Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

March 9, 2012

Barack Hussein Obama: Yankee & Cavalier

Filed under: Barack Obama,Politics — Razib Khan @ 12:46 pm

I’ve mentioned before that though Barack H. Obama’s most salient ethnic identity is that of a black American, in many ways he far more resembles his “Yankee” maternal family (who raised him). By Yankee, I mean that I presumed that they were from the Yankee component of the Kansas population, with names like Emerson in the family lineage. Later the family settled in parts of Greater New England, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Religiously they seem to have veered into conventional New England liberal denominations such as Unitarianism. And interestingly as an adult Barack H. Obama chose a black nationalist church which had an explicit connection with a liberal Protestant denomination with dominant roots in New England, the United Church of Christ. All this is not to say that there is a “Yankee conspiracy” on Obama’s maternal side. Rather, people have “folkways,” and are often unconsciously attracted to cultural forms and locales which have an air of familiarity.

But interestingly a regularly correspondent has uncovered that Obama’s maternal lineage, or more specifically his maternal grandfather’s paternal lineage, is more Yankee in cultural identity than genetics:

I don’t want the basis of Obama’s Yankee heritage misconstrued here. I found no one who had dug out all of his “Cavalier” ancestors and compiled them in one place, so within reasonable effort, I did so. Here is a map of all that.

Stanley Ann Dunham’s genome is in fact only one percent New England Puritan. That cohort is due to a dozen or so American-born colonial immigrant kids from Puritan England and Holland. This one clade (Samuel Dunham b. 1742) is Stanley Ann’s direct patriline. Four or five from this group migrated to New Jersey fairly early, and intermarried apparently based on their Yankee-ness there. That Stanley Ann’s grandfather is Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham suggests that the Yankee regard is stronger than the genetic fraction. Choosing sides in the Civil War might be what bolstered that loyalty.

The Pennsylvania & Maryland immigrants are German, Swiss, French etc. Then the Virginia immigrants are from England and Wales, much as Fischer suggests. The north-south immigrants’ landfalls map well onto the patriline-matriline axis of the ancestral tree.

In terms of how to replicate:

The data are from here: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi

Anyone who uses this huge wiki-like resource knows that it’s unwieldy and not totally reliable. But making a map abstracts things to where isolated data errors or ambiguities aren’t going to change the big picture.

August 6, 2011

Rick Perry is not too smart

Filed under: Barack Obama,Intelligence,Mitt Romney,Politics,Rick Perry — Razib Khan @ 8:29 pm

Likely presidential candidate Rick Perry’s college transcript at Texas A & AM has been published. Here are the highlights:

…In his freshman and sophomore year, Perry struggled with core science classes, earning D’s in several organic chemistry classes and C’s in general chemistry and physics.

But after Perry switched his major at the beginning of his fall semester in 1970, his grades didn’t improve. Perry got a C in Reproduction in Farm Animals, a C in genetics, a D in Feeds & Feeding, a C in Sheep & Angora Goat Production and two C’s in animal breeding classes.

Many of Perry’s other classes involved military education. Perry has previously credited his time in the A&M Corps of Cadets with giving him the necessary discipline to complete school.

Perry got two C’s in Development of Air Power and took four levels of World Military Systems, earning two C’s, a B and an A. The A was one of only two Perry earned at college — the other was for a class called Improv. of Learning.

The future governor only took one political science class while he was in school — American National Government, for which he earned a B. Other classes outside of Perry’s ...

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