The essay explores issues pertaining to genetics vs. culture in understandings of kinship, hybridity as a disruptor of essentialist conceptions of race, the fetishization of ethnicity and culture, racist misuses of genetic science, processes of racialization, and counter-hegemonic resistance. Thirty- and sixty-second television advertisements airing in the U.S. from the 23andMe and AncestryDNA genetic genealogy testing services are analyzed in this context. The investigation demonstrates that genetic ancestry testing providers are well aware that their enterprise is premised on belief in the superiority of biological kinship and that hybridity is mobilized primarily as a marketing opportunity with ethnic components signified in shorthand by fetishized objects. Moreover, the categories of race and ethnicity presented in the ads give cover to racist abusers of genetic science, as the ads are consistent with socially constructed racial classifications. While maintaining this consistency, the categories are subject to adjustment based on the expectations of consumers. Resistance is possible in the use of genetic ancestry by descendants of African slaves to make localized connections to Africa, something that conventional genealogy seldom provides.
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