"Racism"

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by iBrian, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    It seems our social attitudes to issues of discrimination are confused.

    For example, "racism".

    To use that word uses language that assumes that indeed humanity is composed of separate "races".

    This makes it even difficult to discuss such issues of discrimination, without falling into the trap of using language that presumes fundamental differences exist in the first place.

    We are not a single species composed of many races - but a single race with many physical, cultural, and personal differentiations.

    To therefore change discrimination on issues such as skin colour, do we therefore need a new way of addressing this with language?
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I've always had issues with some of these words.... Indians from India are Asian, there seems to me a difference, if we are differentiating. The arab world is mostly caucasion, if we are drawing lines based on physical differences they seem so vague. Those same Arabs and Palestinians are semetic peoples, how can they be called anti-semetic?

    It is truly so confusing, of course I have the same problem with what I eat, since biologically broccolli, wheat, green peppers, soy beans, peas, are all the fruit of the plant, they are not the stem or leaves or root, but fruit.

    and then there is race consciousness....

    and then there are those that consider themsleves not predjudice, but postjudice, bigoted/biased/racist not prejudging but basing expectation on past experiences...

    to add to the confusion...from dictionary.com

    race[SIZE=-1][/SIZE]
    1. A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.
    2. A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the German race.
    3. A genealogical line; a lineage.
    4. Humans considered as a group.
    5. Biology.
      1. An interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms differing from other populations of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits. A race that has been given formal taxonomic recognition is known as a subspecies.
      2. A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.
    6. A distinguishing or characteristic quality, such as the flavor of a wine.
    [French, from Old French, from Old Italian razza, race, lineage.]
    Usage Note: The notion of race is nearly as problematic from a scientific point of view as it is from a social one. European physical anthropologists of the 17th and 18th centuries proposed various systems of racial classifications based on such observable characteristics as skin color, hair type, body proportions, and skull measurements, essentially codifying the perceived differences among broad geographic populations of humans. The traditional terms for these populations[​IMG]Caucasoid (or Caucasian), Mongoloid, Negroid, and in some systems Australoid[​IMG]are now controversial in both technical and nontechnical usage, and in some cases they may well be considered offensive. (Caucasian does retain a certain currency in American English, but it is used almost exclusively to mean “white” or “European” rather than “belonging to the Caucasian race,” a group that includes a variety of peoples generally categorized as nonwhite.) The biological aspect of race is described today not in observable physical features but rather in such genetic characteristics as blood groups and metabolic processes, and the groupings indicated by these factors seldom coincide very neatly with those put forward by earlier physical anthropologists. Citing this and other points[​IMG]such as the fact that a person who is considered black in one society might be nonblack in another[​IMG]many cultural anthropologists now consider race to be more a social or mental construct than an objective biological fact.

    ..................




     
  3. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Yep. I don't know of any cultural or biological anthropologists who consider "races" to be real. We are one species, plain and simple, and there are no distinct biological "races". I could go into a huge list of reasons why it doesn't work on the biological level, if people are curious.

    "Race" has come to refer to groups that are defined by arbitrary characteristics by a society, generally to somehow disadvantage or advantage them in some way. Furthermore, what constitutes a "race" differs in various cultures.

    Biological race doesn't exist. Unfortunately, our mental constructs of race still do and negatively impact many people.
     
  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, path_of_one!

    I would be very interested to hear, if it would not side track the discussion. I am still looking into this as I come across it. So far, from what I have found, it seems the three oldest recognized lineages are the Bushmen of Africa, the Lapplanders of the North, and the Ainu of the East. Genetically speaking. Is this correct?
     
  5. Bandit

    Bandit Well-Known Member

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    i do not like racism of any form. the 2000 year scripture teaches that we are all of one blood. there is some science right from the bible, long before science ever figured it out.

    it also teaches there is neither jew nor greek in the spirit. there is some politics from the bible that speaks truth as well.

    i do not like racism, but it is abundant today in gangs & in all walks of life. sadly, i do not expect it to ever go away. i would like to know why the young people today are listening to music that promotes racism, hate, rape & murder & why that exists as acceptable with pleasure.
     
  6. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Racism, is a term invented to be superimposed on the true issue, "bigotry". Bigotry is a term that goes and in hand with "prejudice", which means to pre-judge, but can also be used to describe the feelings of one group or individual over another in post-judgement. But all said and done, it is a term used to describe negative feelings for another, or another's ways, or looks, or even attitude. But mostly it is used to describe negative feelings for another in general, hence there is no real value added to the feelings.

    When negative feelings are for another individual or group in particular (as in focused), then it is personal, hence by the very focus, value is given to that group or individual (what irony, to give value directly to that which one does not like). ;)

    my thoughts

    v/r

    Q
     
  7. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    It seems like the idea of "race" has been attached to territorialism, which might be the source of all the negativity associated with it.
     
  8. Bandit

    Bandit Well-Known Member

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    yah. i have noticed that too...like power & control over others if we own this.
    but it is everywhere & in everything dont you think?
    people have just learned how to hide it a lot better.
     
