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Sure, Blame the Test

White nationalists have turned to genetic ancestry tests to attest to their racial backgrounds, but Stat News reports that some test-takers receive surprising results. For instance, it notes that white supremacist Craig Cobb learned on daytime television a few years ago that his ancestry was estimated to be 86 percent European and 14 percent sub-Saharan African, to the laughter of the studio audience.

Two sociologists have now looked into how white supremacists react to such results by searching through posts made on the white nationalist website Stormfront, according to Stat News. One member of the UCLA research duo, Joan Donovan, says that rather than snubbing people because of their testing results — though that did occur — the conversations tend to focus on the validity of the results.

While some white supremacist posters rejected test results outright, a few offered critiques similar to those that scientists themselves have of genetic ancestry testing — regarding how reference populations are chosen — though with different motivations. In response, some white supremacist test-takers have uploaded their results to different sites until they got the results they were looking for.

Overall, Stat News notes that "the analysis provides a useful, if frightening, window into how these extremist groups think about their genes."

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