Top Aussie tennis player Ashleigh Barty is of indigenous heritage, so we are told by the media. Why? It’s not true. In fact she’s of English ancestry but through a great grandmother, is one 64th aboriginal.
So too with Trump who was right to taunt Democrat Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren as ‘Pocahontas’ after she idiotically claimed to be the first native American member of Congress. Once when filling out a form for her bar admission in Texas she identified herself as “American Indian”. On another occasion, contributing to a celebrity cookbook, she described herself as Cherokee. In fact according to her DNA records one must go back between 9 to 10 generations to find a trace of native American. That far opens up tens of thousands of different ancestors.
Warren is an intelligent woman with an impressive back-story. Why would she mar her record with this scatterbrain nonsense?
The pop psychologist in me says she wanted to add a degree of exotica which suggests an underlying lack of confidence. I’m picking this absurdity will make her an easy Trump target and deny her the prize she seeks, namely next year’s Democrat Presidential nomination for which she otherwise looked like a shoo-in. Mind you, Trump has form on this front, having made diverse false claims about his ancestry, but he is a liar without precedent in public life, probably in all of human history and no-one expects honesty from him, indeed to the contrary. If he made factual claims on any subject there’d be a massive spike in the heart attack rate.
We’re certainly very familiar with this weird behaviour in New Zealand with claims of being maori. It’s predominantly, at least on my observation, a female oddity.
There’s a very clever and attractive (“what relevance is that”, I hear women cry. “Heaps”, answers every male). British science writer, Angela Saini, who has written brilliantly on race and put this matter perfectly in describing her parents as the only ancestors she needs to know. Dead bloody right.
I’m always bemused by people who profess an interest in genealogy and claim to have traced their ancestry back through the generations. They’re deluding themselves and make a common mistake, namely tracing back solely in a straight line through their father. But genealogy doesn’t work in a linear line backwards once you include, as logically you must, both parents. Rather, it spreads out horizontally.
A British mathematician pointed this out last year, and (from memory) proved that going back enough generations ended up with over 700 billion people having existed. Given that the best estimate is a total of 107 billion humans have walked this earth, how is that possible? The answer is obvious, namely go back for enough and we all have numerous common ancestors. Add to that having more than one child further spreads the ancestral diversity when they have children.
Last year an American journalist consulted two of the multitude of companies now offering ancestor tracing systems. Each came up with wildly different results but here’s the point, both would be correct.
In recent decades, thanks to the advances in knowledge through DNA analysis, we’ve learnt more about human history than half a century back would possibly have been imaginable.
Hitherto, research on this topic was confined to genes; DNA however, has shown we all have an incredible kaleidoscope of DNA in our make-up, including a dusting of Neanderthal.
The one thing science has now proved is there’s no such thing as race. Rather the differences are entirely cultural and driven by different environments and that includes skin colour.
For example, DNA research has revealed that all Polynesians trace back 10,500 years ago to Taiwan. So too North American natives in all of their rich variety, from Eskimos in Alaska down to the Guarani in today’s Paraguay.
Plainly something happened in Taiwan to cause that massive exodus. But over that 10,500 years a hundred different cultures, physical shapes, languages and other variations evolved from the exodus, driven entirely by environmental factors from the scattered groups.
For example, the Tongans, all giants thanks to their easy environment, have identical ancestors to Bolivia’s short, barrel-chested Alto Plano Indians, short because of the tough environment food-wise and barrel-chested through living 15,000 ft above sea level in thin air.
Ancestor worshipping is characteristic of all static societies and is generally unhealthy. Angela Saini was spot on when she said the only ancestors who count are your parents.