  9. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Hence, the rise of the fine art of "political correctness."
     
  10. Bandit

    Bandit Well-Known Member

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    :D
    the PC people, ugh. like communism all over again. (did i get that right?)

    red & yellow black & white, they are precious in His sight.
    short, tall, fat, skinny, bald, freckles, stinky feet, big feet, curly hair, big lips, tiny lips, big hips, tiny hips, educated, uneducated, rich, poor, midgets, giants, that is a lot of racism
     
  11. soulatom

    soulatom Member

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    Uhh....I thought this was an interesting take on the language aspect....

    Written by Binyavanga Wainaina


    Simple rules in writing about the dark Zulu
    Always use the word “dark” or “safari” in your title. Subtitles may include the words “Zanzibar,” “Masai,” “Zulu,” “Zambezi,” “Congo,” “Nile,” “big,” “sky,” “shadow,” “drum,” “sun” or “bygone.” Also useful are words such as “guerrillas,” “timeless,” “primordial” and “tribal.”
    Never show a healthy, happy African on the cover of your book unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts— use these. In your text, treat
    Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and non-specific.
    Make sure you show how Africans have music and rhythm deep in their souls, and eat things no other humans eat. Do not mention rice and beef and wheat; monkey brain is Africans’ cuisine of choice, along with goat, snake, worms and grubs. Make sure readers know you are able to eat such food without flinching, and describe how you learn to enjoy it—because you care.
    Taboo subjects: ordinary domestic scenes, love between Africans (unless a death is involved), references to African writers or intellectuals, mention of school-going children who are not suffering with yaws or Ebola fever or female genital mutilation.
    Your African characters may include naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners and seers, ancient wise men living in hermitic splendour. Or corrupt politicians, inept polygamous travel guides, and prostitutes you have slept with. The Ancient Wise Man always comes from a noble tribe. He has rheumy eyes and is close to the Earth. The Modern African is a fat man who steals and works in the visa office, refusing to give work permits to qualified Westerners who really care about
    Africa.
    Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment. Moans are good. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering. Your hero is you (if you’re writing journalism), or a beautiful, tragic international celebrity/aristocrat who now cares for animals (if you’re writing fiction).
    Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances. Have them illuminate something about
    Europe or America in Africa. African characters should be colourful, exotic, larger than life—but empty inside, with no dialogue, no conflicts or resolutions in their stories, no depth or quirks to confuse the cause.
    Describe, in detail, naked breasts (young, old, conservative, recently raped, big, small) or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals. Or any kind of genitals. And dead bodies. Or, better, naked dead bodies. And especially rotting naked dead bodies. Remember, any work you submit in which people look filthy and miserable will be referred to as “the real
    Africa,” and you want that on your dust jacket. Do not feel queasy about this: You are trying to help them to get aid from the West.
    Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.

    Binyavanga Wainaina is a Kenyan playwright, fiction writer and founder of the well-received African literary magazine Kwani?.
     
  12. truthseeker

    truthseeker Well-Known Member

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    Racism. The fruit of those who wish to be gods.

    In light of what I hope Path will expound upon, I took a few anthro classes two years ago and I learned that humankind are not different with the exception of adaptation to geographical locations. Say, the people of the Southern hemisphere and those who live on the equator are more subject to consistency of the sun, so the skin would be darker to protect from the rays.
     
  13. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

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    I think that a lot of things are attributred to ethnicity that actually come from other aspects of life-experience.

    The most important differences between my husband and myself have nothing to do with the relative amounts of melanin in our skins; rather, they come from family-of-origin characteristics. He comes from a military family. I come from a farming/ministerial family.

    He grew up all around the country. I grew up in Southern California.

    His family was politically and socially conservative. Mine was a bunch of rabble-rousing, protest-marching, union-picket-line marching socialists.

    His family has been here in the U.S. for a looong time. I'm second-generation American.

    In his family, the kids called their parents "ma'am" and "sir", and NEVER disagreed with them about politics or social issues. In my family, we called our parents "Mommy" and "Daddy" and we were *encouraged* to argue our disparate views, so long as we backed them up and didn't use profanity.

    Compared to these differences, his skin being several shades darker than mine is pretty inconsequential.

    And yet there are folks who would assign some of these characteristics to "racial" differences. Not all, certainly...likely only those that put one or the other of us in a bad light.
     
  14. Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine Junior Moderator, Intro Moderator

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    Last week I saw a movie (again) that deals with this particular subject: Race. It was for my Ethnicity and Processes in Contemporary Russia.

    The movie dealt with "race" in the US, including questions of "who is 'white'?" and "who is 'black'?" Two cases that came up before the Supreme Court were presented: the first was a Japanese man who wanted to become an American citizen and the second was an Indian (from India) who also wanted to become a citizen. Neither won their case.

    It was an interesting movie in many ways: I highly recommend seeing it since it deals with the social/economic/political/ethical repercussions of what is often referred to as "racism".

    Another thing (also dealing with this very topic), did you know that there are/were laws that determined whether one was "white" or "non-white"? And that one could cross a state line and have a totally different race?

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
     
  15. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

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    Whups. THIRD generation; I keep mixing that up. My Grandparents were immigrants.
     
  16. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    LOL It's against the law to hunt camels in Arizona as well...;)

    v/r

    Q
     
  17. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Yes, interestingly enough some groups that are now "white" were not "white" in American history- notably the Irish and Italians.

    Every 10 years we have the census and the US changes what races it thinks officially exists.

    I promise I will get to this very soon (the giant long list of biological anthro stuff on race); I'm just currently swamped as it is finals week and I have 65 essays and hand-written final exams on all the Asian religions. :eek: Plus the cultural anthro class I'm teaching. But I have not forgotten this post! I just need the time to dig out all my notes and compile them into a relatively organized fashion.

    Suffice it to say for now that the very concept of race, how it is defined, and the different "races" change based on your culture. Some cultures do not think human races are defined by skin color, for example, but think it is about body hair, or height, or socioeconomic status. Some cultures have a much more fluid concept of race and you can change races in your lifetime based on education, getting a tan, etc.

    In our (US) culture, people like to think we can separate people into races. But this breaks down in practice. What is an aborigine from Australia? White because he's Australian? "Native" or somesuch? Black due to his skin color? And what would it mean for him to be "black"? Do we presume he then has a something in common with recent "black" immigrants from Uganda and "black" African-Americans who have been in this country for 200 years? You have all the folks with no racial category whatsoever, that are just lumped with one group or another arbitrarily- people from the Middle East, India Indians, native peoples from Russia/Siberia (who are technically Russian and so "white", but look "Asian"), etc. etc. It's a mess. And that doesn't even begin to get into the real biology of it.

    Bottom line... we're all Africans if we trace our roots far back enough. :)
     
  18. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    The Irish aren't white...they're "ruddy". The Italians aren't white...they're "mediterranean". This isn't race, it is merely physically efficiently adapting to the environs in which they lived. The Caucasians aren't even white (LOL), they are "peach" in complexion. In short term adaptability our pigments rapidly adjusts to "sudden" changes to our environement, so why not more or less permanent changes over generations to a specific environment?

    When for example I found myself three years in the South Pacific Islands, I came back to the lower 48 distincly tanned a red brown color. My wife, however, with her native American heritage came back a deep brown visage. Our young sons, on the other hand, were golden looking in their skin's hue.

    Our hair changed as well. Mine was light ash, my wife's was auburn, and one son went straw blond, while the other's turned strawberry blond.

    One other thing I noticed, the texture of our skin had changed. It felt, thicker, tougher, smoother. The hair on my extremeties seemed to thin out and be finer in texture.

    just things to consider.

    v/r

    Q
     
  19. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Oh, yes- definitely, Q. Basically, skin color is based on the amount and type of melanin produced in the skin. Melanin is nature's sunblock and protects you from nasty problems like melanoma. More importantly, melanin protects pregnant women from too much UV radiation, which breaks down folate, a very important nutrient for healthy babies. Around the equator where UV rays are the fiercest, there is natural selection (or was before the days of sunblock) for dark skin, thus protecting pregnant women from folate deficiencies and ensuring healthy babies. If you were born light skinned on the equator in the days before sunblock, chances are your kids would not survive and so your genes would not be passed on in the population long term.

    As people radiated out of Africa and into the northern areas of the Old World (Europe and Asia), they faced dramatically reduced sunlight due to cloud cover, staying indoors because of cold, and periods of the year that had very little daylight due to the earth's tilt on its axis. Thus the natural selection shifted toward lighter skin. Why? Well, turns out we need some UVB rays for production of Vitamin D. Without Vitamin D, we get rickets, which leads to bone deformities. Women with deformed pelvises didn't do well in childbirth in the days before C-sections, and not surprisingly were not successful at passing on their genes. So natural selective pressures in the Northern latitudes favored lighter-skinned people.

    This change in allele frequencies based on geography is called a cline. Clinal variation in a population means that there are no distinct population boundaries- no distinct "races" based on skin color- but rather a gradual shift from very dark skin along the equator to yellow/tan skin in the belts just above and below the equator (and quite far to the South, due to the earth's tilt on its axis) to pale/ruddy skin in the far North.

    New World (Americas) indigenous populations have less variation in skin color because they all came from the same basic area- East Asia/Siberia- during the Ice Age. They walked over on the land bridge between Alaska and Russia when the ocean levels were lower. They had a much more limited genetic diversity than the rest of the Old World as they did not encompass equal numbers of people from all Old World populations. So, you basically have a much shorter time period for people in the Americas to adapt to variation in sunlight. Yet you still see a similar trend in skin color, only more subtle due to the more recent biological history in the environments and the more limited genetic diversity. Still, lighter skinned people are typically found in Canada and the upper US, and darker skinned along the equator and in the South.

    That pretty much sums up why skin color is distributed how it is.

    I think it's a pretty nifty mechanism God came up with so we didn't all die in new environments. It's a shame we take something so biologically beneficial to the human species and make it a basis for prejudice, discrimination, and hate.
     
  20. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

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    :applause:
     

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