White nationalists are taking genetic ancestry tests… but don't like what they find

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White nationalists in the US have been taking genetic tests to prove their racial identity – but the results haven’t gone down too well.

A team of sociologists analysed forum posts on a white nationalist website over two years to see how members reacted to DNA test results, following their increase in popularity.

White nationalists would expect to have only white European ancestry but many found they had African, Jewish or Asian genes.

The scientists presented their results at the American Sociological Association meeting this week, just days after white supremacists clashed with anti-fascist activists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan, from the University of California, said that instead of rejecting members whose results are not 100 per cent white European, they mostly discuss the validity of genetic testing.

“For academics, there was some uneasiness around hearing that science is being used in this way and that some of the critiques that white nationalists are making of genetics are the same critiques social scientists make of genetics,” said Donovan.

White supremacists protest in Charlottesville on Saturday (AFP/Getty Images)

They said that some of the forum users’ criticisms of genetic testing were actually very “sophisticated”.

“If we believe their politics comes from lack of sophistication because they’re unintelligent or uneducated,” said Panofsky.

“I think we’re liable to make a lot of mistakes in how we cope with them.”

The researchers looked at more than 3,000 posts on the website Stormfront, set up in the mid-1990s by a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

One man who tried to create an all-white enclave in North Dakota discovered he was 14 per cent sub-Saharan African on live TV. Craig Cobb reacted by dismissing the results as “statistical noise”, according to STAT News.


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