Apparently it's preferrable to be anything but black. One might think this revelation might encourage people to rethink their racist attitutudes, but by what I've read here, I'm not positive that'll happen.  - DG

 

DNA study seeks origin of Appalachia's Melungeons

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — For years, varied and sometimes wild claims have been made about the origins of a group of dark-skinned Appalachian residents once known derisively as the Melungeons. Some speculated they were descended from Portuguese explorers, or perhaps from Turkish slaves or Gypsies.

Now a new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.

And that report, which was published in April in the peer-reviewed journal, doesn't sit comfortably with some people who claim Melungeon ancestry.

"There were a whole lot of people upset by this study," lead researcher Roberta Estes said. "They just knew they were Portuguese, or Native American."

Beginning in the early 1800s, or possibly before, the term Melungeon (meh-LUN'-jun) was applied as a slur to a group of about 40 families along the Tennessee-Virginia border. But it has since become a catch-all phrase for a number of groups of mysterious mixed-race ancestry.

In recent decades, interest in the origin of the Melungeons has risen dramatically with advances both in DNA research and in the advent of Internet resources that allow individuals to trace their ancestry without digging through dusty archives.

G. Reginald Daniel, a sociologist at the University of California-Santa Barbara who's spent more than 30 years examining multiracial people in the U.S. and wasn't part of this research, said the study is more evidence that race-mixing in the U.S. isn't a new phenomenon.

"All of us are multiracial," he said. "It is recapturing a more authentic U.S. history." [continue]

Tags: Appalachia, ancestry, blacks, geneology, mixed races, race, racism, whites

Views: 85

Replies to This Discussion

Dallas, thank you for posting this.  I read about the "Melungen" people somewhere before but did not know this study had been done.  It says a few things about identity, and prejudice, and ethnicity, and race.

I wonder - if you did a study on Portuguese people, what would be their ancestry?  I bet a significant component of Moorish African, although not Sub-Saharan.   So Maybe not too different from Melungen, but by a different route?

So many people love to claim Native American ancestry - it gives some sort of exotic and at the same time legitimate flavor to their family tree, I guess.  Although, if someone is Hispanic, there is plenty of Native American there as well.

More on that here.  Also here.  Very interesting.

I wonder - if you did a study on Portuguese people, what would be their ancestry?  I bet a significant component of Moorish African, although not Sub-Saharan.   So Maybe not too different from Melungen, but by a different route?

 

Likely that could be the case.

I don't think we'll ever end racism. I noticed they closed down and deleted the comment section on this on Yahoo. It probably got out of hand with the racist comments.

It angers me, pisses me off, but I think you are right.  

I remember when I was talking to a frail  "sweet old lady" prior to the 2008 election.  I didn't bring up the topic but sometimes people feel the need to express their opinions, unasked.  She just blurted out, "I would never vote for an (n-word)".  It floored me.  Here she is puttering around her geraniums and petunias, and might as well be wearing a white coned hat.  Fucking bigot.  

There are many many many racists out there.  The anonymity of the internet gives them voice.  Makes me furious, it's so stupid and abusive.

I think this form of "tribalism" may well be in our DNA - there has been homicidal racism of one sort or another for thousands of years (including in the Bible).  One could regard Homo sapiens' extinction of Neanderthal as being typical, although Europeans also have some Neanderthal genes in their DNA.  There have been a few studies on other species, in some cases showing antipathy, and other cases showing attraction, to those genetically close or genetically distant.

Also, probably in our DNA, is the drive for attraction outside our race.  There have been interracial emotional and sexual attraction, in addition to sexual violence and exploitation, and interracial families, throughout history, from as far back as people have traveled from their place or origin.  Also in the bible - not what we regard as separate "races", but to the ancient Hebrews, might as well be - conquest, kill off men, women, and children except take the virgin girls to be wives and mothers.  Ancient Rome was created the same way - the conquest of the Sabines.  The conquest of the Huns / Mongols resulted in ethnic mixing across Asia.  Also trade routes, caravans, immigration and exploration.   It's nothing new. 

If we could remove the emotional attachment to race as humans, and think about biological diversity, it's very interesting - many of the most amazing beautiful flowers, and the most productive farm crops, fruits, vegetables, are hybrids.  Why not people?

Never trust those old ladies. Some'll put poison in your tea and hide your body just to get your social security checks.

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