There is no end to these articles. They seem especially popular during an election year. It's de rigueur for any presidential candidate, even a diversity, to find Irish roots during a presidential campaign. Why? The Irish-Americans have lost much of their favored position with the American 'news' media, but I suppose it's just a tradition by now.
Now, however, there is this lurid tale of a slaveowner ancestor, and dark hints about 'rape'. Actually I have come to really resent these slurs in articles about the European roots of black Americans; I mean the insinuations that any such mixing had to have involved 'rape.' Why is this taken for granted? To me, absent any real evidence that such a thing happened, it is nothing less than slander to infer that 'rape' was involved. Yet that is always a given with the mainstream media. Rape is always mentioned in these stories. Why don't more of us vocally object to our kin and our ancestors being groundlessly accused of rape?
Another ungrounded assumption in most of these stories is that the guilty party was the slaveowner, though it would more likely have been an overseer, or somebody else in a position involving more contact with slaves.
Granted, though, in this instance, it's claimed that DNA testing indicates this man Shields was the progenitor. But generally, as with the Thomas Jefferson slander, it's always taken for granted that the owner is the guilty party. Why? I suppose because he is considered the embodiment of evil in the popular imagination -- which, by the way, is growing more lurid, the more such articles as this are fed to the public. They appeal to people's baser imaginings.
But again, this article (as with anything originating with the New York Times) is pure propaganda. It's part of a long series of such articles in recent years, all of which are meant to reinforce the belief that we are all one big interconnected, mixed family. Race is only a social construct, and everybody is interconnected in America. "I am he, as you are he, and you are me, and we are all together." Or something.