accept. But that doesn't replace an entire childhood of being German and Polish (which is all I thought I was). As I go further and learn more it's a fun project for the family as we unpack the history and do our best to find where we came from.

I also think we don't give enough credit to lived experience in this scientific era. As an example, I'm Lutheran but much of my family is Catholic so I can go to either service and feel fine. I also grew up in a very Jewish area so I keep a lot of Jewish traditions and holidays. A kid who grows up in Paris will be a Parisian no matter what his DNA is. There's a (in my mind) meaningful difference between ancestry and culture. If anyone I know well was asked to define me my cultural "small town Wisconsin upbringing" tells much more than my DNA breakdown. I have first cousins who share 50% of their DNA with me but they have grown up either in the MO Ozarks or on a hill in CA overlooking the ocean. Yup, we're different.

It goes back to the healthy/unhealthy use of this technology. For me it's a fun tool to explore family history which is really murky. It can help predict health issues and statistical expectations of diseases. But as a method of self-definition it's not really useful to me. Learning that I'm a good chunk Swedish is fun but I'm guessing that entails more than liking Swedish Fish, which is the extent of my knowledge. And for my little slice of Norwegian I don't even have candy!

I've found the process fun and rewarding. Anyone should have fun discovering distant cultures he/she came from. As long as it's lighthearted and enjoyable why not trace the family? You might find long lost relatives or the town in farawayland your family came from. These are fun activities that can enrich life and expose one to new cultures and communities but I'd pump the brakes using it to define myself.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: 23 and me... as a survival tool?
« Reply #61 on: October 24, 2018, 09:03:27 AM »
Good post David.

I'm more or less a western WA native.  We did move around quite a bit for my dad's career, but in years 3/4 of my life has been living in the region.

I bring this up because in my line of work (tech), there are transplants from different metro areas across the USA.  At the startup I work at, of 120 people, we've got NYC, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, LA, Philly, Detroit, and many smaller sized midwest cities that would be exhausting to list out.

I was at lunch the other day with coworkers and realized I was the only person at the table who'd lived here more than 5 years.  I'm not so much complaining, but these newcomers were unable to relate to or appreciate some of the local history and culture. Many of these people are younger, single without kids (yet?).  They generally don't have interest in establishing roots.  Prefer renting to owning etc.

If this trend continues, that will inevitably erode the geographical cultural affinity you described.  So if a New Yorker stops being a New Yorker, a Texan stops being a Texan - who is anyone?  Maybe that's a factor in today's political dichotomy?

Sorry to digress...