Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    Sep 8, 2004
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    Well there was no Caucasian category.

    Admittedly, from memory, I think there was indeed some debate over whether White worked as a catch all term, but I think the decision was done on the basis of them not knowing how to distinguish the two, and virtually just tossing a coin which word to use.
  2. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    Sure, but why would an Indian consider themselves white in the first place? That confuses me.
    Caucasian is a bad term because it is "politically correct" yet is used by people all over the world when it really references only a few thousand in the Caucasus mountains.
  3. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2012
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    Oh I don't know racial profilers seem not to have much trouble making a distinction. I mean race is something that quite frankly has no biological basis in the first place so of course its a flawed system.
    Last edited by Skaddix, Nov 18, 2012
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  4. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    Well there was an Asian category, with subcategories like Indian, Pakistani, etc, so someone actually from those countries would probably pick those. The question at the time was about what those living or born in the UK identified themselves as i.e whether they still felt Indian or a British Asian or whatever.
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Nov 18, 2012
  5. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    Suffice to say its a really bad term that has quite the racist history behind it.
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  6. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    If I wasn't on my iPad I'd try and find the results...

    If I recall right, I think ethnicity was one of the questions you didn't have to answer, so it'd actually be rather telling how many didn't answer. I suspect it was small though, due to how attitudes at the time seemed to be toward wanting more options like the Arab boxes, rather than people wanting to get rid of ethnic categorisation.

    Edit: And now checking on my laptop, I see the results aren't even out until next year, so there goes looking it up. :p
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Nov 18, 2012
  7. Likewater Force Ghost

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    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Has to do with the social ladder.

    Ethiopia was once asked to say they werent black as some sort of unsubtle offer to be higher on the global social ladder, the King declined.
  8. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    I am sure Italy getting whooped down there had something to do with it.
  9. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

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    Folks in this thread keep conflating ethnicity with skin color.

    One is culturally derived, the other isn't.
  10. Likewater Force Ghost

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    Ethiopia is a self determined multethnic state then kingdom, their choice was to aline with their neigborhood. This, is a christian since antiquity civilization that has bucked heads with its islamic since before there was a islam.

    But Skin color is a mark to denote ethnicity, especially in the United States world view.
  11. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    White, as used by the U.S. government and other official institutions that keep track of demographics (such as universities), is generally used in an ethnic sense and *not* in the sense of skin color. Usually, there's a parenthetical definition that goes along with it that amounts to "any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East." White occasionally includes a "non-Hispanic" qualifier. South Asian Indians were formerly included in that group, but are now either a separate category (South Asians) or are included among Asians (with a similar definition often accompanying it).

    You'll note that these are socially constructed definitions, used for official purposes on the basis of assumed similarities on the basis of culture and background, not skin color. The only reason that the word "white" is used (instead of something else like Indo-European) is to avoid giving offense -- and it's not entirely successful at that.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Nov 18, 2012
  12. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

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    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    United States world view =/= science

    Skin color = product of genes/environment's influence on genes
    Ethnicity = culturally derived and only very loosely associated with skin color

    Not to mention Earth ethnicities =/= Star Wars ethnicities, unless you're referring to the actors
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  13. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2012
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    Skin Color is the primary determinant of Race in America. Not the only one though since Asians are not counted as White.

    Ethnicity really has nothing to do with Race.
  14. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Except that it's not. Who are you speaking for when you say that it's the primary determinant of race?

    You are not America. Your experiences are not America.

    Race is only valuable insofar as it's linked to ethnicity -- we judge the impact that racial policies have on groups of people.

    Now, you're right insofar as people will judge others on the basis of their skin color, and that this affects how certain ethnic groups are treated, but that's a different matter. That's the whole reason why I said grouping someone on the basis of skin color was an exercise in bigotry -- because it's not necessarily accurate.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Nov 18, 2012
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  15. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    Just for reference, the official US census information on race can be found here.
  16. Likewater Force Ghost

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    True enough, but the US world view is based on the eurocentric western world view that was established between the 1700 to the mid 1900's. And shaped the social and geopolitical fabrics of all involved.

