Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:June 17th, 2011 16:50 EST
We Are All African American: My Mitochondria is the Same as Yours!

We Are All African American: My Mitochondria is the Same as Yours!

By Donna Cavanagh

In recent years, scientists have put forth the Out-of-Africa theory that in layman`s terms says that we are all descendents from one mitochondria  named "Eve" which originated from Africa.   Different races evolved as our human ancestors began to migrate to other regions of the world and mingle with each other. 

Let me just say right now, that this is the dumbed down version of the theory.  For those who need a scientific version about the migration patterns and timeline in history, just Google " Out-of-Africa Theory" and lots of entries will pop up.   Be sure to type in the word "theory"because if you just type in Out-of-Africa, the Robert Redford- Meryl Streep movie pops up. And while that is a beautiful and romantic film, which is one of my personal favorites because Robert Redford was at his sexiest best although not as sexy as he was in The Way We Were, the film has nothing to do with the evolution theory.    

Anyway, this whole Out-of-Africa and Mitochondrial Eve thing does tick off some people as they do not want to think of their ancestors as beings who had to evolve.  The first groups that are offended are those who believe solely in creationism and think the concept of evolution is sinful.  I know there are people like that out there because I drive through central Pennsylvania often and see the billboards saying so.  If you think that Adam and Eve, who are always depicted as white which is odd because even Biblical scholars say all the Bible stuff happened in Africa, are the true origins of the human species, then the Out-of-Africa theory might not be for you.

Hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan might also object to this theory.  To admit that their descendents came from Africa would be the undoing of all that they believe in. To be dramatic, their entire Raison d`être has no merit.  They would have to dismantle their entire organization which was built on a century and a half of hatred for the sake of science and facts.  Nah, they will just stick with their ignorance and say, "We all know that the scientists are out to destroy the white man."

Any private club or organization that still has a misguided and ridiculous discrimination all-white policy would not find the Out-of-Africa theory beneficial to their way of life.  The boards of directors would have to shake their heads, throw up their hands and say either open membership for everyone or expel everyone since no one would fit within the parameters of the rules.

In an odd way, I also think maybe Al Sharpton might object.  Let`s face it: For as many people who don`t want their Caucasian blood to have African ancestry, there would be African-Americans who don`t like the idea that they share a link with Caucasians either. 

I guess the whole thing with DNA is that as scientists delve into its mysteries more often, they prove that we are truly all one. DNA holds so many secrets, and we are just beginning to expose them. DNA research can tell us what diseases we may carry; it can be our biggest enemy if we commit a crime or try to run away from parental responsibilities.  We can lie, but we cannot deny our genes.

So, despite the controversy that Mitochondrial Eve or Out-of-Africa Theory might spark, I say that I hope it is all true.  We can`t hate who we are, and if we are all from the same piece of DNA, it might go a long way to making the world a kinder place.