The anchor turned to the camera and smiled. “And finally, have you ever wondered where your ancestors came from, but couldn’t – or didn’t want to – spend the hundred dollars or more to run a DNA test? Well, if you are a certain type of individual, you could get a free test, from an unlikely source.”
The screen split to show the anchor on the left, and an older black man apparently sitting in a home office. The words “Dr. Salou Mahamadou” appeared below him. “Doctor Mahamadou, thank you for coming on our show.”
“Thank you for having me, Diane.”
“Before you explain the One-Drop Initiative you’ve started, can you explain how you became interested in ancestry.”
The doctor smiled. “Well, my parents moved to the United States when I was three. Before that, we had lived in France, but they had both been born and raised in Niger. There was never any doubt about that, so I’ve always known I was Nigerien. My wife, on the other hand, only knew that her ancestors came to this country in chains. But a few years ago, she took a DNA test which showed she had heritage from several spots along the west coast of Africa, as well as from France and the United Kingdom. Which likely means some of her enslaved ancestors were raped.” Doctor Mahamadou shrugged. “That’s a distasteful historical reality.
“At the time,” he continued, “I took a test as well, mostly as a check to see how accurate they were. And the results were mostly what I expected: the majority of my heritage is from Niger and the surrounding areas. What was unexpected, was that I’m also a bit Italian.” He smiled. “How that happened, we don’t know.”
Diane nodded. “A few years ago, I took a DNA test and I’m basically European, with ancestors from Spain to Poland and Scotland to Greece. But I too was surprised to find that somewhere along the line I gained some Native American as well as Egyptian heritage.”
Doctor Mahamadou smiled. “That just goes to show that none of us really know all of our ancestors. Which leads to my One-Drop Initiative, which will pay for comprehensive DNA tests for the first thousand white supremacists that sign up for it. The name comes from the racist idea that a person with ‘one drop’ of black blood in their ancestry made them black.
“The whole idea started a few years ago, when I saw some white supremacists on the news, and wondered what they would say if they found out they had black ancestors. It took a few years to save up the money – the Initiative is entirely funded by my wife and I – and to make deals with various DNA test companies. But last week we finally launched OneDropInitiative.com, which has all the details and forms.”
Diane smiled. “Have you had any sign up yet?”
Doctor Mahamadou chuckled. “A handful.” Waving his hand he explained, “I knew it would always be a long shot. It’s likely they’ll ignore results they don’t agree with. ‘Follow the science’ isn’t a phrase one usually associates with white supremacists. But if this initiative can turn just one person away from that vile ideology, than I would consider it a success.”
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