Hidden Figures: Genetic Surprises

As more people take DNA tests to reveal their ancestry, more people are learning that along with the ancestry they always knew about, there's some sub-Saharan Africa in there, too. One of the DNA testing services, 23andMe, has reported on a study that estimates that 4 percent of whites in the United States have at least 1 percent or more of African ancestry. That's a fair number of people to be surprised.

(I was not surprised by my own DNA test. It was the other way around.)

So the question that came to Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s on his website The Root, "A DNA Test Says I’m Part Black. How Do I Embrace That?" is a sign of the times. News that would have been devastating decades ago is now intriguing, and to be treated with respect.

Professor Gates' advice: ease into it.