I find this predictable and sad...
The New York Times reports that for $99 to $250, you can get a DNA kit that will allow you to determine your racial ancestry, which can then be used to establish your eligibility for various racial and ethnic benefits. According to the Times:
[i] Prospective employees with white skin are using the tests to apply as minority candidates, while some with black skin are citing their European ancestry in claiming inheritance rights.
One Christian is using the test to claim Jewish genetic ancestry and to demand Israeli citizenship, and Americans of every shade are staking a DNA claim to Indian scholarships, health services and casino money.
"This is not just somebody's desire to go find out whether their grandfather is Polish," said Troy Duster, a sociologist at New York University who has studied the social impact of the tests. "It's about access to money and power."[/i]
Can anybody be surprised at this development? A representative of the University of Michigan is quoted in the piece as saying that a person who has gone through life thinking of himself as white has not experienced the things that affirmative action is supposed to remedy. That strikes me as often true, but by no means always true. One can be discriminated against if others perceive him as being a member of a group even if he does not consider himself a member. In any event, the University of Michigan depends upon applicants to self-report their race or ethnicity "accurately." If Michigan can't depend upon applicants to do so to its satisfaction, what method is going to use instead?