Posted on June 29, 2005

Looks Skin Deep, DNA Tests Show

Laura Casey, Oakland Tribune, June 27

ALAMEDA — College of Alameda student Derrick Barbosa, a dark-skinned African American, said as a child he always felt he was of a mixed heritage even though his immediate family is black.

“I felt I had other blood in my body,” Barbosa said during an interview on the College of Alameda campus.

This past semester, Barbosa was one of 200 College of Alameda students, staff and faculty who took DNA tests to determine where their ancestors came from.

The result: Barbosa’s DNA indicated 75 percent of his ancestry is Sub-Saharan African, 22 percent is European and 3 percent is Native American. Proof, he said, that looks are only skin deep.

“They always say you should never judge a book by its cover and this is living proof of that,” he said.

The DNA testing was organized by anthropology professor Nathan Strong, who convinced Florida-based testing company ANCESTRYbyDNA to provide the school with 200 free tests. It was an experiment to augment his teachings of physical anthropology and his colleagues’ teaching of psychology, sociology and African-American history, he said.

“It comes from the notion that we are, in the end, each other’s brothers and sisters in a way,” the soft-spoken Strong said. “We share much more in common than we are different.”