Today I am Considering Pros & Cons of DNA Testing. The Beta readers of Rogues in Paradise were keen to know more about the characters in the book, and I embarked on a quest to establish roots and heritage with DNA. Many of the bookspersonalities were interested in finding their roots, but some were dubious about using DNA.

My objective for the book was to create a series of anecdotes for various characters. This would demonstrate the diverse character and personality of the People of Barbados. Readers loved the character sketches, but many asked to know more. They wanted to know the roots and African heritage of descendants of the slaves: What tribes were they from, and what was the philosophy and lifestyles of their ancestors. They wanted to learn more about slavery, colonialism, and how Barbados was different in many respects, as demonstrated in the Character of Bajans.

Rogues in Paradise The Real Story of Barbados’
Ordinary Heroes, Legends, Heritage and History

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The Good, Bad, and Ugly of DNA

There is good and bad in the saga of Barbados and its role in slavery and colonialism. And DNA testing was not going to be good for everyone. Some preferred not to do the tests saying they were comfortable with who they were and did not want to open what could be a hornet’s nest.  I undertook DNA testing with those interested in knowing more about their roots and comfortable handling any revelation. The tests are still in progress, and the findings are a fascinating trip into a culture considered the cradle of humanity.

The first results were for Errol Griffith. I researched Akan’s philosophy and learned about their unique concept of Personhood. It was an adventure and a revelation of community. It had me reflecting on life, beliefs, connections, and spirituality. I feel that these snippets of Africa in the book add a rich and exciting context to the story of Barbados.

Roger Barker, featured in Rogues in Paradise, has a positive point of view, saying that “Africa is a fascinating heritage that all  Barbadians should explore.” He advocates that African Bajans learn about their heritage as it will make them proud to know of this rich ancestry.

Testing not for Everyone

While it is a fascinating addition, I know that revelation can be challenging for some, and no one is persuaded to take the test or share results.  Rogues DNA testing is entirely optional. It is available to those keen on uncovering their ancestry and at ease with the possible revelations. If there is any uncertainty or apprehension, no testing is done. Results are only shared if there is consent to do so.

When considering DNA tracing or genetic testing, there are several psychological triggers that individuals may want to be mindful of.As one of the outstanding characters in the book put it. “I am comfortable in my skin, I don’t want to dig up the past. This is a valid point. From a psychological perspective, discovering one’s ancestry can be positive or negative. It can provide a sense of connection and belonging, help individuals understand their present identity, and promote a sense of pride and self-esteem. However, negative aspects of one’s ancestry, such as a history of abuse, trauma, or lost opportunity, can be challenging to confront and process. Discovering surprising or unexpected information about one’s ancestry can cause identity confusion and distress.

Smokey Robinson says he does not care to be called an African American (i). He was born in America and is an American American. If it needs to be hyphenated, he is a Black American. Any refinement on heritage is unnecessary. Many Bajans feel the same way.

The Psychological Triggers of DNA

  1.  Fear of discovering negative information: Some individuals may worry that they will discover information about their ancestry that is difficult to confront, such as a history of abuse, infidelity, or illness. This fear can be particularly acute for individuals who have experienced trauma.
  2. Concerns about identity: Discovering unexpected or surprising information about one’s ancestry, such as a different ethnicity or family members previously unknown, can cause a person to question their sense of self, leading to identity confusion and psychological distress.
  3.  Anxiety about genetic risk: Genetic testing can reveal an individual’s risk for certain diseases or conditions. This can cause anxiety and worry, especially if the individual does not have access to appropriate medical care or support.
  4. Family conflict: DNA testing can reveal unexpected relationships or paternity, creating family conflicts and disrupting existing relationships. This can be particularly challenging if individuals are not prepared for the possibility of such revelations.
  5. Pressure to conform to expectations: Discovering information about prominent or influential ancestors can bring up feelings of pressure or responsibility and questions about one’s identity and place in the world.
  6. Privacy concerns: Individuals may worry about the security and privacy of their genetic information, particularly in the age of widespread data breaches and identity theft.

Proceeding with Caution

It is essential for individuals considering DNA tracing or genetic testing to be aware of these potential triggers and to carefully consider their reasons for seeking such information.

Rogues DNA testing is optional.

It is available to those who want to know more about their ancestry and are at ease with the possible revelations. If there is any uncertainty or apprehension, no testing is done. Results are only shared if there is consent to do so.


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(i) Smokey Robinson on being an American American- CNN’s Chris Wallace: