Once upon a time, white nationalism was a movement that consisted of isolated people. But today, it’s taken more of an ugly turn. Groups are walking around with lit torches, writing profanities on Twitter and tempers are generally hot.
It’s not easy or even incredibly cheap to get a hold of a genetic ancestry test but sociologists Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan have set out to study the rising trend of white nationalists using genetic ancestry testing (GAT).
They wanted to reaffirm what these white nationalists imagined about their identity. Once the results came in, many of them were pretty disappointed by their results, according to iflscience. The two presented their work at the annual American Sociological Association on August 14 in Montreal, Canada.
This came at the perfect time with all that’s been going on in Charlottesville. The two posted on a white and neo-Nazi online forum set up by a former KKK Grand Wizard.
For years they’ve sorted through this forum and observed how over 600 people reacted to their GAT results. Some were pleasantly surprised while others were not.
Panofsky explained in an article for Cultural Anthropology that many people were actually pleasantly surprised with their results.
He wrote, “I was surprised there wasn’t more German. Evidently, the Y DNA said ‘Nordic’ and traces back to the Cimbri tribe, which settled in Denmark.”
Then there were those who weren’t so happy. One person responded to the results, “See, THIS is why I don’t recommend these tests to people…they led you to believe that you’re mixed even though that may not be the case…”
Other forum users would attempt to use people’s newly found “non-white ancestry” as an excuse to kick people out of the online community, according to iflscience.
One person noted that they were “61% European” to which another one replied “I’ve prepared you a drink. It’s 61% pure water. The rest is potassium cyanide…Cyanide isn’t water, and you aren’t white.”
Others more commonly picked at the legitimacy of the tests, noting that it’s just a misleading Jewish multi-cultural conspiracy.
Both researchers believe that these responses prove that it’s more than just sheer ignorance but more of a purposeful misuse of science and this is something that shouldn’t be ignored.
Panofsky concludes his article, writing “Most population genetics would be appalled at the use of their variation-based research to build typological theories of human classification.”
He further writes, “GAT rests on an infrastructure presumed to be good and evil in conventional ways: that is, good for citizens to learn about themselves, bad because of privacy threats…”
He continued, “What GAT does is set up a whole new infrastructure for racists to endow their groundless theories and convince each other of the myths that mobilize them as a social group in the first place.”