Sunday 25 November 2012

Race, Rotherham, Foster Parents And Politics

In the sorry and strange business of the foster parents who had children removed from their care by Rotherham Council on account of their membership of the United Kingdom Independence Party there is something missing.

Aside from the old Yorkshire saying, “What Rotherham does today, everybody should avoid tomorrow”, there is the whole question of how you define “racism”.  As I understand the reports the couple are “British” and the children of Eastern European origin. 

Further to that the foster parents have ensured the children’s adherence to the religion and language of their natural parents.

The issue that is missing is the DNA.  We have had ours done as part of genetic research projects and as far as I am concerned this is just something shared with the whole of the present human race and perhaps the lost Neanderthals and Denisovan as well in the deeper past.

What did come as a surprise was the extent of our closer genetic connections both across Europe and to a lesser extent the wider world.  In my case the male Y chromosome, passed only down the direct male line is found extensively in Eastern Europe, indeed the largest proportion in some territories.

In short if I bump into someone from there it is quite possible that we have the same male Y chromosome.  This arose from a mutation some 25,000 to 30,000 years ago in the area of the Balkans.

Recent findings of human remains by palaeontologists in the Balkans, albeit very scarce and very ancient suggest that in the period when humans had emerged from Africa at that stage they still had African characteristics.  So, at least a long while ago, I am of African origins.

Between then and now, though, given the extent of known ancestry there is already quite a mix in the 16th Century across both the Atlantic Isles and into Europe and further places.  Despite this I am restricted to the crude and unreal definitions of race laid down by politicians with an agenda.

So my 3 x great grandfather in the direct male line, listed as “Swarthy” in the military records does not count nor any of the extended shores of my family as I travel back in time. 

What in my ancestry might define the actual person I am is another question. The ability to head butt might suggest my recent Glaswegian family origins are paramount.

So it is quite possible if “in depth” DNA were taken from the foster parents and the children the problem might not be that they are of different races but that they are of different definitions of race to that of science.

What then?


  1. "What then?"

    Change the science. It's happened before.

  2. sigh! If you think that someone from the cradle of humanity is the same as someone from cowbridge - then what is the point of any nationality.