DNA Worldwide tackles racism in schools with DNA testing
DNA Worldwide is conducting DNA testing in certain schools to show kids just how genetically similar we all are.
It’s an interesting concept. I was certainly witness to racism in my school and the idea of arming kids with science to combat xenophobia sounds like a ‘win-win’ scenario.
Even though all humans are genetically similar (over 99% of everyone’s DNA is identical), prejudices based on physical differences such as skin colour are perpetuated in our society. Addressing the attitudes of children at an early age with a rational and scientific approach, is one of the tools we can use to fight intolerance.
The program is part of the ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ campaign which was designed to stop racism in British football. Since 1996 the charity behind this campaign has been championing positive race relations and debunking divisive myths. They bring the discussion into offices, schools and sports venues; surfacing racist beliefs and addressing them in the open.
David Nicholson, CEO of DNA Worldwide Group said: “Why do we find children who naturally see no difference between one another – regardless of skin colour – change their views as they grow older?
“The problem is both simple and complex; parents, peers and society can have extreme or hidden views which are imposed on our children.
“The children start to think this is normal and another generation with the same issues develops and the problem is perpetuated.”
It’s certainly a novel move by the genetic testing specialist. Commercial laboratories tend to focus their energies on relationship testing for both legal and ‘peace of mind’ purposes, a key revenue stream in the DNA testing market. So seeing a genetic testing group involved in a grassroots campaign such as this, is a great example of an organisation stepping outside its ‘scope of business’ to make a real impact in communities.
Jeff Morgan, Education Manager at ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ said: “Some of the young people we meet have very fixed views on immigration, views which are often comprised of untruths and myths. We feel these tests will really open their eyes to the history of migration and their own heritage.
“We think that this unique approach will have a long-lasting impact, changing the kids’ perceptions of themselves and the world around them, challenging the ‘us and them’ racist ideology.”
This approach is mirrored by the ‘We R no race’ campaign in Brazil, which will attempt to test and compare the DNA of all footballers playing in the 2014 World Cup. Even if 10% of players lend their support to the campaign, it will give an incredible view of the genetic similarities we share the world over.
Its great to see DNA Worldwide involved in a program such as this, and I look forward to seeing where they lend their support next.