    Its kind of the reasoning why two opposite sex white/caucasian leads in a movie, that movie would be classifed by genre. while two black or asian leads in a movie despite its genre would be lables as a Black or Asian movie. Star Wars is sepreate from the real world yes, but the real world is also reflected in star wars, as the real world has shaped its authors and its audiance.
    Last edited by Likewater, Nov 18, 2012
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  17. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    I am really not sure what you are arguing. I think you just like to disagree with everything I say.

    Race is a social construct in the first place, it has no biological basis. Skin Color is primarily a function of geography. Are you really going to argue that skin color is not the main basis of race in America? I mean seriously Race works based on appearance first and on name second (especially the last name). What is your counter argument? I am not saying the system is right, I am saying that is how it works. Race has no value as a system except to discriminate. Ethnicity on the other hand is wholly different matter.

    I agree its bigotry but when have bigots ever been worried about accuracy? I mean seriously how many cases do you hear of Sihks getting attacked because bigots thought they were muslims? Note attacking muslims is just as wrong.
    Last edited by Skaddix, Nov 18, 2012
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  18. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2003
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    But does any of this need to be set in stone? Eurocentric views have always been in flux and continue to change. Globalization has been a two-way street.

    You and I are essentially on the same side of this argument, but my point is Star Wars doesn't need to (and shouldn't) confine itself to these earth-based stereotypes.
    Last edited by Barriss_Coffee, Nov 18, 2012
  19. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    It doesn't have to but it most likely will simple because it does not happen in a bubble and will be written, produced, directed, watched etc by people with real world biases.
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  20. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I. My original point that Arabs are white -- see U.S. Census categorizations linked above.

    II. My next point is that race, to the extent that the authorities keep track of it, is primarily used as a cipher for ethnicity. We measure race in demographic studies because it's a way we can easily categorize discrete groups with different cultural experiences and expectations. The criteria has to do with the origin of population groups -- it's a melding of biological origin and sociocultural origin.

    III. To the extent that people (the "we" in your post) determine race on the basis of skin color, they're doin' in wrong. It's not accurate, and is the product of biases and stereotypes.

    III.a. Skin color is the product of geography + genetics, over time. It has a biological basis. But skin color != race, as asserted above.

    IV. We can have a separate argument about whether or not race is even a useful concept at all.

    V. We're getting awfully far from the original point, see I.
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  21. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2012
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    I. Well I think this is the difference. You are talking about it from the demographic prescriptive. I am saying the government can suck it. How they want to classify people does not really apply on a day to day basis. Arabs don't get to reap the rewards of White Privilege in America. And if you polled Americans there is no way you find most "white" (ie European Ancestry) count Arabs as white just like them.

    II. Tentative at best. Where talking about connecting cultures separated by vast differences in geography. I mean really Eskimos and Cherokee both get counted as Native Americans.

    III. Okay Sorry about wording because I agree with this.

    IV. Besides being useful for discrimination It has none in my Book. Unless you want use it for vague classification then you might as well split the world in regions and replace white with European.

    V. True so lets table this.
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  22. Likewater Force Ghost

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    Dec 31, 2009
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    Correct, but impractical. While Star Wars shouldnt be confined by earth based stereotypes it will be regardless, because earth based racial, ethnic, nationalitic, social interactions influence are reality and reality will always be reflected in fiction. Intentional or not, and thus certain real world issues of repesenation, philisophical, behavioral, biological, and cultural will always have to be adressed.
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  23. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Tables are great. I miss the days when they were considered good for use on websites.
    Last edited by TrakNar, Nov 18, 2012
  24. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Sure, I agree with you entirely about the unofficial view of race (privilege etc) -- so yes, we can end the back and forth here.

    edit: Though regarding the other discussion, I think that writers with a bit of imagination ought to be able to get beyond their real world biases. See my earlier post on the subject.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Nov 18, 2012
  25. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

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    Jun 29, 2003
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    *sigh* we must agree to disagree then. Because I personally don't see any reason for writers/artists/etc of science fiction or fantasy to tie themselves down to earth stereotypes.
    Last edited by Barriss_Coffee, Nov 18, 2012
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