My grandmother’s mother was Irish, so I was told. If I’ve got the genealogical sum right, that makes me one-eighth Irish. If further proof is required, I have in my possession a green shirt and a green jumper. Also, if its relevant, my mum Elsie was referred to by some as Aunty Elsie. Though, on reflection, I think they might have been her nephews and nieces.
Anyway, this might become important. For as judges in the U.K. become woker and woker, reparations for Irish folk, badly done by, so they say, over hundreds of years by the English, might become a reality. Say, a modest, £10,000 per head for those able to trace their ancestry back to Cromwellian times. This might mean I would be eligible for one-eighth of £10,000 or £1,250 – not to be sneezed at. Of course, with money to be made you can expect Pádraigín impostors aplenty to be lining up. What to do? DNA testing of course.
A little prick on your finger at the local lab and Bob’s your uncle. But is this a racist thing to do? Shouldn’t people be trusted? Mum said I was part Irish and that surely should be good enough; and then, I forgot to mention, there’s my CD of the Irish group The Fureys on my shelf and, to boot, I’ve quaffed more than an occasional Guinness in my time.
Phew! Apparently, it’s alright. DNA testing is only racist if you’re trying to verify that a person has forbears of races which are of colour or black. Thus ex-Labor minister Gary Johns (The Burden of Culture) got into trouble for suggesting that self-identifying Aborigines might have to establish their biological bona fides in order to benefit from racially-determined benefits and preferment. On the other hand, checking a claim to have white Irish ancestry going back centuries is not racist in the least. I hope that’s clear. What, even if the person claiming is of colour? You got me there?!?