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Human stories faintly heard in scientific study

Posted by kofu on 28 Nov 2009 at 13:19 GMT

I live in Philadelphia and, according to family lore, my own white/European ancestry includes a bit of Black Irish, supposedly from African crew of the Spanish Armada who shipwrecked on the coast of Ireland and "married in" to the local population.

I've been wondering when the technology would get to the point where we can chart the mixtures that've been going on for centuries, even millennia (I'm watching the HBO series, Rome), and thinking about the human stories that are implicit in your article.

W.E.B. DuBois, for his book The Philadelphia Negro, did a house-to-house survey of people living in the Seventh Ward. He mentions a few couples he found, of African-ancestry men married with European-ancestry women, an anomaly he found worthy of note, who were nonetheless accepted as part of the neighborhood.

The language of your science is very far from the language of those stories. I had to work to find the correlations. It would be interesting to hear the "elevator speech" version of this article. Male/female, North/South, black/white/native American...

No competing interests declared.