How many of you have had the opportunity to discover your family tree? If yes, how many generations could you trace back? Does your passport reflect your personal heritage? Where were you born and how did that place change across the years? We’ve been seeing such complex migration history over the past hundreds of years that I would say it is impossible to claim that we’re 100% of a particular nationality/race, that the blood running through our veins is connected to only one place. Do you tend to disagree? :)
I’ve been inspired to write this post after randomly finding the below commercial for a Danish metasearch engine called Momondo. Not only did it spark my curiosity but it made me think of the many ways in which we can get to know ourselves better. Understanding who we are and where we come from would help lead to a better world and society for all of us to live in.
The first thing I did after seeing this video was to frenetically look for DNA tests that could help reveal my ancestry and the geographical whereabouts of my distant relatives. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long to have my dream come true as I have a set of awesome friends that made it happen for me. For my recent 28th birthday I received the 23andme kit, fresh out of California. Thanks so much guys, you’re the best <3
23 And Me is a revolutionary personal genomics and biotechnology company that has won Time’s Invention of the Year award in 2008. Ever since it was founded it has been increasing its accuracy of identifying one’s ancestry and more. The test can tell a lot more things such as genetic risks to certain diseases, health traits as well as how much DNA I have in common with a Neanderthal :)) Besides the fact that I will get to find out my ancestry breakdown in populations and subpopulations + potential cousins I have scattered across the world, my DNA and its traits will help increase quality of domain-specific research.
Living in Amsterdam for the past 5 years has showed me the beauty of being part of an international environment, full of life and different nationalities, living together in harmony and freedom – as one would expect from a cosmopolitan capital :) The truth is that Amsterdam is only one small dot on the map and that our world is still split according to an invisible hierarchy based on race, color, nationality and culture.
We’re born with a certain legacy and we live our lives like everyone else around us. We cannot change that heritage, nor does it make us more or lesser of a person even though we falsely claim so or feel like it. We are all born from different backgrounds but equal and we start off on our journey with what we’ve got. Some of us are forced to travel on a more difficult path than others as discrimination is still too often encountered on all levels of society. Both educated and non-educated people discriminate on race, color, nationality and that is quite worrisome. Usually, these kinds of thoughts and feelings stem from belonging or ‘coming from’ somewhere. But how could you bear such feelings towards neighboring countrymen once you find out that your ancestors were one of them?
What I would like you, dear reader, to take away from this post is not necessarily an invoice to a 23andme DNA test but more the exercise of thinking about who you are – what were you born with and what defines you as the person you truly are? Cherish those around you and help spread the word that we need a world of equality, of fair chances.