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Pioneer1

Does Race Exist?

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Troy, rather than destroy the integrity of Nah's thread on "thickness" I figured I'd start this thread to continue our discussion on race and whether or not it's a social construct.

"Pioneer, once the human genome was sequenced it became plain to everyone that there is only one race of people on planet earth. Race is indeed, an arbitrary social construct.

In fact I wish our government would get out of the business of using it."

I believe that humans are all of the same SPECIES, but definately of different races/breeds.

Let's examine the 2 terms seperately out of the context of this conversation:

Social Construct:

a social mechanism, phenomenon, or category created and developed by society; a perception of an individual, group, or idea that is 'constructed' through cultural or social practice

http://dictionary.re...ocial construct

According to this definition, a social construct is something that is both created and developed by society. In other words, God or "nature" if you will didn't create it but it was created as a result of human ideology.

Race:

2 a : a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock

b : a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics

3 a : an actually or potentially interbreeding group within a species; also : a taxonomic category (as a subspecies) representing such a group

b : breed

c : a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits

http://www.merriam-w...dictionary/race

According to definition 2a , 3b, and 3c.....race is indeed about PHYSICAL traits, things that are not created from the mind of humans but are genetic in origin and come from God Himself or atleast nature.

Now what you said about the government getting out of the business of distinguising races....I actually entertained that idea for a while. However this is the common practice in a lot of Latin American nations, especially Cuba. Where they just say everyone is "Cubano" or "Puerto Ricano"....in other words, they seek to unite their nation of the basis of culture rather than race.

The problem with this is, in a society where race isn't definied it's too easy to practice racial discrimination without a way to prove it.

In many if not most Latin American nations, people of African and Indian decent are heavily discriminated against but since they don't consider themselves Black or Indian but "Columbian" or "Venuzualan" they don't have the words to even formulate let alone articulate their argument.

Since "race" doesn't exist in those countries, those who suffer from a non-existant "racism" are forced to suffer in silence.

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Pioneer1, Agreed on the definition and use of "social construct" for our argument.

I looked at the link you provided for the definition of race. It seemed you cherry picked what seems to support your argument while ignoring the most salient information which supported the universally held view on race.

Again, it is not just my opinion it is scientific fact; from the source you provided above we find:

"Term once commonly used in physical anthropology to denote a division of humankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type (e.g., Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid). Today the term has little scientific standing, as older methods of differentiation, including hair form and body measurement, have given way to the comparative analysis of DNA and gene frequencies relating to such factors as blood typing, the excretion of amino acids, and inherited enzyme deficiencies. Because all human populations today are extremely similar genetically, most researchers have abandoned the concept of race for the concept of the cline, a graded series of differences occurring along a line of environmental or geographical transition. This reflects the recognition that human populations have always been in a state of flux, with genes constantly flowing from one gene pool to another, impeded only by physical or ecological boundaries. While relative isolation does preserve genetic differences and allow populations to maximally adapt to climatic and disease factors over long periods of time, all groups currently existing are thoroughly “mixed” genetically, and such differences as still exist do not lend themselves to simple typologizing. “Race” is today primarily a sociological designation, identifying a class sharing some outward physical characteristics and some commonalities of culture and history. See also climatic adaptation, ethnic group, racism
."

That is, as previously asserted, race is an artificial social construct. Further Race "has little scientific standing".

Latin American countries practice racism -- including the countries you mentioned.

On the government tracking "race"

For about 10 years I spent time researching my family history and after looking it how the government categorized people and how it changed every ten years I became even more convinced that the government should spot collecting the data altogether. I watched the same people, in my family, go from "White", to "Mulatto", to "negro" in 30 years! Did you fill out the categories in the 2010 census -- it was absurd!

Why is Barack Obama, for example, Black and not white? Obviously his classification as Black is purely arbitrary given he has a white mother and Black father. Again this classification is American construct -- a vestige of institutional racism.

