Race is an Illusion

Discussion in 'Race Relations/Racism' started by Madeline, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. Madeline
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    Scientists have been in agreement for some time now that racial identity is illusory. If you had your entire geonome mapped, an ancestral analysis could determine whether a percent of your ancestors hailed from Asia or Europe or Africa, but beyond that, there is no scientific basis for the notion of racial identity..it is a social construct based on how we perceive ourselves and others, and the families of origin.

    Race has always been an odd feature of American life. The concept of a "caucasian race" did not exist prior to 1775. The term was coined by scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. His studies based the classification of the Caucasian race primarily on skull features, which Blumenbach claimed were optimized by the inhabitants of Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains.

    Interestingly, although used today in popular North American English to describe white people or people of European origin, the original description of the Caucasian race was of a people of light to brown skin pigmentation and straight to wavy or curly hair.

    The legal use of racial identity is apparent in the US Constitution, immigration laws, Jim Crow laws,etc. and can still be seen today in such things as set-asides for minority-owned businesses...and yet, there is no scientific basis for the concept, nor any reliable way to segment the population into groups. Legally, your race is whatever you perceive it to be, in good faith.

    The concept of who is white has always been especially fluid. Under the "one drop rule", anyone who had a parent or grandparent (or other ancestor) who was not viewed as white was not white themselves. There have been changes over time in the treatment of "Arabians" as whites, as well as Italians, Greeks, and other Eastern Europeans. There has never been much agreement about the whiteness or not of anyone from Spain or any Latino country with Spanish ancestors.

    Even among those viewed as white, some versions of whiteness was considered more desirable by (?) some people...blue eyes and blonde hair, or a lack of any accent, or whatever. Beginning with the Reconstruction Era, the Southern whites viewed the greatest threat to their whiteness and social supremacy as other, Northern whites...not local African-Americans.

    This generation will live to see "Hispanics" (a grouping that Latinos themselves do not feel) become a majority, overtaking "non-Hispanic whites". If the concept/self-identification of people as white disappears or changes significantly, will the role of racism itself diminish?

     
  2. Truthmatters
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    we are all Africans
     
  3. Madeline
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    LOL...ain't it the truth?
     
  4. Samson
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    Samson Póg Mo Thóin Supporting Member

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    There's plenty of evidence to support the OP, yet you don't provide any.

    Try looking at the Human Genome Project Director's findings.

    It concludes that "race" is as biologically viable for humans separating humans as is hair color for mice separating mice: it is meaningless outside the definitions society has constructed.

    Of course, mice haven't sufficiently evolved to create a society that makes hair color a significant social feature.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  5. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Maybe we could lump people together some other way like sickle cell anemia prone or something. When a number of people share a common trait are we just supposed to dumb down and pretend it ain't there.?
     
  6. Samson
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    Samson Póg Mo Thóin Supporting Member

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    Embrase your inner mouse.
     
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  7. Madeline
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    There are rules here for new members that restrict the use of URLs. Apparently, I have not satisfied them yet. But here are some books which deal with "disappearing" or "shifting" American whiteness and its implications:

    What White Looks Like: African-American Philosophers on the Whiteness Question (Paperback)
    ~ George Yancy (Editor)

    After Whiteness: Unmaking an American Majority (Cultural Front) (Paperback)
    ~ Mike Hill (Author)

    Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege (American Philosophy) (Paperback)
    ~ Shannon Sullivan (Author)

    Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Paperback)
    ~ Matthew Frye Jacobson (Author)

    I'll admit, I have not read any of these...instead, I read a Book Note in the New Yorker magazine called "The Caucasian cause" written by Kelefa Sanneh (April 12, 2010) discussing the concepts of shifting and/or disappearing shared parameters of what is whiteness, white culture, and so forth. Very thought-provoking stuff.

    For those of you who view yourselves as white: do you need that definition of yourself? Do you feel you share a culture with others you perceive as white? If so, what would happen if this concept dissolved?

    Is whiteness about anything apart from not being African, Asian, Native, Latino, etc.? And if so...what is it?
     
  8. xsited1
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    xsited1 Agent P

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    So white men can jump?
     
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  9. California Girl
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    I view myself as a human being.




    But, I could be wrong.
     
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  10. JBeukema
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    O RLY?

    SNPs are illusionary?
    O rly

    do you know what race is?

    you're thinking of culture and nationality
     

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