African American Lives The Past Is Another Country Film Analysis

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African American Lives: The Past is Another Country is a film about black history and heritage. Most African Americans know that their ancestors were slaves, and it used to be that they could not trace their ancestors after that. However, using the technology of DNA analysis and genetics, the film shows a very fascinating research and experiment in tracing one’s heritage. The film makes a clear point of why they’re doing this research, why trace back to one’s ancestors, and why does it matter if we know our past? A very good point that some of the guests make is that they want closure, and in order to get that closure, they need to know their history. Additionally, another good point that they mention is that in knowing their ancestors from …show more content…
This was done through DNA analysis by the Y-chromosome DNA of men and the mitochondrial DNA that we inherit from our mothers. Along the way, they debunked several myths and beliefs, such as African-Americans having Indian heritage and the idea of being Black. First they had this technology that could determine the percentage in different races like how much African, European, or Native American is in one’s DNA. Through this new technology we learn that most African-American have European ancestry mostly because of rape; however, the story of the woman who lived next door to the white man who ‘raped’ her even after the civil war is very thought provoking. It raises yet another inexplicable question of how exactly do African Americans determine whether what happened to their ancestors was rape or out of love. In the film, they also discover that Henry Louis Gates has a Neill haplotype gene, which means he is somehow connected to the O’Neill family who were rulers of Ireland for a long time. There was also a man who had a direct paternal line to Jews. I’m a bit skeptical with these kind of things in the film, especially regarding the actual process. They just made it look so easy to trace their ancestry. For instance, the test that basically determined racial percentages seemed rather too simple. I feel like they could have explained it more. I think they could have explained the Neill haplotype better as well. For instance, how exactly they determined Gates had that genetic mutation. On the other hand, I guess not a lot of people would be interested in knowing the science behind it like I

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