White Supremacists Taking Ancestry Tests Aren’t Happy About The Results

Not too long ago, white nationalism was a fringe movement of isolated people. Now, it’s gained a very ugly new relevance. Tiki torches are lit, Twitter feeds are flared, and tempers are hot. Along with this misled reinterpretation of supposed “identity politics”, we also live at a time where it’s never been easier or cheaper to get hold of a genetic ancestry test (GAT).

Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan, two sociologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, set out to investigate the rising trend of white nationalists using these GATs with the aim of reaffirming their imagined or assumed ancestry and identity. Unluckily for them, they are often pretty disappointed by their results.

Donovan and Panofsky presented their work at the annual American Sociological Association in Montréal on August 14 — weirdly appropriate timing considering the events in Charlottesville that weekend. Their paper, “When Genetics Challenges a Racist’s Identity: Genetic Ancestry Testing Among White Nationalists,” is currently undergoing the peer-review process.

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