The idea of people "passing" as white is similarly absurd. If you look so white that a white racist in the south can't tell you are not white what is the point of the classification?

I would also argue that continuing to track and classify people on such an increasingly sloppy and arbitrary dimension as race actually increases racism.

The manner in which we treat people should be a function of fairness, and equality -- race has nothing to do with it.

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The longer I live, the more I realize how language hampers as well as facilitates communication. Semantics are very much involved in interpretative meaning. After reading the ambiguous definition of race, to my subjective ears it sounded like race and breed are interchangeable. Dogs are all classified as canine, but there are many different breeds of these animals. When it comes to people, "breed" is a less palatable term than "race", but the principle is the same.

Also, I've learned to question the "scientific facts" that are used to support studies and tests. People calling themselves "experts" can manipulate conclusions, and are not above making results comply with their theories in order to gain prestiege among their colleagues, and make money off their reputations. One reason they are always recalling medications is because the drug companies have the medical community in their pocket. e.g. There has been an ongoing debate about the effectiveness and safety of popuar prescription drugs to treat cholesterol. There are 2 schools of thought as to whether cholesterol is even harmful and whether the cure for it is worse than the condition. But the drug company that manufactures Lipitor, the best selling pill for lowering bad cholesterol, favor the "scientific" study that supports their product. Similarly, every year diet pills formerly touted by scientists as being safe are taken off the market because they are found to actually be dangerous. What's good or bad for cancer changes every 6 months depending on the latest scientific study.

And of course there are the scientific polls that can be extrapolated to favor whatever trend they are used to study. Their reliability is suspect because people lie when questioned about things. Polls are what led Romney to believe that he would win the presidency.

When it comes to the infallibility of studies, the classic faux pas involved the distinguished anthropologist Dr. Margaret Meade who back in the 1920s went to the South Pacific and lived among the Samoans to observe their behavior. The book she wrote about this experiment came to be regarded as the prototype in the study of ethnic culture until years later when it was found to be bogus after these natives confessed that what she reported was inaccurate because they simply told Margaret Meade what they thought she wanted to hear.

Race is a controversial subject that lends itself to being politicized, and ulterior motives are always a factor. When it comes to the conclusions about it, words matter. Science is what urges observers to question everything. And that's what I do when it comes to the latest findings about whether or not race is real or concocted. This is not to say that different tribes don't have common traits or that that the homo sapiens species isn't evolving, but it is to question as to whether there is a difference between bi-racial and in-breeding.

Polemecist that I am, I just couldn't let this subject go unchallenged.

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Cynique perhaps breed is more suitable term for the way we typically use race. In any case, the government should not track people's "races" or "breeds".

Someone on Twitter took issue with my position on tracking race:

@aalbc Will anyone ever be convicted of #racism http://bit.ly/UFoSem #Racist #Staffordshire

@SodeepArt No. Convict people for their bad behavior not some artificial construct invented by some racist.

@aalbc are you serious?! Police officer whilst strangling a Black UK born youth called the man 'nigger'; thats out of order & Racist!

@SodeepArt It is absolutely racist and out of order. But why isn't it enough to convict the police officer for strangling a kid?

@aalbc if have not read anything about Stephen Lawrence case please research & Report concluded British society is institutionally Racist!

I ultimately looked up Steven Lawrence, I did not read very deeply into the story as it quickly became obvious it is a story too often repeated in the US. At least his murders were brought to justice

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Troy

Ofcourse I picked the definitions that supported what I'm saying, lol.

Never the less the definition DOES exist.

I didn't make it up, therefore it is likely a fact and further evidence that I used to support my argument that race is real.

I agree totally that we should treat people on the basis of fairness and justice.

Business discovered this a long time ago.

But we still need classifications if not to point out injustices in society then atleast to give the police a description of a suspect.

If we didn't have race, then how would we describe a White man who snatched a purse?

"It was a pinkish-looking man with a skinny nose and stringy yellow hair, he went dat-a-way"

Now I'll continue to say that perhaps the CLASSIFICATIONS and DIVISIONS of race are bogus man made concoctions....which is why they keep changing every decade as you correctly pointed out.

But the fact that race exists isn't bogus.

It's a biological and undeniable fact supported not only socially but scientifically and academically.

Now the case for Obama is simple, he's both Black AND White.

That's his race....mixed.

However ethnicly speaking he's an AFRO-American, meaning an American of African descent.

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"It was a pinkish-looking man with a skinny nose and stringy yellow hair, he went dat-a-way" :D

Pioneer, I appreciate the definition exists. I just think the word should considered "slang" as it is just about a clear as the word "Thick".

People can use the word all they want. I use it all the time. I just don't think the government should use it, any more than they should use thick in conjunction with identifying people.

There was a time when we thought the world was flat, but we learned and moved on. People who continue to believe the world is flat are too dumb to describe. There are Christians that interpret the Bible literally and believe the world is 6,000 years old, so I understand the reluctance of people to change the way they think.

I just don;t think the government should continue to embrace what is proven false. Besides I also believe the government encourages racism by using terms like Black and white eventually they need to add Cablasain to their laundry list of racist race descriptors.

The guy on Twitter also used the argument that we need the classifications "to point out injustices in society". I disagree, injustice is injustice and not a function of race. To think otherwise is racist in and of itself.

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Lol @ "Cablasain"

When I first heard that Tiger used that term, I actually thought he was talking about one of his puppies.

"Oh, meet Turbo.....he's a Collier and Cablasian mix....got him from the shelter when he was only 6 weeks".

You're right that injustice isn't a function of race, but quite often it's definitely a FACTOR.

And racial classifcation in terms of....say.....a discrimination law suit....would be a tool used to describe how or why a person was harmed. No term for race, no way to prove racial discrimination. So theoretically a person could fire all the qualified Asian people on a given job because of their race but they would have no grounds to sue because that which they got fired for doesn't legally exist.

Trust me mah brutha.....

Even if all classifications of race were removed from goverment and public vocabulary, White men will still know who THEY are, know who YOU are, and find a way to keep the distinction.

Actually, it's not just White men but men in general tend to separate people into groups. All men do it to a certain extent. While women tend to incorporate and include, it's the nature of a man's mind to divide and compartmentalize as a way to determine who belongs where in society. Establish status and hierarchy. And also determine who is the potential enemy.

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If someone fired all the "qualified" Asian people. The evidence would be, presumably, that they where fired over someone else less qualified -- which is the problem and not a function of race.

If someone harms me, I don't really care what their motivation was -- I just want them brought to justice and punished for harming me. Let the shrinks in prison try to sort out their motivation during the rehabilitation process.

Of course regular people will continue using the racist labels of Black and white; again I assert the government should not be using those terms.

You many be right about the tribal aspect of mankind, but the US government is perpetuating the destructive mentality buy continuing to use the ever increasingly list of racist descriptors that serve no other purpose than to pit us against each other. While the wealthy kick back, sip champagne, and watch us fight over the crumbs which fall from their table.

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I hear what you're saying.

Aggression is aggression regardless of whatever name they commit it in or what excuse they give.

However, if we don't get to the bottom of WHY someone harmed you, then they or others who think like them may harm you again.

Correct?

The most qualified detectives and investigators always establish a PROFILE of thier suspects and thier behaivor in order to identify and study them and eventually apprehend them.

Now in your response to my fired Asians example, no it's not a funcion of race, but race is a significant and indispensable factor in proving the REASON they were fired. Thus giving the victims a weapon to fight back and defend themselves from further abuse.

If you took racial classification out of the equation then the only thing they'd be able to prove was that they were fired (and might not even be able to do that if they didn't get a pink slip), but they couldn't explain why. Which means they and other Asians could keep getting fired without ever being able to prove why and possibly put an end to it.

A good analogy to my argument about the importance of racial classification would be the gender/sex classification.

Now we know there's a difference between those whom we call males and those whom we call females. Thus we classify and lable them MALES and FEMALES.

Just like a difference is made based on race, a difference is also made based on gender/sex.

Now suppose we were to take this distinction away and say there is no such thing as gender/sex.

Both are the same, no distinction.

Can you imagine the billions of dollars and centuries of time that science, medicine, and other institutions would waste trying to figure out why nearly half of the population just couldn't get pregnant!

Add GENDER/SEX and it makes sense.....problem solved.

Take it away.....and you got a lot of angry women who can't figure out why their clitorises stopped growing!

Add racial classification, and you can understand why Europeans went around the globe making slaves of Africans, Indians, and Chinese.

They saw themselves as one race, and Africans, Indians, and Chinese as outside of their race.

Take it away, and the only thing you have is.......people with big boats and green eyes seem to have such luck!

Taking away racial classification won't hurt racists one bit, it'll only hurt the VICTIMS of racism who will no longer be able to explain their pain.

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Well Pioneer, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but haven't you noticed that gender differences have been greatly neutralized over the last half century. People are fighting for same sex marriages, men's clothing is becoming increasing feminized, girls fighting to be included on football -- with the men. Women literally standing up and saying they don't men men in their lives, to help them raise children, they can be just as good a father as any man. I could go on but you see my point.

There are distinct differences between men and women -- indeed ignoring these inherent differences is what has contributed to the destruction of the family...

The differences between, a typical white man and Black man are insignificant enough to be ignored -- as far as the government is concerned. Besides they can't even do a good job at keeping track of race, If you've looked at censuses as long as I have (not very long) this becomes self-evident.

You've given me a number of different scenarios where victims of racially motivated crimes would have no way to describe the nature of they crime.

Consider this: The victims of a crime have NO WAY of knowing the motivations of their assailants. Adding race just confusing things.

We have this laws called "Bias Crimes" where, in essence, if the perpetrator of a crime was motivated by some prejudice the penalties would be far worse. This makes no sense to me.

If a Black man yells, "nigger I'ma beat the shit out of you!" then proceeds to pummel a black man -- he gets a slap on the wrist. If white boy does exactly the same thing he gets thrown under the jail and his picture on the cover of the local tabloid. Suppose a mulatto guy does the same thing -- what do we do with him?

Ultimately if people stop thinking in terms of race, there can't be racists, right. And isn't that our goal?

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We're dealing with simplistic solutions here. But reality can be complicated. A lot of racism has to do with people being able to see the differences between themselves and others. Color blindness is a myth. That's why bi-racial people are now crying "discrimination" because Blacls and Whites can see that they don't exactly look like them. Even children can make a distinction and they learn to naturally discriminate at an early age. Later their color bias can become racism. So I question whether racism and injustice can be eliminated if the concept of race is dismantled. People gravitate toward their own kind, in the case of black people, perhaps because misery loves company. Yes, "class" is emergining as another way of categorizinng people, but this doesn't keep middle class Whites from distancing themselves from middle class Blacks. Race seems to me to be a case of natural selection that transcends idealistic demands for equality. The human species is more concerned with domination than democracy.

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People can be dumb, governments don't have to be.

Sure, children can make a distinction, but the part about discrimination does not come naturally it is a learned behavior, one that our government facilitates. When my sister and I were children, my sister thought she was white and I was Black. She was not making a value judgement -- just an observation.

"Bi-racial", is an even more sloppy term, you simply can't tell by looking at someone that they are "biracial".

--------------------------------------

Some of you may find this interesting. The graphic below depicts the results of my ethnicity as determined from my DNA. Some of you would insist on calling this my racial makeup.

Even more interesting. To me at least, is that I have information on my European ancestry going back to the 16th century. This line line come from an slave holder, of English descent making a child with one of his enslaved women. A woman who the owner ultimately freed, through some difficulty, in 1811 (I read a summary of the Slave Petition). That woman is my 4th great grand mother. Reading some of Slave Petition from the time period is... depressing.

troy-dna.jpg

Notes from Ancestry.com:

How is Ethnicity Determined?

Your genetic ethnicity is a prediction of your ethnic background. We take segments of your DNA and compare them to our ethnicity database, which contains one of the most comprehensive collections of DNA samples from people around the world. We group individuals with a well-established family history in a given place (British Isles for example) and then compare your DNA to each unique group in order to identify overlap. And as our database continues to grow, you could receive updates with new information.

DNA changes slightly with each generation, and over time any group of people that are relatively isolated (by geography or culture) develop unique genetic signatures that we can look for. It’s this aspect of DNA that makes our ethnicity predictions all possible.

We expect that over time, as the science continues to evolve, we'll be able to show more granular ethnic regions—even regions within a specific country.

Is it accurate?

When determining your genetic ethnicity, we hold our process and results to an extremely high standard of accuracy. Our lab’s analysis uses some of the most advanced equipment and techniques to measure and analyze your entire genome at over 700,000 locations or "markers". During the testing process, each DNA sample is held to a quality standard of at least a 98% call rate. Any results that don’t meet that standard may require a new DNA sample to be collected.

When reviewing your genetic ethnicity, here are some reasons why your results may be different than what you expected.

1. Your genetic ethnicity results go back hundreds of years.
In some cases, the markers in your DNA may reveal ethnicities that go back hundreds, even a thousand years. This could differ from what you have documented in your family tree. So keep in mind that there may be some ethnic differences in your more recent family history as compared to generations ago.

2. Ethnic groups moved around.
Because people move over time, (and when they do they take their DNA with them), a group may contribute DNA to other groups at different times. So ethnic groups can be defined by time and place—not just location. For example, if you have German or British ancestors in your family tree, it’s a possibility that your genetic ethnicity may be partly Scandinavian. The Viking invasions and conquests about a thousand years ago are likely responsible for occurrences of Scandinavian ethnicity throughout other regions. And there are similar examples for other ethnicities. With your results, we provide historical information describing migrations to and from the regions to give you a broader picture of the origins of your DNA.

3. Your DNA is inherited through the generations.
Half of your DNA is inherited from your mother and half from your father (roughly). However, each half is variable and can result in many unique combinations. Your parents inherited their DNA from their parents and passed portions of that DNA down to you. So when you factor that out over a few hundred years, you may share little or no DNA in common with a certain ancestor. So let’s say your father is half Italian, you could (in theory) inherit anywhere from fifty to zero percent Italian (based on the random shuffling of DNA with each generation). When you take that into account over a few generations you can see how traces of ethnicity can be lost over time.

So if you look at your family tree, it may indicate a pedigree-based ethnicity of 30% English, 20% Scandinavian, and 50% Italian (based on birth locations of your great-great-great grandparents). While this is one valid way to look at ethnicity (and in fact has been the only way until recently), DNA analysis can reveal the actual percentage of your DNA that is reflected by these ethnic groups. So your genetic-based ethnicity might reveal you are 40% British Isles, 15% Scandinavian, and 45% Southern European. Both measures are accurate and informative—but they are measuring different things.

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Verrry Interesting. Do you think that if you're stopped by cops for driving a fine car in an upscale white neighborhood, or if you try to challenge a bunch of rednecks and demand that they not refer to you as "boy" that these offenders will be impressed if you whip out this chart? Theory always looks good on paper, but the way it plays out in life is another story. A pack of hyenas doesn't give a damn if the prey they're stalking for their evening meal is a "liger", which is a big cat that is the result of a lion and tiger mating, Race is, as race does. Society determines your station in life more than your DNA. And circumstances favor the individual adapting to society whether by choice or by coercion.

And the perceiving of another person as looking different from you is not learned behavior on the part of a child. Whether they decide to regard you with suspicion for not resembling them is also a natural reaction because of the xenophobia that resides in our brains. Racism that involves deliberately persecuting others because of their skin color is, of course, learned.

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"Racism that involves deliberately persecuting others because of their skin color is, of course, learned." Precisely!

And the government is the biggest teacher of the perverse. inhuman lesson.

Cynique your statement, "Whether they decide to regard you with suspicion for not resembling them is also a natural reaction because of the xenophobia that resides in our brains", seems to conflict with your final statement.

In any event, I know you realize, in the US, Black women give birth to children with every complexion under the sun -- sometimes with complexions dramatically than their own. Do you really believe, absent a racist culture, that these children would "naturally" view their own mother with suspicion or even hatred the way a Xenophobe would?

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I stand by my statement that a child can naturally distinguish that a person looks different from himself. (Your sister noticed this) Accepting the difference is a learned reaction. I agree that black women of every color give birth to babies of every color. But it's rare that they give birth to a baby with coloring that is dramatically different from its parents.

It's not that uncommon that family dynamics spawn a child who resents the color of his mother and vice-versa. The conflict over the difference in appearance can be a manisfestation or an exacerbation of repressed hostility that has its origin in xenophobia. I also know of cases where infants would scream and cry if they came face to face with someone who looked different than the family members they were used to seeing. There are also cases where adopted children turn out to look different than their parents and a subtle rift is created in the child's mind.

Nobody is denying that the government is racist.

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"Nobody is denying that the government is racist." Funny it never occurred to be to simply say it plainly; the government is racist -- there it is.

I agree a child can naturally distinguish that a person looks different from himself (I never meant to suggest otherwise)

I do not agree that accepting the difference is a learned reaction. I think not accepting the difference is learned, but I'm sure there have been studies on this. Any rifts in the family because or difference skin color were probably caused by the racist culture not nature. Unless you believe racism is natural... maybe it is.

Adopted children develop rifts because the differences cause them to come to the realization they were adopted -- a completely different dynamic.

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Troy

"Well Pioneer, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but haven't you noticed that gender differences have been greatly neutralized over the last half century. People are fighting for same sex marriages, men's clothing is becoming increasing feminized, girls fighting to be included on football -- with the men. Women literally standing up and saying they don't men men in their lives, to help them raise children, they can be just as good a father as any man. I could go on but you see my point.

There are distinct differences between men and women -- indeed ignoring these inherent differences is what has contributed to the destruction of the family..."

I couldn't agree with you more on how this has contributed to the destruction of the family, especially the Black family.

It appears that the same social engineers (mostly White college professors and media executives) who are promoting "gender neutrality" among the masses don't seem to practice it in thier own homes.

The same White woman teaching girls in an innercity highschool that they don't need men in thier lives and that they should learn to be independant is usually married herself and would probably kick her own daughter out of the house if she came home and announced that she was a lesbian.

I've long suspected that much of this is a trick to set Black men and women against eachother and destroy the Black family.

However, when it comes to sex.....as well as race....we're dealing with biology and genetics, not necessarily sociology and human behavior in a given environment.

Just like a man is still a man (facial hair, testicles, penis) regardless as to whether or not he wears a miniskirt, lipstick and listens to Barbara Striesand......

A Black person is still Black (dark skin, kinky hair, high butt, ect....) regardless as to what he wears, how he talks, or even what he wants to CALL himself.

"We have this laws called "Bias Crimes" where, in essence, if the perpetrator of a crime was motivated by some prejudice the penalties would be far worse. This makes no sense to me."

While it makes sense to me.....I actually don't agree with it.

I think crimes should be punished accordingly but I don't necessarily agree with giving someone "extra" punishment because of thier personal beliefs because it involves trying to figure out what's in someone elses head.

"If a Black man yells, "nigger I'ma beat the shit out of you!" then proceeds to pummel a black man -- he gets a slap on the wrist. If white boy does exactly the same thing he gets thrown under the jail and his picture on the cover of the local tabloid. Suppose a mulatto guy does the same thing -- what do we do with him?

Ultimately if people stop thinking in terms of race, there can't be racists, right. And isn't that our goal? "

The word "if" is the key factor in the statement you just made.

"If" is often a symptom of wishful thinking....lol.

My old man used to say that "if" a bullfrog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass everytime he took a leap, lol.

If racism didn't exist, things would be much better.....but it does, so those who have been the historical victims of it must learn how to defend themselves against it.

Most problem solvers will tell you the very first step in solving a problem is identifying it.

As I've been saying since I started this thread, if racism is a problem and we took away racial classification then how would one be able to identify the problem or racism?

You ignoring racism isn't going to keep a racist from discriminating against you any more than refusing to acknowledge death will keep one from dying.

"Unless you believe racism is natural"

Well personally, I believe racial distincition....or recognizing that there are different races, is natural.

I don't believe that racism itself necessarily is though.

BTW Troy and Cynique

In regards to the government being racist because they use racial classification......

There is a difference between being RACIST and being RACE CONSCIOUS.

One is practicing discrimination and assigning value based on race; the other is simply being aware that there are different races while adding no values or judgements to any specific racial group.

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No the government is racist for this reason and many others. Indeed ofr most of out countries history racists laws were n the books. we have not emerged from this situation.

Race conscious is too sloppy a term is changes frequently as is based solely on how people look -- which in my mind is just a dumb (and racist) activity for the government to spend my money engaging in...

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"I agree a child can naturally distinguish that a person looks different from himself (I never meant to suggest otherwise)

I do not agree that accepting the difference is a learned reaction. I think not accepting the difference is learned, but I'm sure there have been studies on this. Any rifts in the family because or difference skin color were probably caused by the racist culture not nature. Unless you believe racism is natural... maybe it is.

I think an argument can be made that a great deal of a child's behavior is learned. Little kids have to become socialized and this involves teaching them how to get along with others. That's what kindergarten is for. Small children are not as angelic and sweet as we would like to believe. They are self-centered, can exhibit agressive and cruel behavior toward their peers and are reluctant to share. Manners and consideration for others do not come natural to them. This is learned behavior.

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I think a hate crime should have a stiffer sentence. For the same reason premeditated murder has a stiffer sentence.

I would say that if there were more economic parity there would be less racism or it would matter less.

I believe racism is linked to economic power. I think most racially motivated activity has an economic component. I think it may be more important to navigate the economic effect, than the moral one.

Troy - I had some one say it was very advanced or open minded to love a different race. I didn't understand that comment.

I still don't. If you look at racism, you need to look at sexism, class and economics.

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Racism is learned, race conciousness is not....it's natural.

Any child with eyesight can readily see the difference between what we call a Black person and White person.

I knew Bruce Lee was different from the other people in my neighborhood when I was just 3 years old!

But in order to assign value and/or negative characteristics to a particular color....which is racism.....has to be learned either through indoctrination or experience.

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Cynique, children act up as they go through developmental stages where they learn that they are actually sentient beings with wants and desires that are completely unknown to others. It is a complicated process. Tantrums in and "bad behavior" (behavior not desired by a parent) is normal.

This is not evidence that people have to learn to be nice, or need to be medicated.

I agree completely with Pioneer.

Del and I part ways with the love come naturally bit. Sure it sounds beautiful to say and it would be nice to believe, but I see no evidence that it is true.

In fact I'm more inclined to agree with Cynique, based upon my observations. People behave like crap because they were not raised properly - taught to respect themselves or others.

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Well, this discussion has imploded because everybody is co-oping each other arguments. The debate about what is learned and what comes natural has become nebulous and convoluted.

My position is that once a child sees the good or bad consequences of his actions, he learns to curb his natural impulses to have his own way, then learns what behavior to adopt in order to be accepted by the group. This is why psychologists and educators formulated the kindergarten concept: to teach children how to get along with their peers and conform to an orderly classroom environment. This has nothing to do with racism. Can we agree that racism is about empowerment, - about being able to enforce and instituionalize color discrimination, something that children don't have the authority to do.

I'd say that hate comes easier than love. People do have to learn to subdue their egos in order to love somebody other than themselves. Some people never learn to do this, and are incapable of becoming emotionally involved with another because they are too self-absorbed. Of course there is love at first sight, but in order to preserve their love, couples have to learn to live together. IMO.

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Cynique

"Can we agree that racism is about empowerment, - about being able to enforce and instituionalize color discrimination, something that children don't have the authority to do."

I'm not the type who believes Black people can't be racist because of a lack of power.

I believe racism is simply assigning a value (especially a negative value) to a particular race, plain and simple.

I believe you can be racist whether you have the power to act on your beliefs or not.

All

Let me throw something else in the mix.........

I believe RACISM is learn behavior, however I believe HATRED is not.

Hatred....like love, happiness, and jealousy.....is an emotion.

And emotions are natural.

There are those who are born without the ability to hate, like those who are born without the ability to love...or born without the ability to see....or walk.

But these are abnormal DIS-abilities.

Hatred is a normal human emotion not necessarily tied to racism.

Indeed, there are some racists who don't even hate the targeted race.

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I'm not the type who believes Black people can't be racist because of a lack of power.

I believe racism is simply assigning a value (especially a negative value) to a particular race, plain and simple.

I believe you can be racist whether you have the power to act on your beliefs or not.

Powerless people who assign negative value to a particular race are "biased" or "prejudiced". Such offenders who personally practice discrimination are different from those in authority who are genuine racists because, being in a position of power, they can enforce what results from their assigning negative value to a particular group.

I agree that Blacks are just as capable of assigning negativity to another group as anyone else. That's why I play so fast and loose with the term "xenophobia" because it can be applied to all the different ethnic groups who instinctively regard each other with caution but, as you say, not necessarily with hostility.

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Cynique

I agree that a racist in a position of power like a mayor or governor has the ability to do much more harm than some redneck sitting up in his trailer spitting and cussing at his television everytime Jesse Jackson comes on.

However racism is also a BELIEF, not just a practice.

If a Klansman got into an accident and was paralyzed to the point he couldn't move or speak, would he no longer be racist because he no longer had the power to move or influence others to do his bidding?

I see xenophobia as a passive form of racim.

But it still falls under the racist catagory.

Whether you're targetting people based on race or avoiding people based on racism, it's still based on race.....which is racism.

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Cynique and Troy - this is why I believe children's books can have a significant influence. Children in their earliest years do engage in me-not me comparisons during the development of their identity, but the judgments associated with that differentiation are culturally based. Addressing and changing these judgments which are (at least in societies arising from European domination) often rooted in Darwinism, Eugenics, and religious beliefs about gender and race is a difficult if not almost impossible process precisely because it has subtle support in the literature we offer children.

To illustrate my point, and to address the argument based on sex/gender suggested by Pioneer1 - think about the ways in which the roles of men and women are gendered. while saying "man" or "woman" doesn't evoke much other than physiological structure, the context in which the words are used is important. For example, when talking about parenthood, a man who is a parent is a "father" and a woman a "mother" - burdening what is initially a biological distinction with clearly identifiable cultural expectations and value systems regarding who should stay at home, who is more capable of nurturing a child effectively, etc.

Words carry meanings which are dependent on the context in which they are used, and once you call a person "black" or "Asian" or "Native American" you have necessarily associated that person with all kinds of cultural biases, assumptions and expectations which are often based on what we have read about these groups. It is just as hard to uproot these "racial" biases as it is to eliminate gender bias, and we must be aware of them in our reading and writing.

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