EDITOR’S NOTE: What follows is satire. While we seriously doubt that Trump has ever spit into a saliva collection tube to have his DNA analyzed, here is what we imagine might happen.
Dear Donald J. Trump:
We’re writing from National Geographic’s Genographic Project to share the exciting news: You are African!
Now, this might come as a bit of a shock, but rest assured, you’re not alone. All 7.7 billion human beings on the planet originated in Africa. Our species, homo sapiens, evolved in eastern Africa about 200,000 years ago, having descended from apelike creatures. More than 60,000 years ago, modern humans began to migrate out of Africa and colonize the rest of the world.
Yes, it’s true. Faced with drought and hunger, your distant ancestors stepped out of Africa and into the Middle East. Each new generation went a bit farther. It took thousands of years, but eventually humans spread out to places like China, Australia, and Europe (the place where your mother and grandparents were born), and the Bronx (where your father was born).
Remember Charles Darwin — the dude who came up with the theory of evolution? He predicted that humans originated in Africa. Since then, fossil and genetic evidence have proven it.
Now, Mr. Trump, before we delve deeper into the The Genographic Project and start tossing out highfalutin scientific phrases such as the human genome, mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome DNA, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms — it has come to our attention that you speak on a fourth-grade level.
Feel free to sit down with your milk and cookies, and we’ll explain it to you like you’re 9 years old.
Your DNA is like a textbook that contains the story of the human migration out of Africa. When DNA is passed from one generation to the next, most of it is recombined (in other words, it gets kind of messy). But some parts of the DNA — mitochondrial DNA, passed on only through mothers, and Y chromosome DNA, passed on only through fathers — remain largely intact through the generations, changed only occasionally by random mutations. Scientists can look at those random mutations and the order in which they occur and pinpoint where your ancestors came from (China, Australia, Europe, etc.). But if you go back far enough, the ultimate common root for every human being on the planet is: Africa.
Whoops, sorry. That last paragraph didn’t pass the Flesch-Kincaid reading test for a fourth-grade reading level. (It came in at grade 12.) We’ll try again.
Your people are from Africa.
By now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “That’s crazy. I was born in Queens. If I’m African, why is my skin white (underneath all this orange makeup)?”
Well, just check out this sign at the Human Odyssey exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco:
“Skin color is an adaptation to sunlight. Our species originated in Africa near the equator where a dark skin protected against harmful UV rays. As humans moved away from the equator, natural selection favored a lighter skin that let UV rays penetrate to form vitamin D.”
Whoops, sorry, Mr. Trump. We forgot that you don’t like to read and are unlikely to visit museums. Here’s a Ted Talks video that explains why you are white. And here’s another one: The Science of Skin Color.
Short attention span? We’ll summarize. If you live in Ethiopia, black skin acts as a natural sunscreen to help prevent skin cancer. If you live in Norway, you don’t need as much “sunscreen” because your white skin is an adaptation to allow in more ultraviolet light so your body can create Vitamin D and you don’t get rickets.
Your skin color helps keep you healthy within your environment. It doesn’t reflect the content of your character.
So, here’s some advice. Stop obsessing about skin color. Stop calling Mexican immigrants “criminals and rapists.” Stop saying immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS.” Stop disparaging Barack Obama. Stop highlighting crimes committed by dark-skinned people. Stop saying that black NFL players are being unpatriotic when they kneel during the National Anthem. Don’t retweet white nationalists. Don’t call white supremacists “very fine people.” Don’t endorse and campaign for people like Roy Moore who speak positively about slavery.
And for Darwin’s sake, stop talking about the wall. Rational American taxpayers do not wish to spend $5.7 billion to keep out people whose darker skin helps them prevent skin cancer. That’s just dumb.
Want to erect a barricade? Two words. “Russian oligarchs.”
Thank you for your participation in The Genographic Project.
Adenine D. Helix