Why should it matter?

I've been sitting on this story for a couple of days, unsure of what I wanted to say about it.

Wayne Joseph, the principal of a big suburban high school in southern California, had an unequivocal sense of his black heritage, having written extensively about race in America.

But after seeing a TV story last April about a Florida company, DNA Print Genomics, which marketed an ancestry-by-DNA test, he began to wonder exactly how much of him was African, how much wasn't, and what else there might be in his genes.

"I sent away for their kit and received the kit, happened to swab both sides of my cheek and sent the swabs in," Joseph said.

A few weeks later, the results arrived at his comfortable Claremont, Calif., home.

"I just glanced at it, just a cursory glance initially ? didn't really notice it much," Joseph said. "Then, I went back to it, because all of a sudden it hit me exactly what I had read. And it read, 57 percent Indo-European, 39 percent Native American, 4 percent East Asian and 0 percent African.

After a lifetime as a black man, Wayne Joseph discovered he probably isn't black at all.

My question is, why should this information change how Mr. Joseph feels about himself? I think it just points out how arbitrary racial categorization really is. It seems obvious to me that being "black" in the United States is at least as much an issue of culture as of genetics.

Here's the gratuitous groaner quote:

So how will Joseph fill in the race space on his census form? It is, he says, a question of choosing between the past and the future.

Census form, eh? Hoo boy, now that is heady journalism. Not afraid to ask the tough questions, them.

Now, nobody is going to mistake me for black, or "black", or whatever, but given the fact that some of my ancestors have been living in the United States since Ye Olde Colonial Dayes, statistically it is very likely that I have one or more African ancestors, along with English, Irish, French, Native American, and Bob knows what else. I don't really know, and I don't particularly care. I don't think I'm the only person who has noticed that people of mixed racial heritage tend to be physically beautiful, which seems like a loud and clear signal from Mother Evolution that racial mixing is very good for the species. It's called "hybrid vigor". I am convinced this is the reason why Americans are some of the most attractive people in the world.

Could it be that the only solution to "racial" problems is for people to keep screwing until everybody's skin is approximately the same color?

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Kind of a funny article. I

Kind of a funny article. I only know I'm white because that *is* the color of my skin (unless I've been in the sun in which case I turn fire engine red.)