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Genetic Race? An Exploration of Ancestry Testing and Racial Identity

Oct 8

Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

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Trina Jones (Jerome M. Culp Professor of Law, Duke Law School) and Jessica Roberts (Director of the Health Law & Policy Institute and the Leonard Childs Professor in Law, University of Houston Law Center)

Can genetic tests determine race? Americans are fascinated with DNA ancestry testing services like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. This paper introduces the concept of "genetic race" by considering ways in which DNA ancestry tests may affect contemporary understandings of racial identity. The authors argue that these tests are poor proxies for race because they fail to reflect the defining social, cultural, relational, and experiential norms that form identity. Consequently, the authors strongly caution against defining race in predominantly genetic terms. The paper addresses three separate legal contexts: (1) employment discrimination, 2) race-conscious initiatives, and (3) immigration. Zoom Meeting ID: 957 8963 6668 Registration is required. Register here:


Lewis, Cathy