heritage, heredity, genetics, ethnic groups, culture


The term "heritage" brings up associations of "heredity" and this again reminds us of genes and the genetic code. Heritage in this sense is terribly important. We are programmed by our genes. Our appearance and condition are pre-determined in many ways, ranging from the color of our eyes to the state of our health and the potential of our mind, and including negative as well as positive features. Genetic heritage can be a blessing and it can be a burden. It has the greatest significance for the individual, but is also an important corporate factor. Ethnic groups have genetic features in common for which they can take no individual or contemporary credit and of which they cannot rid themselves. If a person is a WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), it is only the fourth letter over which she or he has any influence or responsibility. Research experiments with genetic control are as yet in the laboratory stage, perhaps fortunately so.