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Thread: If Race is a Fictitious Concept - Is Racism also Fictitious?

  1. #1 If Race is a Fictitious Concept - Is Racism also Fictitious? 
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    Has anyone else noticed how, despite it suddenly being discovered after all these years that race is a fictitous concept, the same people who insist on this still continue to accuse people of "racism"?

    Is this hypocritical, or does it make sense?

    Note: I can see there is a case for saying that it is not possible to categorise people into a handful of races in view of the fact that there can be more genetic diversity between two native Africans than between another African and a native European.
    So don't accuse me of racism for asking the question please.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Zelos's Avatar
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    race isnt a fictius concept race has an defnined meaning in biology. and we humans do have races, they got certain adaptations for their enviorment but no more no less and some biochemical differenses that makes drugs work a bit different on us.


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  4. #3  
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    As far as I am concerned to accuse a person of 'racism' is a pointer to the fact that the accusator is themself racist, that is they divide humanity into races. I believe we are all the same race - the human race, and therefore racism is fictitious.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    I do not believe for one second that race is a ficticious concept. Where did you get this idea ?
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  6. #5  
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    race as in 'black and white' is something that has appeared in sociaty, it has been passed down through generations. If you ask a young child to describe the host of a birthday party, and they will make no reference to rac they'll just say "the man with the glasses" or something like that. Racism is something that doesn't have to happen in our sociaty, but it does, if only people could think back to lief as a child...
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    I think the idea of different human races is very unhelpful. Sure there are differences between humans, but they are tiny and not systemetic (differences of drug resistance, food allergies, physical appearance etc don't often come together). If people from a certain region share a relevant characteristic then we don't have to ignore it, but it doesn't make it necessary to me to speak of races.
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  8. #7  
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    People get racism confused with discrimination. Discrimination is essential. If I want to live a healthy life I need to recognize that I do not have brown skin (to name an obvious difference). Whereas racism is actual animosity towards a person of a different race. Megabrain I agree with you but I think the word you are looking for is species and not race. The way I was raised I wasn't around any racism or even taught about it untill almost highschool. When I entered a public highschool I was absolutely amazed at the disrespect people had for eachother based simply on skin color. And this wasn't too many years ago. It is sad.

    I'm not sure I understand the main question. Are you trying to say that racism is a made up concept as opposed to a naturally occuring concept?
    It almost seems like you are suggesting that racism doesn't exsist but if that is so than I can assure you it does.
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  9. #8  
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    racial prejustice is a pigment of the imagination, we are all the same colour in the dark.
    we are one race.
    we just seem to have a lot of wankers, arseholes, ( insert expletive ) who think the different creeds should be segregated, those people, feel inferior to the creed they are oppressing. so oppressing them makes the wankers, arseholes, feel empowered.
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  10. #9  
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    There are substantial differences between ethnic groups, but racial categorisation is flawed because of the genetic variety within some of the so-called races.

    There is such a thing as a Nordic type, with the physical and behavioural characteristics described as Nordic, for example - and anyone can see they are different to a Negro from Africa. But the thing is, there is so much genetic diverstiy in Africa that you can also get two Negroes, from different tribes and the genetic variability between those two is as large as it is if you compared one of them to the Nordic.

    So saying race doesn't exist (which there is a strong case for in this sense) still does NOT mean that a Negro is the same as a Nordic.

    Here is some proof from neutral scientific sources:

    "In the new work reported this week, researchers Franck Prugnolle, Andrea Manica, and François Balloux of the University of Cambridge show that geographic distance from East Africa along ancient colonization routes is an excellent predictor for the genetic diversity of present human populations, with those farther from Ethiopia being characterized by lower genetic variability. This result implies that information regarding the geographic coordinates of present populations alone is sufficient for predicting their genetic diversity. "
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0310103042.htm

    "Genetic diversity in Africa is extremely high, even between closely related or located groups and much higher than diversity in other human populations."
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0125073157.htm

    So let's say race is too much of a vague concept and that in the future we stop using the term, and imagine that eventually everyone understands that. Now will people still treat eachother differently because they are genetically diverse?

