“We asked 67 people from all over the world to take a DNA test,” said travel gurus Momondo, in one of the most emotional mass-confrontations with national identity on the internet. “It turns out,” they revealed, “they have much more in common with other nationalities than they thought.”
So many of us still harbor prejudice. Sometimes it’s unconscious, sometimes it’s out in the open, and sometimes we inherit our attitudes from the people around us. At its worst, prejudice creates global crises, even leading to wars and the devastating loss of countless lives.
We all experience first impressions. We decide a lot about our neighbors based upon their skin color and physical presentation. But are we always on the money?
Momondo wanted to challenge the conviction of 67 participants with one vital characteristic in common; they were all very, very proud of their nationality, ethnicity, and heritage. Unfortunately, these same people also openly admitted prejudice toward other nationalities, despite sitting in a room with 66 other people from all around the globe.
It’s likely that you know somebody like this. Perhaps you even have an unwavering sense of national identity yourself, or feel reservation toward different, unfamiliar cultures.
A sense of belonging can make us feel safe in the world. But pack your bags, because you’re going on a journey! The whole thing begins with an invitation: “Would you dare to question who you really are?”
Momondo, in the soul-stirring video that has amassed over 18 million hits on YouTube, gave each of their participants a DNA test. They were asked to fill the test tube with saliva, which was then sent to a lab for processing. A few agonizing weeks later, all 67 participants returned to collect their results.
“I’m proud to be English,” said Jay, whose parents and grandparents had all been born in England. “My family has served and we’ve defended this country,” he told the panel.
Ellaha, a political refugee from Kurdistan, proudly showed pictures of her mother at a traditional Kurdish wedding and explained the painful dissipation of her people because of regional conflict.
Jay, when questioned, admitted that he was “not a fan” of the Germans. Ellaha admitted to “hating” the Turkish government. “What could you possibly tell me that I don’t know?” Jay challenged the panel, boldly. Famous last words.
For these two, and everybody else in the room, their convictions were about to be shaken to their very core.
As the panel called numbers 1 through 67, some DNA results prompted indignation, others prompted tears of relief, grief, and joy, and others prompted deep reflections on what it really means to be a citizen of the world. Because guess what? None of us are as “pure” as we might think we are.
“English” Jay, despite his protestations, turned out to have 5 percent German heritage. “I’m Jay from everywhere, by the looks of this!” he exclaimed, to the raucous applause of the remaining 66 participants.
Ellaha on the other hand, burst into tears of joy and disbelief as the panel revealed a shocking discovery; she actually had a biological cousin in the room with her.
Our far-reaching genetic makeup can literally unite people across countries, communities, and wide gulfs of mission information. As the cousins embraced, the room exploded with emotional cheering.
One participant, Aurelie, a self-proclaimed Frenchwoman who ended up having a beautifully mixed European heritage, shared an insight. “I’m going to go a bit far right now,” she began, “but this should be compulsory!”
“There would be no such thing as extremism in the world if people knew their heritage,” Aurelie explained. “Who would be stupid enough to think of such a thing as a pure race?”
The panel, after delivering a moving series of hugely illuminating DNA results, asked each participant a pertinent question. “How would you feel about taking a journey based on your DNA?” they asked. Everybody (yes, that’s everybody) responded positively.
Momondo’s is a message of acceptance. We share far more than we think, and we are more alike than we will ever know. National identity is a complex thing and certainly doesn’t preclude anybody from embracing the beauty of the world around them.
Who knows; you might just be 5 percent something else, after all.
Watch the video below: