Racial Classification

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 19, 2009 9:45 PM GMT
    So I've met a couple of people over the last several months that hate and I mean HATE being classified as white. I asked them what else they would like to be called. Caucasian? Anglo Saxon? Honky? Their actual heritage be it German, German/Irish, or whatever? I can see where they are coming from but I think it's a little, I don't know, extreme? I get aggravated enough scrolling to select country, city, and year born in search engines or profile creation let alone trying to find my exact ethnic background.

    What does everyone else think?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 19, 2009 9:54 PM GMT
    I don't even consider people from Spain, Italy, or Greek to be "white" yet they are European. But I think "white" is a good term for those European mutts whose family liniage lived in the US for centuries and completely forgot which countries their ancestors came from.

    On another note, someone told me the other day "the white race is dying." I laughed out loud and said "GOOD! I can't wait until Latinos take over the US. I'll be that old pervert with a million houseboys and they're all going to be dark."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 19, 2009 10:13 PM GMT
    I suppose I could technically claim to be mixed race since I do have olive complexion that I probably got from my biological father (Haplogroup G, present among many ethnic groups in Eurasia, usually at low frequency; most common in the Caucasus, the Iranian plateau, and Anatolia; in Europe mainly in Sardinia, northern Italy, northern Spain, the Tyrol, as well as Bohemia, Moravia; Britain and Norway at only 2%), but I'm perfectly content to classify myself as white. I'm curious as to why these people HATE being classified as white.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 19, 2009 10:38 PM GMT
    I find it more instructive to say I'm upper-middle class educated non-religious Hyphenated-American with a West Coast cultural sensibility. I'm racially/ethnically Welsh, German, and Japanese, but culturally none of them. I think that who we are culturally is much more pertinent than who we are racially/ethnically. It's a much more accurate description of what values and cultural norms we hold.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 19, 2009 11:11 PM GMT
    Try getting classified as Negroid or Mongoloid.

    At least Caucasoids were named after a mountain range. icon_confused.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 19, 2009 11:25 PM GMT
    When we seek to categorize people, we must at all times ensure that in categorizing them we do not deprive them of their humanity. We ought to be clear about why we're categorizing people in the first place, and I think that if the reason is not to empower them but to dismiss or discriminate against them, then we are better off not categorizing them at all. Even so, we ought to be mindful of the intellectual baggage that we bring from discredited nomenclature, and we ought to try to keep our usage consistent with the most current thinking in science.

    There's a really helpful discussion of the history of race as a concept here which should be read alongside the current guidelines for using 'race' as a concept in Nature Genetics

    Key sentences:

    Thus, populations are never 'pure' in a genetic sense, and definite boundaries between individuals or populations (e.g., 'races') will be necessarily somewhat inaccurate and arbitrary.

    and

    Modern human genetics can deliver the salutary message that human populations share most of their genetic variation and that there is no scientific support for the concept that human populations are discrete, nonoverlapping entities. Furthermore, by offering the means to assess disease-related variation at the individual level, new genetic technologies may eventually render race largely irrelevant in the clinical setting.

    So much for the science. If we don't keep this in mind, it's too easy to end up with ugly crap like this:

    JakebensonI don't even consider people from Spain, Italy, or Greek to be "white" yet they are European.


    From genetics, there is no "European" race; there is no genetic basis for a "Caucasian" race or even really a "white" race. And why do you care?

    The problem really for me is that the notion of race is so strongly tied to the discredited rhetoric of colonialism. Examine this typical example from the Victorian era, and of all places a children's novel. Truly chilling stuff:

    We've got an island all to ourselves. We'll take possession in the name of the king; we'll go and enter the service of its black inhabitants. Of course we'll rise, naturally, to the top of affairs. White men always do in savage countries.
    ---- R M Ballantyne, The Coral Island

    The bottom line is: race as a social concept these days boils down to "I look different from him". Like d'uh! Do we need to self-express this in terms of an outdated colonialist rhetoric with no real genetic basis? At the end of the day, we're all human.... and we have many differences more relevant and interesting than "race".
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 19, 2009 11:30 PM GMT
    Race is silly and made up. White, African, Asian, and Latino are four of the largest groups. By the US census' standards, someone from Sweden and someone from Iran are both white. Even though the Iranian is from continent of Asia, they are somehow entirely different from their Pakistani neighbors. It just goes to show you how made up this all is.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 2:19 AM GMT
    TigerTimFrom genetics, there is no "European" race; there is no genetic basis for a "Caucasian" race or even really a "white" race. And why do you care
    ?

    There is a genetics basis for race. You can have a cheek swab sample analyzed that will tell you what races you are comprised of.

    The races i remember being listed were:
    sub-Saharan african
    european-includes middle east
    native american
    east asian

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 2:26 AM GMT
    growingbig saidSo I've met a couple of people over the last several months that hate and I mean HATE being classified as white. I asked them what else they would like to be called. Caucasian? Anglo Saxon? Honky? Their actual heritage be it German, German/Irish, or whatever? I can see where they are coming from but I think it's a little, I don't know, extreme? I get aggravated enough scrolling to select country, city, and year born in search engines or profile creation let alone trying to find my exact ethnic background.

    What does everyone else think?

    So what do they like to be called?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 2:34 AM GMT
    xrichx said
    growingbig saidSo I've met a couple of people over the last several months that hate and I mean HATE being classified as white. I asked them what else they would like to be called. Caucasian? Anglo Saxon? Honky? Their actual heritage be it German, German/Irish, or whatever? I can see where they are coming from but I think it's a little, I don't know, extreme? I get aggravated enough scrolling to select country, city, and year born in search engines or profile creation let alone trying to find my exact ethnic background.

    What does everyone else think?

    So what do they like to be called?



    The funny thing is they couldn't answer that. One did say he would prefer Anglo Saxon. Just as long as it wasn't called 'white'.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 2:56 AM GMT
    growingbig said
    xrichx said
    growingbig saidSo I've met a couple of people over the last several months that hate and I mean HATE being classified as white. I asked them what else they would like to be called. Caucasian? Anglo Saxon? Honky? Their actual heritage be it German, German/Irish, or whatever? I can see where they are coming from but I think it's a little, I don't know, extreme? I get aggravated enough scrolling to select country, city, and year born in search engines or profile creation let alone trying to find my exact ethnic background.

    What does everyone else think?

    So what do they like to be called?



    The funny thing is they couldn't answer that. One did say he would prefer Anglo Saxon. Just as long as it wasn't called 'white'.

    Well, here's a special song for them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkrHYHqChlI
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 4:57 AM GMT
    blinktwice4y said
    TigerTimFrom genetics, there is no "European" race; there is no genetic basis for a "Caucasian" race or even really a "white" race. And why do you care
    ?

    There is a genetics basis for race. You can have a cheek swab sample analyzed that will tell you what races you are comprised of.

    The races i remember being listed were:
    sub-Saharan african
    european-includes middle east
    native american
    east asian



    This is simply not true --- read the Nature Genetics article. You can tell a lot about your own ancestors from your genes, but there is no unambiguous (or even remotely unambiguous) genetic definition of a "race".
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 5:02 AM GMT
    TigerTim said
    JakebensonI don't even consider people from Spain, Italy, or Greek to be "white" yet they are European.


    From genetics, there is no "European" race; there is no genetic basis for a "Caucasian" race or even really a "white" race. And why do you care?


    Wait, why are you flaming me for giving my personal opinion on how I decide to classify people? Other than being a total dense vagina-soaked tampon...again.

    There doesn't have to be a "genetic based" reason for me to classify people loosely based on their origin. And if you were correct and there was no genetic basis for a "caucasion" race, that doesn't mean there is therefore no reason for people to label them as "caucasions" or "white." There's obviously clear physical distinctions between caucasions and non caucasions. Or are you going to tell me that 200 years ago white people were mistaken as black people in the US and frequently kept as slaves too (that would be funny actually if that happened). Your "genetic" reasoning is trivial because regardless of it's influence there is still a clear difference.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 5:21 AM GMT
    I agree with Munch-

    Can we now say that race is irrelevent? What does race mean anymore anyway? Where did my parents come from? Where did yours? Who cares? Does it mean anything? We have a President that is half black, but not black in the US sense. His parents were not slaves. His Dad came from Africa in the 60's or 70' voluntarily? His mother was a white woman that had a child by a black man. His folks were not slaves and he never had slaves in his past. His Black side never knew slavery. So he does not own that culture. He is not related to black slave culture anymore than I am. His grandma was as white as mine.

    So, what is it with him besides the color of his skin and if it is just about the color of his skin, who is the racist?

    Liberals are as racist as conservatives. It is about skin color. How sad.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 5:23 AM GMT
    jakebenson said
    TigerTim said
    JakebensonI don't even consider people from Spain, Italy, or Greek to be "white" yet they are European.


    From genetics, there is no "European" race; there is no genetic basis for a "Caucasian" race or even really a "white" race. And why do you care?


    Wait, why are you flaming me for giving my personal opinion on how I decide to classify people? Other than being a total dense vagina-soaked tampon...again.

    There doesn't have to be a "genetic based" reason for me to classify people loosely based on their origin. [snip] Your "genetic" reasoning is trivial because regardless of it's influence there is still a clear difference.


    Actually, I was answering the OP's question, which was about why people might avoid the identity "white". I avoid "race" because it is ill-defined as a scientific concept and, as you so perfectly demonstrate, it's only use is to dehumanize, disempower and discriminate. Having lived as an ethnic minority in two countries (Zimbabwe and Japan), I have considerable sympathy with minorities elsewhere when they mistrust the protests "it's only a physical description".

    Your freedom to think and say what you like is not in question.

    TriggermanLiberals are as racist as conservatives. It is about skin color. How sad.


    Dude that makes *no* sense at all.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 5:41 AM GMT
    jakebenson said
    TigerTim said
    JakebensonI don't even consider people from Spain, Italy, or Greek to be "white" yet they are European.


    From genetics, there is no "European" race; there is no genetic basis for a "Caucasian" race or even really a "white" race. And why do you care?


    Wait, why are you flaming me for giving my personal opinion on how I decide to classify people? Other than being a total dense vagina-soaked tampon...again.

    There doesn't have to be a "genetic based" reason for me to classify people loosely based on their origin. And if you were correct and there was no genetic basis for a "caucasion" race, that doesn't mean there is therefore no reason for people to label them as "caucasions" or "white." There's obviously clear physical distinctions between caucasions and non caucasions. Or are you going to tell me that 200 years ago white people were mistaken as black people in the US and frequently kept as slaves too (that would be funny actually if that happened). Your "genetic" reasoning is trivial because regardless of it's influence there is still a clear difference.



    actually he is right if you were talking about genetics. Caucasian is actually a loose term since genetically it also included other asian civilizations such as persia and india. the term 'east indian' is relatively new since east indians use to fall under it for having very similar features but obviously not the same skin color...the modern meaning of caucasian has been modified to include all light skinned people irregardless of their genetic relations to each other.

    now if you went genetically, then germans, persian and north indians belong to the same race known as aryans and they are more closer than anyother 'european' race.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 7:28 AM GMT
    Triggerman saidI agree with Munch-

    Can we now say that race is irrelevent? What does race mean anymore anyway? Where did my parents come from? Where did yours? Who cares? Does it mean anything? We have a President that is half black, but not black in the US sense. His parents were not slaves. His Dad came from Africa in the 60's or 70' voluntarily? His mother was a white woman that had a child by a black man. His folks were not slaves and he never had slaves in his past. His Black side never knew slavery. So he does not own that culture. He is not related to black slave culture anymore than I am. His grandma was as white as mine.

    So, what is it with him besides the color of his skin and if it is just about the color of his skin, who is the racist?

    Liberals are as racist as conservatives. It is about skin color. How sad.


    *Sigh

    I've had too many beers to give you one of my special rants.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 8:06 AM GMT
    TigerTim said
    blinktwice4y said
    TigerTimFrom genetics, there is no "European" race; there is no genetic basis for a "Caucasian" race or even really a "white" race. And why do you care
    ?

    There is a genetics basis for race. You can have a cheek swab sample analyzed that will tell you what races you are comprised of.

    The races i remember being listed were:
    sub-Saharan african
    european-includes middle east
    native american
    east asian



    This is simply not true --- read the Nature Genetics article. You can tell a lot about your own ancestors from your genes, but there is no unambiguous (or even remotely unambiguous) genetic definition of a "race".


    This is simply true.
    Police use a very similar tests to give probabilities of race based on DNA evidence.

    A very long time ago, back during the clinton administration, Bill Clinton, Craig Venter, and Francis Collins decided there was no genetic basis for race but amazingly science has progressed. It's based on ancestral heritage.

    Try reading a nature article after 2000 and check out the Radio Lab podcast on Race


  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 8:15 AM GMT
    Go ahead, CitizenSol-

    I can take it. Fire away
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 8:19 AM GMT
    Come on-

    I might be totally wrong.

    If so, fire away Citizen Sol-

    Cause you know I wll fight fire wiht fire-

    Bring it on:
  • CDNinOZ

    Posts: 38

    Jan 20, 2009 8:49 AM GMT
    Actually this may be one of those times where both answers are possible...

    As far as I know, most humans share the majority of genetic variation.

    However, there is human variation that is unique to certain groups. Most geneticists these days study so called SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) which are genetic markers. There are SNP which are segregating (i.e. different copies exist in a population) in some populations and not in others. By finding out which ones are unique and testing those SNP we can pinpoint which group (or determine the proportion of each group) a person may be part of.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 1:34 PM GMT
    blinktwice4y said
    This is simply true.
    Police use a very similar tests to give probabilities of race based on DNA evidence.

    A very long time ago, back during the clinton administration, Bill Clinton, Craig Venter, and Francis Collins decided there was no genetic basis for race but amazingly science has progressed. It's based on ancestral heritage.

    Try reading a nature article after 2000 and check out the Radio Lab podcast on Race


    No it is not true.

    Firstly, the article I refer to is from 2004 and is understood as the current policy when invoking the idea of race in Nature Genetics. (Did you read it?)

    Have a look at another paper from Human Genetics in 2005 which concludes: "the use of ethnicity alone will often be inadequate as a basis for medical treatment."

    And here's another which points out that using "race" as a predictor of genetic risk factors is less useful than actual genetic information.

    I think maybe a problem is that we haven't discussed a definition for race. This is mine: "Race" is the division of all members of a population into a discrete number of groups based on heritable characteristics (obligatory wikipedia reference).

    What you can do is get the *ancestry* of a person (i.e. where they came from) and you can certainly compare the *geographic* distance between two people, but you *cannot* make the division described above unambiguously.

    Maybe you should relisten to the podcast you mentioned, since it seems to make this point rather well!

    In any case if you want to use the notion of race, go ahead, even though it really has no scientific basis. I am explaining why *I* choose to avoid it in self-identifying :-)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 1:42 PM GMT
    At work we now refer to people as members of racialized groups. At first I thought "what the hell does that mean". When it was explained to me it made sense. The basic premise is that there is only one "race", but we associate certain characteristics to groups of people based on visible cues such as the pigment of their skin. Genetically people around the world are very similar, lending support to the theory that homo sapiens evolved in one place (Africa) and travelled elsewhere in order to survive and thrive.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 3:05 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    blinktwice4y said
    This is simply true.
    Police use a very similar tests to give probabilities of race based on DNA evidence.

    A very long time ago, back during the clinton administration, Bill Clinton, Craig Venter, and Francis Collins decided there was no genetic basis for race but amazingly science has progressed. It's based on ancestral heritage.

    Try reading a nature article after 2000 and check out the Radio Lab podcast on Race


    No it is not true.

    Firstly, the article I refer to is from 2004 and is understood as the current policy when invoking the idea of race in Nature Genetics. (Did you read it?)

    Have a look at another paper from Human Genetics in 2005 which concludes: "the use of ethnicity alone will often be inadequate as a basis for medical treatment."

    And here's another which points out that using "race" as a predictor of genetic risk factors is less useful than actual genetic information.

    I think maybe a problem is that we haven't discussed a definition for race. This is mine: "Race" is the division of all members of a population into a discrete number of groups based on heritable characteristics (obligatory wikipedia reference).

    What you can do is get the *ancestry* of a person (i.e. where they came from) and you can certainly compare the *geographic* distance between two people, but you *cannot* make the division described above unambiguously.

    Maybe you should relisten to the podcast you mentioned, since it seems to make this point rather well!

    In any case if you want to use the notion of race, go ahead, even though it really has no scientific basis. I am explaining why *I* choose to avoid it in self-identifying :-)


    i read it.
    it's 2009 now, not 2004.
    based on your definition of race, this test is accurate.

    "based on heritable characteristics"
    this is exactly what the test uses in order to determine your heritage.
    heritable DNA markers.

    ancestry and race are linked whether you like it or not.
    finding a genetic basis for race is not a racist endeavor.
    choosing to avoid a topic doesn't make it go away.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 20, 2009 5:09 PM GMT
    blinktwice4y said
    i read it.
    it's 2009 now, not 2004.
    based on your definition of race, this test is accurate.

    "based on heritable characteristics"
    this is exactly what the test uses in order to determine your heritage.
    heritable DNA markers.

    ancestry and race are linked whether you like it or not.
    finding a genetic basis for race is not a racist endeavor.
    choosing to avoid a topic doesn't make it go away.


    If you read it then it seems to me that you didn't understand it. And it seems furthermore that you didn't pay attention to the podcast you cited! There is NO genetic basis for race as I defined it. How many times do I need to repeat this? Genetics tells you *ancestry* and the patterns of geographical migration of your ancestors. Genetics, at least according to my friends in the Genetics dept here, has not gone through a paradigm shift in understanding "race" since 2004. If you have evidence that it has you need to provide citations!

    That does not mean that race does not exist as a social construct, and it is perfectly reasonable to study it in the context of Sociology and Social Psychology. In fact, living in Cleveland one could *hardly* fail to notice the importance of the socially constructed notion of race. The contrast could not be more clear. We have two of the very best hospitals in the country, and yet who (according to the hospitals own statistics) are far more likely to be uninsured?

    So I do not want to have as part of my identity any trace of this wretched unscientific and revolting label that does much to stratify society and entrench inequality. I therefore choose not to participate in an intellectually bankrupt conception of "race". I urge the likeminded to do the same.

    Is that clear enough for you?