FROM FAMILY TREES TO CORPORATE GREED: GENETIC GENEALOGY TESTING COMPANIES AND THE BLACK SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
Genetic Genealogy tests from companies like AncestryDNA and 23andMe have gained immense popularity since their creation in the mid 2000s. They have become specifically relevant for Black Americans, who, due to the history of slavery in the United States, often know little about their ancestry, and are hard-pressed to uncover any information from before the 1870 census through, when formerly enslaved people were first documented by name, from records alone. They are therefore disproportionately dependent on DNA testing to explore their ancestral roots. Companies, aware of this heavy reliance, market explicitly to Black Americans, while also giving them little useful information through their services, for example, matching ancestry to only eight regions across the whole of Africa. In a landscape where Black Americans are disproportionately marketed to and equally so ignored, how do they respond to their relationship with these companies? Looking primarily at content from Twitter and Youtube, I've found that Black people have taken to the social media world and created spaces where they can comfortably reflect on this relationship - spaces created for each other, by each other. This thesis takes the form of a Television Pilot script in the hopes of amplifying the many Black opinions surrounding these tests, through each of the three main characters. It further explores how these characters create a reflective community among each other within the cinematic universe. Above all, this thesis attempts to reveal the ways that Black Americans have come together in community in a particularly uncertain socio-political moment.
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