When white nationalists learn through genetic ancestry testing that they are not fully of European ancestry, they tend to argue that the tests can be interpreted different ways, the New York Times reports.
The University of California's Aaron Panofsky and Harvard University's Joan Donovan scoured posts made to the white nationalist website Stormfront in which posters shared their genetic ancestry results. As they report in the Social Studies of Science, they found that people did share results indicating non-white or non-European ancestry and that other posters there more often attacked the validity of the results than the original poster. Of the 1,500 responses they analyzed, about 100 admonished the original poster for "not being white enough" while more than 1,200 responses suggested other ways to interpret their ancestry results, the Times reports.
"People go to extraordinary lengths to maintain beliefs to which they are committed," Jonathan Baron, University of Pennsylvania psychology professor who was not involved in the study, tells the Times.