DNA Testing: The Latest Form of Racial Segregation

We’ve reached new heights here in America, where we don’t have to unknowingly say whether we are just white or black.

In the last year, DNA tests have become a hit among college students, more popular than the newest movie theater, restaurant, shopping mall, or even bar in town.

While DNA testing does provide us with an understanding for our cultural heritage and background, the significance of such tests remains an inquiry that we should consider.

But it’s more than that.

This new discovery is about the pride that we place on our cultural and racial birthright.

Samuel M. Richards, a professor of Sociology at Penn State, explains that DNA testing is not just about finding out who you are-the thrill of taking the test makes his class extremely popular.

“Everyone wants to take the test, even students who think they are 100 percent one race or another, and although every one of them wants to discover something, that they’re 1 percent Asian or something. It’s a badge in this multicultural world,” he said.

Why do college students feel the need to take the test, even if they know their race?

I struggle to see the point of DNA testing just for kicks and laughs. I hope we haven’t come to the point in time where our genetic makeup forms our conversations around the dinner table or on the subway.

Must we carry around labels that state exactly what we are and where we came from? Can’t we accept who we are without feeling the impulse to tell everyone? Are we that unsure of ourselves or human beings just that curious?

At this rate, we might need to start having our letters of ethnicity embroidered on our clothes so the public can know that each of us isn’t just one-dimensional.

That is, if these machines are actually accurate.

And that’s never a sure thing when computers and any other multi-tasking mechanism are just waiting to make our lives more difficult when we only want to take the shortcut.

It is important for us to realize that we are all different in some way or another, but bringing machines into this issue is not necessary as we take another step closer to completely relying on the advancements of technology to determine our lives.

Even so, there is a large difference between a person’s genetic makeup and their cultural identity. Genetics might encompass several races, but people often identify with only one.

For example, Don Harrison is a mixture of black and white races, yet this does not stop him from preferring one race’s cultural aspects over the other.

“Just because I found out I’m white, I’m not going to act white,” he said. “I’m very proud of my black side.”

By applying machines to our lives, we move further away from treating people just as people. Genetic testing doesn’t bring us closer together, but only puts us into separate categories-fragmenting our society into many smaller groups rather than just recognizing ourselves as one people.

The need to distinguish between ourselves from each other is just another self-assuring way that we are indeed different.

As if we already didn’t know that in today’s day and age.

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