Most people have a fairly good idea of who they are and where they come from.
The traditional family structure is typically in place, with family members across the board getting together at some point in their lives: parents, brothers, sisters naturally. Grandparents, usually. Great-grandparents becoming a bit more rare, but still often seen. Cousins, uncles abound. Great-great-grandparents can be a bit tougher to gather for a party – but it certainly could happen. Going back in time further than that generation, you’ll rely on geneology records and stories handed down throw family’s joint recollections.
But what about the overall racial makeup of people today? Have things changed over the years as history has marched on?
That’s the question that Mark Shriver at Penn State University asked: HOW WHITE ARE WHITES, HOW BLACK ARE BLACKS?
Here’s some of what he found:
- 10% of African-Americans are over 50% white.
- 30% of whites are around 2.3% black
- 70% of whites have no African ancestry
The takeaway from the study is that there were plenty of surprises in genetic makeup when one does DNA testing and looks back through history to see where those strands would come from. Lots of people who self-classify as “white” or “black” (or any other race, as the study showed) may be surprised to find that they’re more mixed than they thought. Even Shriver found that he himself was 22% African, and only by surprise as he looked at his own DNA sample.
So while you may have a fairly good idea of your immediate family’s background, it may be interesting to do a little bit more digging to see what interesting information lies beneath your skin.