Senate should western views or race, apply to non westeners

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Likewater, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    I am a bit of a geography buff, and I also like reading up on other cultures (Especially the food). I was doing a bit of reading and net searching on various regions of Africa. It seems to me certain groups such as Berbers, Somali, and Tuareg disliked being classified as Black, White or Arab.

    I Ethiopians in spite of being multi ethnic/tribal seem to generally associate their identity with being black, but they seem to dislike classification. Somali don’t seem to feel they’re Black or Arab, but simply Somali, same with Berber they don’t see themselves European of European decent (No matter how distant) and defiantly do not seem to like being called Arab. And there seems to be a definite nativist feel some Berber comments of African-ness.

    It has been repeatedly stated that race is a social concept not a scientific one, but as a social concept should it apply to societies that don’t share that concept. After all what the point of needlessly antagonizing some of these ethnic groups? I am not sure how Indians, and various South East Asian peoples feel about western views on race but I doubt it’s the same. So as a concept so should it end, should race simply not apply to some societies?

    In “western” jurisdictions these people would still probably be classified as they always have been, after all as a concept it is deeply rooted in the North American, Latin-American, and European and European diaspora (I think I got all of them) culture. But should terms like North Africa, Sub Saharan Africa apply when talking about a region? Should western views on race be used to classify a people who are not “western”.
  2. AAAAAH Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    i dunno but i'll tell ya when i was very, very young i couldn't wait to be classified. and now that i have been classified, i feel like somebody.
    jp-30 and Ender_Sai like this.
  3. Cosmo Viking Jedi Youngling

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    Dec 16, 2012
    There is nothing stopping them for making their own categories.
  4. Narutakikun Force Ghost

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    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    This is nonsense. There are plenty of genetic markers that define race differences that include everything from the obvious of skin, hair, and eye color to things such as susceptibility to diseases like sickle-cell anemia and diabetes. There are even significant differences in rates of homosexuality among the races. So no, I don't buy that it's just a social/cultural concept.

    I suppose. "Latino", for example, is a pretty wide brush to paint with. Some "Latinos" are very, very Amerindian-looking, some are white as any Scotsman, and most are somewhere in between. It's likely that something more granular is needed than the way we use it, which is more or less "Anyone from someplace where they speak Spanish".

    Fun fact: Latino wasn't even on official ethnic category in the US census until the census of 1970.
    Last edited by Narutakikun, Dec 16, 2012
  5. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Just because there are some genetic correlates doesn't mean that "race" is a valid scientific concept. For instance, height is also highly genetically heritable and physical obvious as an external trait. Yet no one would argue that tall people are a separate race from short people. Likewise, living at high altitudes imparts a pretty specific physique and also has changes evident in lung function. Yet no one suggests that "mountain dwellers" are a separate race from "valley people." Races exist because we have historically assigned value to arbitrary physical attributes and used them as a tool of social organization.
    Last edited by Jabba-wocky, Dec 16, 2012
  6. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    as you yourself has noted, the definition of "latino" has shifted over time. likewise categories like white and black change in definition change over time and across borders. the irish and italians weren't considered "white" in the US, for instance, until the present time. it looked like arabs were the next group to be gradually assimilated into whiteness (we're already white on the census) by default... and then 9-11 happened.

    if you believe biological race exists then perhaps you can clarify in stark lines the proper categories of who's white, black, malay, asian, indian or w/e? i have yet to find a satisfactory biological model laid out anywhere
  7. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    I didn't quite say it shifted. I said it was always overbroad and never well-defined enough to begin with.

    Well, sorta. But really, it's more like having overbroad and not well-defined categories. In Shakepeare's time, there was no real distinction between Arabs and black people - all were seen as being "African" and were referred to as "Moors" (it wasn't an insulting term, by the way). Today, that lack of distinction would be viewed by most westerners as appallingly overbroad, but it's really no more so that "Latino".

    But again, having badly-defined categories with which to mark distinctions doesn't mean that those distinctions don't exist at all.

    Arbitrary? More like "blindingly obvious".
  8. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Again, are tall people a different race from short people?

    It's also worth mentioning that your "clear genetic correlates" don't hold up very well. You earlier mentioned sickle cell disease. That has nothing to do with being black, and everything to do with hailing from an area that has a high endemic rate of malaria. The mutation is protective against getting the disease, so people are more likely to have it in areas where it is prevalent (because in the generations before we had a treatment for it, those without the mutation were more likely to die). So, for instance, there are a fair number of Indians that also have this trait. Are they magically African too?
    Last edited by Jabba-wocky, Dec 16, 2012
  9. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    You wouldn't call distinguishing people by the melanin content of their skin and broad geographical origin as arbitrary?

