Furthest Right

False “Native American” Heritage

EthniCelebs provides a wonderful service since everyone, whether they want to or not, knows the names of some “celebrities” — actors, musicians, politicians, and other heroes of democracy — and can use those faces to relate to heritage, ethnicity, race, and genetics generally.

For example, many ethnic Western European Americans believe that they have Amerind (“Native American”) heritage, but in most cases (probably three-quarters of the cases) this terms out to be an illusion. Most people who believe they are part Amerind know of that “fact” through family lore.

However, as we can see from the case of Chuck Norris, the lore seems revealed as a convenient explanation that gives these people minority “cred,” but it is not borne out by reality:

Chuck has stated that both of his parents were of half Irish and half Native American ancestry (“Genetically speaking, I am equal parts Irish and Native American”). Specifically, he has said that his paternal grandfather was an Irish immigrant, his paternal grandmother was of Native American descent (“a full-blooded Cherokee Indian”), his maternal grandfather was of Native American descent (“a Cherokee Indian from Kentucky”), and, finally, that his maternal grandmother was of Irish descent.

We are all familiar with this tale, especially since many celebrities seem to assert it. If you want to stand out from your White neighbors, nothing more quickly makes you an exotic than claiming to be from an often-mythologized and now absent people. You are different.

However, Asiatic admixture stands out in faces. We can see it today in the Southern Europeans (who look Arab or Jewish) and in Eastern Europeans and Baltids, many of whom have Asiatic features. You do not have a cryptic Amerind ancestor without looking the part.

More interesting cases of admixture are Johnny Depp, who is 1/3048th African, and Diana Spencer, who was 1/128th Indian.

All of this goes to show us one of the principles of history: people tend to breed with those who are like them unless diversity is introduced. Most of the Americans who talk about rumored Amerind ancestors are in fact speaking rumor, not reality.

Tags: , , , ,

Share on FacebookShare on RedditTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn