Is Racism about appearance?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by ElectricFetus, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. BennyF Registered Senior Member

    [Originally Posted by Fraggle Rocker
    Chinese, Japanese and Korean people have told me that they can tell each other apart just by facial appearance, about 90% of the time.]
    There doesn't have to BE any "scientific basis" for it. The long history of those three countries has included many wars, so people from all three countries have a reason for wanting to favor people from their own country and to hate almost anyone from the other two countries.

    This national hatred is so fierce among some individuals that that they've even lumped everyone from the other two countries into a separate "race", whose sole purpose is to make it easier to hate them as inferior beings. This is bigotry, which as I've said many times, is impossible without the underlying myth of two or more "races" with which to separate people from one another.

    If you can't separate people into different races, which I cannot do, then you can't hate others because of a difference in the race.

    It's really that simple. Race is a myth and because of that, I can never be a bigot.
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
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  3. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    You are so full of guano.

    Bigotry does not require a concept of race. I very much doubt the antipathy between Britons and Irish is based on race at all.

    I clepen thee liar.
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  5. EmptySky Banned Banned

    So you don't think blacks exist?

    I'd call that pretty racist.

    Note: The claim that race doesn't exist means nothing in the face of scientific evidence, which clearly shows that different races must always exist as this is part of the mechanism of evolution itself, older phenotypes dying off and the world being populated by more evolved (more intelligent) ones.

    For example, some white liberals have misplaced sympathies with certain primitive tribes that believe in a geocentric cosmos and as a result may reject heliocentrism and/or claim the arrogance of Western science, attempting to dilute its discoveries via pseudo-scientific theories - this has happened more times than I care to mention, see Jared Diamond et al - but that obviously doesn't change physical reality and in the end this is part of a cultural dynamic following a physical, evolutionary one, eventually these tribes vanishing from the world just like the dinosaurs and taking their cultures with them or being subsumed into a larger, more advanced phenotypes.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2010
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The term "race" is used loosely by biologists to mean a variety or subspecies, which more-or-less agrees with your definition. But it is not used in this sense when applied to humans, for the very good reason that there are no contemporary subspecies or varieties of H. sapiens.

    It's a little difficult to sort out the DNA now, since several millennia of increasingly intensive Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Industrial Era transportation technologies have greatly increased cross-breeding among those populations. But I don't think even in the late Paleolithic, after our species migrated to all of the Eastern Hemisphere and separated into the old "Caucasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid" populations, that those populations were genetically different enough to qualify as subspecies.

    In any case, today anthropologists (but NOT biologists) use "race" (when they use the word at all) to mean "a human population partially isolated reproductively from other populations, whose members share a greater degree of physical and genetic similarity with one another than with other humans." []

    This is hardly the scenario you're postulating, with phenotypes arising and dying off. The last major die-off of H. sapiens occurred more than 70KYA, when the entire population still lived in Africa, leaving around 10,000 adults to rescue us from extinction. [Hall of Human Origins exhibit in the National Museum of Natural History.]
  8. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    Benny, you can't tie a wolf to a tree. Try it sometime...

    Furthermore, the concept of "race" as an anchor for bigotry is ages old, perhaps even hardwired through the genetic bottlenecks of Adam and Eve (not the biblical reference). Whatever idiosyncrasies they were possessed of seem to be passed down to us - including the innate distrust of others. What better way to determine "otherness" besides appearance?

    So Benny, how do you categorically dismiss that your ideas came from the test tube of time? Maybe you are an anomaly, but many of your surface brethren seem to believe differently - they might actually look a little deeper... have some insights with some depth...

    After all we are living in today's age, and have to deal with today's problems...

    Race is a construct made of several variables - sometimes the least of which is appearance. Basically, the human race hates "otherness" - if you create "otherness", through dress, skin color, piercings, culture, whatever. This gives "us" an excuse to discriminate and label the villagers in question as "other" - hence, kill, rape and pillage. Convenient, eh?

    Also, bullshit. And people like Benji wishing such away will not work. We need a substantial paradigm shift. Not that it is going to happen, but the arrival of an extraterrestrial species might eliminate such crap. Of course, it will just transfer the inherent intolerance towards others of our own race to those of another race.

    Like it or not, hatred / distrust of "others" is hardwired - to believe otherwise is to be foolish.

    The hope remains that we can break these chains....
  9. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    From an anthropological point of view, there is only one race of modern Homo Sapiens.

    The true bigot considers a person black or Asian if he knows that person has one ancestor who is black or Asian. His mind set is like that of a person in a novel from many years ago (Kingsblood Royal, I think). In that novel a person who is considered white by all who know him, does some genealogical research & discovers that he had a Black ancestor who was part American Indian. While not actually a racist, the discovery makes him reconsider some of his attitudes toward those in his circle of friends who are true racists. There is a person in the novel who says something like the following.
    To the true racist, there is a concept of racial purity.

    For those less rabid in their views, it is appearance more than ancestry. I remember a time when racism was generally not put down as unacceptable behavior. In that era, light skinned black celebrities (like Lena Horn) were more readily accepted in social situations than darker blacks like Joe Louis.

    BTW: I was raised in a Quaker (Society of Friends) family & had at worst very mild racist views.

    I think there is an evolutionary genetic component to racist attitudes. I do not think it is more than a mild tendency toward racist attitudes. It certainly can be overridden by a person’s early environment & experiences. We are biased in favor of those who seem like our family.

    Our intelligence allows us to overcome far stronger instinctual behaviors. For example: Most animals will perish in a fire when they could save themselves by running though fire to escape a burning building. A human knows he is doomed if he stays put and merely stays as far from the fire as possible. An intelligent modern person can easily override his mild instinctual racist tendencies. However, it is important to know that there is a slight racist attitude lurking in your mind scape. You cannot deal with a problem which you do not acknowledge.

    In prehistoric times, humans has tribal/clannish cultures. They favored their tribe & viewed others as possible threats.

    A lone individual or a small group from another tribe would not be viewed as a threat & might be accepted or at least not attacked. A large group who appeared to be similar in appearance might be accepted with some trepidation. A large group different in appearance might not be attacked, but would not be accepted in a friendly fashion & likely avoided. Such behaviors are quite reasonable & evolutionarily sound in a primitive culture without a formal government. Do not risk harm by attacking, but be very wary of those who seem to be different.

    Note the experiences of black Americans during & after WW2. One or two blacks in a Swedish community were viewed as different or as a novelty, but pretty much accepted. I remember several black servicemen who married Swedish women, with mild or no objections from the Swedish community. Individuals or a small group of different people did not trigger the instinct to be wary of strangers.
    Racist attitudes are more likely to exist in a culture with at least a 5-10 percent minority of those who are different. A large group which is different is instinctively viewed as competitors. This is an instinct likely to exist even if it is not taught by parents or peers.

    It is the vicious racist behavior which is either taught or triggered by some early experiences with some one who is different.
  10. DNA100 Registered Senior Member

    This is what science tells(I think Fraggle Rocker brought this up)-

    All humans come from a small group just 50-60 thousand years back.
    Then we all got separated.
    Then,after we became civilized ,we started mixing up again.

    So where is the race?

    (Oh by the way ,it seems that everyone apart from the sub-Saharan Africans stole a tiny little bit of neanderthal genes on the way back.Surely that's not enough to be a separate race.)
  11. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    It's already been made clear that there are no genetic rules involved in the construction of races. They are a sociological phenomenon, not a genetic one, so the lack of a genetic basis is no hindrance at all. Which should have been obvious: race predates genetics by a considerable epoch, and its continued salience has been totally unaffected by modern advances in the understanding of genetics.
  12. Cowboy My Aim Is True Valued Senior Member

    I've never been an advocate of the "one drop" rule, so that generalization doesn't apply to me.
  13. birch Valued Senior Member

    one drop rule doesn't always apply to supremacists. it applies to separatists moreso. when supremacists use it, the one drop rule or mixing is used to express a bias toward one race. often the one race is used as a springboard whereby everyone else is defined by and the other is mitigated as unimportant or as if it doesn't exist. for instance, that it's because of that one race, though mixed, is why they are attractive, smart, better etc. this is erroneous because the person would not look the way they do without all those elements. they also fail to notice nuance of other cultures or appreciate aspects that differ but are just as interesting in thier own right. supremacists take credit for everything, even things that have nothing to do with them. separatists do not want to take credit for everything, they just want thier race less or not mixed at all.

    supremacists don't mind mixing with other races as long as the thier cultural and political ideology is forced on others or is used to subjugate others.

    they are similarities between both but supremacists are not happy without someone to compare themselves to as they thrive on it. this means they want all other races mixed with thier race but also keep a portion of thier race stock 'pure' so to speak to remain in power. supremacists are the worst scum of the bunch.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  14. IamJoseph Banned Banned

    IMHO, racism is primarilly about religiously inculcated doctrines, most evidenced where a religion assumes itself transcendent of another religion. This makes one religion fostering villifications and absurd charges on the other to justify itself.

    The racism from culture and physical differences are basically a fear of the different, but it is easily correctable - while the theological racism is not correctable. Usually, the racist religion has an underlying premise of genocide if they can, fostering this by covert means, this goal only being supressed due to their ability to do so.

    I see a future humanity as deeming all scriptural villifications as illegal and a crime against humanity. This future is still far away - but inevitible. Humanity has to 'SEPERATE THE DARKNESS FROM THE LIGHT' - by fixing their own first when their religion tests them.
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    If interested in reading about US's Tuskegee and Guatemalan study subjects abuse (mainly based on race concepts of the time) see:

    The main difference is that the Public Health Service intentionally infected the subjects with various STD in Guatemalan, sometime by providing then with prostitutes having the STD but when the disease was contracted they treated it with penicillin as study was to learn the effectiveness of penicillin.

    The Public Health Service never infected the Tuskegee subjects with syphilis, although it is commonly believed that they did. That was not necessary as syphilis was quite common, especially in the poor blacks their study only included. Instead they carefully followed the subject for decades and were very successful in seeing that they did never received penicillin as the purpose of that study was to learn the natural course of untreated syphilis. The PHS even went so far as to get draft boards calling up one of their subject to not treat the draftee when they tested (as all were) positive for syphilis. (Testing for STDs and other problems was a routine part of the induction process.)

    Neither group of subject was ever told of the nature of the experiments or gave anything that could be called "informed consent" by any stretch of the imagination. However, the 399 Tuskegee blacks were told that they had "poor blood" and needed to be followed for the rest of their lives. Many of their wives got syphilis from the study's subjects (and god only knows how many "girlfriends" too) and quite a few of their children were born with it.

    Two quotes from the above link:

    "...Tuskegee study subjects continued to be excluded when the Public Health Service began giving other patients penicillin to treat syphilis in 1943. The agency set up Rapid Treatment Centers to treat the disease in 1947, helping to lower the overall syphilis rate; {but} study subjects were still not treated, according to the CDC. ..."

    "... The Guatemala syphilis research involved 696 subjects who came from the Guatemala National Penitentiary, army barracks and the National Mental Health Hospital, according to Reverby's research. These subjects did not give direct permission to participate. Instead, the authorities signed them up. There were also 772 patients exposed to gonorrhea and 142 subjects exposed to chancres, according to a CDC report. ..."

    Read the link, especially if you think official American government can do no wrong in race relations decades after the civil war freed the slaves.
  16. quantumdarkness19 Registered Member

    First of all, "race" is not an anthropological classification. From an anthropological point of view, what we are calling "race" more closely resembles the definition for "species". Think about it. Racecan be defined as "an arbitrary classification of modern humans based on any or a combination of physical characteristics, as skin color, facial form, or eye shape, and now, frequently based on such markers as genetic as blood groups". The definition for a species is "the major division of a genus or a subgenus, regarded as the basic category of biological classification, composed of related individuals that resemble one another, are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species". If we are all Homo sapiens, then it would be more accurate to say that each "race" is a subspecies.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I don't know where you got that reference, but it's wrong. It's quite common, and perhaps even the norm, for species within the same genus to be able to hybridize. Pet breeders have been doing it for generations. Hybrid macaws, Amazons and cockatoos are common. Domestic cats have been crossbred with ocelots, domestic cattle have been crossbred with bison. And of course the mule, a horse-donkey hybrid, has been well-known for more than a century, and zebras have been hybridized with several other species of equids for longer than that.

    Many related species can't mate because their mating rituals aren't compatible, but that doesn't stop us from doing it with artificial insemination, such as lion-tiger hybrids.

    It happens in natural environments as well. Wolves have been mating with coyotes since we thinned their numbers to the point that they can't always find a mate of their own species. The black-headed grosbeak and the rose-breasted grosbeak, both brash, curious little birds, have been happily interbreeding since we destroyed the natural barrier between their habitats, the Great Forest which is now known as the Farm Belt.

    When I was a kid, the definition of a genus was "a group of species that can interbreed with each other." That seems to no longer be true, since, at least in captive breeding, the genus boundary has been broken at least twice, with macaws and cats.
  18. quantumdarkness19 Registered Member

    Understood and the point is well taken. But that doesn't change the fact that the term "race" doesn't accurately describe human beings using binomial nomenclature. If we are going to talk about things in biological and anthropological terms, then let's be accurate about our descriptions....that's all I was saying. Like I said, if we are all Homo sapiens, then it would be more accurate to say that each "race" is a subspecies.
  19. kriminal99 Registered Senior Member

    well the whole idea about racism is that it is a type of prejudice using race ie someone is using membership in some group to imply that the person has traits typically attributed to members of that group (either accurately or inaccurately).

    A major point of this is not having the time or opportunity to evaluate the person's traits directly, so the most obvious and easily available information about the person is used instead along with their correlations to the traits in question.

    Racism is only using the category of race to prejudice, but appearance is used in the same prejudicial way as a correlate to race.

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