    As Rogue_Ten said, "white" in the United States has historically excluded Western Europeans such as the Irish and Italians. The definition has in fact broadened as those nationalities have come to be accepted as part of mainstream "white" culture. You seriously can't see how non-biological (and ****ed up) this is?
  10. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    okay so who had it right? are arabs white or are they "african" or are they part of some "muslim" race that they tend to get socially/functionally lumped into with persians and central and south asians these days?

    are irish and italians "biologically" white? how about jews? where does the "blindingly obvious" evidence (that every respectable modern biologist, sociologist, and anthropologist seems to have missed) point on this issue?
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Dec 16, 2012
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    I'm a quarter American Indian. In the past, I have been mistaken for Italian, Hispanic, Jewish and "Arabic." Meanwhile, I'm culturally mostly just American, not American Indian. It's hardly "blindingly obvious" where I fit. But for American Indians, it's different; ours legally comes down to blood quantum. No matter how I look and no matter the culture I choose, I am, thanks to the federal government, officially Native American. Nice to get some clarity on that.
  12. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    Jul 20, 2008
    star 5
    So basically, you're Alfred Molina :p
  13. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Hillbillies aren't a race? :(
  14. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    The issue there, however, is that you're taking a process that isn't reversible and trying to reverse it. For example, Jabba-wocky pointed out that sickle-cell anemia, while at a higher rate in Africans, isn't exclusive to them. So if I present a case where someone has sickle-cell anemia, you simply can't decide "therefore this person is African". There are absolutely other options.

    To think of it visually, here's an example of a binomial distribution:
    [IMG]
    Not only can you characterize the blue and red groups as having x values of about 0 to 7 and 10 to 20, respectively, but if I give you a case where something has an x value of 4, you can also successfully state that it is in the blue group. The two populations are distinctly separate and so with that one parameter, you know which population it belongs in.

    Race simply doesn't do this. With race, you're looking at something more like this:
    [IMG]
    Here, the blue and red groups are not separated, they overlap. So while, sure, you can still say that the blue group is between around 0 and 8 and the red group is between 2 and 10, if given an individual point, you often can't classify it. An x of 1, say, could be classified as blue, and I think is the sort of case that someone who wants to argue that race is a clear and real indicator would bring up. What it doesn't address, however, how you handle an x of 5. That could clearly be EITHER the blue or red population. And if race is to have any meaning as a label, you should be able to tell which, and you can't do so.

    And it should make sense that you can't do so with great precision. Binomial distributions like in the first case generally require two independent populations, but humanity is anything but separate. We all share a common origin, and even since groups split off, there's still intermingling that goes on. As soon as you mix these two groups, you're going to get someone that is somewhere between points in each distribution, and that will fill in any gaps that there would be if populations stayed independent. As soon as you reach a point where given a case, the best you can do is say "there's a 20% chance they're x, a 70% chance they're y, and a 10% chance they're z" then your labeling system really isn't terribly useful from a pragmatic standpoint.

    And the clear evidence that that it hasn't been pargmatically useful shows in our history as race has been a very fluid concept and definitions have changed, like Rogue_Ten and Darth_Guy have both pointed out.

    Humanity is generally a fairly continuous spectrum of traits when you look at how things are distributed in the population, and so trying to take something that complex and given it a small handful of labels looks, to me, like an attempt to drive wedges between people more than anything else.
  15. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    ^ Post Of The Century.

    I'm reminded of a study on dialects in the U.K., in which a line was drawn on a map where a word would be pronounced differently. Everytime a word was researched, and found to be pronounced differently in a different location, a new line was drawn on the map. And sure enough, after mapping a few thousand words that way... black map.
  16. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    Woah, woah, woah... slow your roll. Let's stick to what I actually claimed. I never claimed that there's any such thing as a disease or condition that's exclusive to any one race. I claimed that, among the things that constitute evidence for the existence of different races, beyond the obvious, are rates of susceptibility to different diseases and conditions like the ones I listed above.

    If you'd like to tell me that race isn't as simple or clear-cut as many seem to think, well, I completely agree. But that's a very different proposition than saying that race doesn't exist at all.

    Again, if you are asserting that there are gray areas and that it's more complicated an issue than most people might take it for, we agree. But if you can look at these two men and say that there aren't some "blindingly obvious" differences between them...

    [IMG]

    ...then you're just not being realistic.

    Also, a philosophical question: If race does not exist, then how can racism exist? Obviously, racism must be a response to something. And you aren't denying that racism exists, are you?
  17. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    [IMG] [IMG]

    BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS
    V-2 likes this.
  18. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    racism exists because of colonialism jeez read a book
  19. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    It doesn't. Again, read through my post about how you're trying to create distinct boundaries in a continuum.
  20. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    i knew this thread would be trouble
  21. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Rogue, our work is never done.
  22. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    *flies off into the sunset, stoic expression on face*
  23. LostOnHoth Chosen One

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  24. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    Has anyone answered the questions?

    If not, the answer to the first part postulated in the thread title is... No, western views shouldn't apply to non-westerners.

    For the second question, as to whether race should apply to non-westeners, I say sure.
    Last edited by jp-30, Dec 17, 2012
  25. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Well for my seconds question I was thinking, Should self identification (How certain cultures self identify) take president.

    for example it seems, in some of my reaserch (reading articles, and the "What is Black in America" program on CNN, some North Africans I do not know the numbers be refered to as white when the do not associate themselves as white, and they are not seen as white by people of European decent who first identied themslves as white.

    In Sudan, many muslim Sudanese associate themslves as Arabs. They did not just convert to Islam they culturally adopted much or Arabian culture centuries ago, possibly over a millenium ago. And to take form an American saying "they are as black as the ace of spades" according to American definitions.

    [IMG] [IMG]

    Should they be allowed to self identify?


    If all you share is a skin color, and race is sociological does that make you that race. or should culture take precident?

    Of cource then there is the subject of Latin America and the inverse of the "one drop rule", I count Latin America as western. Personaly I suspect their(Latin Americas) cultural views especially that on race is the reason behind the Latin American immigration freak out the USA has been having.