Genetic Genealogy Can Break Down Our Biases

While the topic of racial injustice has come to the forefront of world politics let's take a minute to reflect how genetic genealogy can and I believe is having a positive impact against racism or hate toward cultural or religious groups.

The J-L283 men living today are mostly whites of recent European descent though there are blacks, browns and a lot of cultural and linguistic diversity. They all descend from one man who lived around 5700 years ago (YFull estimate for J-L283 TMRCA).

There are two black J-L283 men, a lineage of Lebanese, Albanians and Syrian Christians of India, a Mokshas/Mishar Tatars lineage, and three lineages that appear to have been practicing Judaism for, variously, at least 700-1800 years. Armenians, an Algerian, a Syrian and many Scandinavians round out the remaining geographic extent.

Several lineages of J-L283 have been in the Balkans since at least 1600 BC, attested by ancient sample I4331 from Croatia. The descendants of these lineages still living there today now consider themselves as Slavs, Greeks, Albanians, Romanians, Aromanians, and many other groups because it's such a diverse place.

This means that many men from these groups, depending on their upbringing and experiences, might consider their next closest male line relatives as their traditional national/ethnic/religious enemies, on the basis of how they were taught by their families or society to consider these other groups.

When we learn that our next closest relatives are a group that we never considered as being related in any way, we usually become curious to learn more about that group. There may be other cultural or linguistic connections beside the genetic, that were not obvious at first. It becomes even more interesting to take a step backward and try to learn what it means regarding who your common ancestors may have been.

When we learn more about a new group and consider their lives interesting they become less of an other and more of a "we".

Let's hope that we can convince people to follow their genetic relationships where they lead to break down the biases we grow up believing for whatever reason.

Discourage Motivated Reasoning

Motivated reasoning can undermine the positive effects that genetic genealogy could contribute to breaking down these biases. It does so by causing one to ignore relationships to certain groups that are disfavored by the motivated reasoner.

Motivated reasoning is when someone prefers to believe their ancestors are from some preferred group rather than to objectively evaluate the mostly circumstantial evidence. You can recognize a motivated reasoner because they ignore relationships and ancient DNA that points to a more plausible explanation that does not fit in with their desired pedigree, which never changes from their preferred group, no matter how much evidence to the contrary accumulates.

Acknowledging our mistakes is the way to break out of this pattern. If you have ever, in the face of new evidence, abandoned your prior theory, you are not a motivated reasoner - unless your new theory is just a more convoluted way to explain your originally motivated reasoning in the face of more evidence to the contrary.

Stress the Diversity of Bronze Age Haplogroups

Often newcomers to haplogroup research say "I heard this haplogroup is X". Insert country, ethnic group or religion.

Let's try to ease people into learning how they are related to many other different groups of people by preparing them a little.

"Your major haplogroup appears to have formed in these locations X thousand years ago and is found in this range of modern groups. While the highest concentrations are in these regions, your specific ancestors could very well have been elsewhere for thousands of years."

The more people that understand this, the more are likely to be interested in their matches from other groups or responding to a haplogroup administrator to advance research.

Barriers built up over a lifetime are not broken down overnight but take time.

But I believe that the better we can communicate these concepts the more people will be interested in and participate in haplogroup research, the more we will learn about our ancestors true origins, and the more interracial/cultural/religious barriers will have been broken down as a result.

These posts are the opinion of Hunter Provyn, a haplogroup researcher in J-M241 and J-M102.

1 thought on “Genetic Genealogy Can Break Down Our Biases”

  1. What a great synopsis on ways on … how Genetic Genealogy can have a a positive impact against racism or hate toward cultural or religious groups.
    As an American STEM scientist, my own personal journey thru Genetic Genealogy of my Y-DNA STR/SNP testing, has been a long path as measured by years.
    My rewards were fruitful and multiplied, simply due to Others in my extended family, who had been working diligently like Kiebler Elves, on both the Traditional Genealogy (paper-side) + were some of the very first-in-line Adopters of 23AndMe’s home kit’s.

    It has also been exciting to reach out and help so many OP, on Quora, and FB, who were just starting with their very own “baby steps” into the new world of DNA ancestry.

    However, in the US, the Climate has changed drastically since 2015, when an avowed, Nationalist Racist, won the Presidential election in 2016. It has gone down-hill from there.
    Now, about 100 Million American’s (mostly Blue Collar), if not more, simply “Do Not Believe In Science & Medicine”, which has been constantly Fueled by Twitter-feeds from Agent Orange in the WH.
    The multiple faces of Racism, across the US, has come to light, via, Racist Cop’s across the US, that usually end’s in Death for POC (People of Color) … while “Under The Color of Authority”; which mean’s that there is a 90% Chance that these LEO’s will Never serve one day in Prison.

    As an Independent Conservative, our only Hope and Action is to Bounce this Agent Orange out-of-office; as another 4 years, will only end in absolute Disaster.

    Note this – I’m also Speaking strictly as a Combat Veteran who has served Honorably in both the US Army, and, the US Navy …

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