Right To Know
We all have a right to know who we are and where we come from. And in this day of over-the-counter DNA tests, it’s easier than ever to find out.
But what happens when your DNA discovery reveals secrets that rewrite the story of your life?
In the case of Kara Rubinstein Deyerin, it shattered her identity and sent her on a quest to answer a simple, yet complex question: “Who am I?”
Life Changes with the Click of a Mouse
Kara reached out to share her most extraordinary story that strikes at the very core of our humanity.
It begins with a desire to visit the part of Africa where her paternal family tree traced back to three enslaved brothers.
But when the test results from Ancestry.com came in, Kara’s life changed with the click of a mouse.
She is not half Black. She is half Jewish.
The same questions you are asking yourself right now, I ask Kara in our conversation that is at once painful, enlightening, humorous and hopeful.
In the beginning, she thought she was alone. As she wrote in her note to me, “I mean who else grows up half Black, only to learn they’re half Jewish?”
Well, it turns out an estimated 1 in 20 people will learn they have misattributed parents. That percentage will, no doubt, increase as the over-the-counter DNA testing industry booms.
Turning Pain Into Power
After realizing she is not alone in her shattered identity, Kara set out to turn her pain into power.
She co-founded the non-profit, Right To Know, to advocate for people impacted by DNA surprises and misattributed parentage experiences (MPE).
Kara and her colleagues work to promote understanding of the complex intersection of genetic information, identity and family dynamics.
Repercussions Across Generations
And speaking of those family dynamics, Kara is candid in sharing the repercussions across generations of her own family, including the impact on her husband and three sons.
She is also candid about race and the role it plays in her story — and ours as a nation.
Yes, we all have a right to know who we are and where we come from.
We also have a right to be accepted and respected simply as human beings, DNA be damned.