SXSW 2021

What Box Do I Fit In?


As long as humans have been on this planet, we’ve tried to answer the question: “Who are we?” But the answer to our identity always seems to shift. Today, race is often used as an identifier. But race is a fluid concept, that has changed over time, used to group people according to various factors. Though these visible traits are influenced by genes, the vast majority of genetic variation exists within racial groups and not between them. Genomics is helping us understand the complex and intertwined relationships between a person's ancestry, ethnicity, and racial identity. So, we ask, is there a world in which we don’t use race to describe ourselves? Do we look at ethnicity as the main identifier? Or are there genomic factors that can be used as identity markers?

Related Media


  1. How genomics affect how we look at identity
  2. What are alternatives to race as social identifiers?
  3. What could a post-racial identifier world look like?



Harry Wedel, Communication Specialist, National Human Genome Research Institute

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