    I am afraid that is just one fact of life that you can't get away from as it is built into us that we prefer to help our own kin. As the saying goes "blood is thicker than water".
    You will see what I mean if you only look at these links for a few minutes.

    http://search.ft.com/ftArticle?query...d=061008003470
    Harvard study paints bleak picture of ethnic diversity

    Identification with one’s ethnic group is therefore rational and makes perfect sense in evolutionary terms.
    http://conservationfinance.wordpress...ry-psychology/
    (scroll down a little to find it)

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/altruism-biological/
    The importance of kinship for the evolution of altruism is very widely accepted today, on both theoretical and empirical grounds.
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  11. #10  
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    I guess it makes evolutionary sense that people feel a stronger urge to assist people who look most like them, as they are indeed more likely to be their kin. Hopefully education, or the lack of negative indoctrination, can reduce this.

    Another solution is to start mixing the world's genes in a giant melting pot :wink: If you have a bit of all "races" in you then anyone could be your kin, hence racist behaviour makes no evolutionary sense anymore. And everyone knows "interracial" people are the most beautiful in the world (or is that racistic? :P )
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  12. #11  
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    I think the concept of "Practicality" is often overlooked and that we should not get too cought up in scientific rules and standards. Even if race holds no valid biological or evolutionary merit that doesn't stop it from having an inherent all-too-common effect on human beings in general.

    This idea or ideaology that we are all one race - one people is not one that I agree with. Differences are differences. Its as simple as that. In many ways I do not see my self the same as an African / African American or an Asian or Hisanic or ect ect.. And I am proud of that. I am proud of my white race. The point here is that the differences that separate one man from another be it race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, political view or just any different kind of view in general - Should be seen in a positive light rather than a negative.

    Difference is good. I wan't there to be different kinds of people. Can you imagine a world where everyone truly was the same? Variety is what make things interesting. Differences among people should never be rediculed, of course I don't think that. But I certanly don't think that differences among people should be ignored either. Thats just as bad if not worse.

    I basically feel that the things that separate myself from the next person should be respected and perhaps, to some extent, even celebrated.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolt
    I think the concept of "Practicality" is often overlooked and that we should not get too cought up in scientific rules and standards. Even if race holds no valid biological or evolutionary merit that doesn't stop it from having an inherent all-too-common effect on human beings in general.

    This idea or ideaology that we are all one race - one people is not one that I agree with. Differences are differences. Its as simple as that. In many ways I do not see my self the same as an African / African American or an Asian or Hisanic or ect ect.. And I am proud of that. I am proud of my white race. The point here is that the differences that separate one man from another be it race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, political view or just any different kind of view in general - Should be seen in a positive light rather than a negative.

    Difference is good. I wan't there to be different kinds of people. Can you imagine a world where everyone truly was the same? Variety is what make things interesting. Differences among people should never be rediculed, of course I don't think that. But I certanly don't think that differences among people should be ignored either. Thats just as bad if not worse.

    I basically feel that the things that separate myself from the next person should be respected and perhaps, to some extent, even celebrated.
    We obviously both agree that some kind of tyrannical law forcing everyone to interbreed in a way carefully calculated to give us all exactly the same percentage of every race is both impossible and evil!

    When you say "White race" it really can't be any more than a vague generalisation - comparing yourself with someone who is clearly far from seeming to be white - but what you really mean is a kind of idealised gene pool that you feel you are part of or hope for. I share this.
    Nature is working on all the various ethnicities to make them into distinct branches, and they are going in different directions.
    Humans have no right to mess with this process and try to put together what Nature has chosen to pull asunder. (To reverse the wedding vow!).
    This truly would be a road to Hell paved with meddling and foolish good intentions. All that could happen is that there would be all the nastiness that Professor Putnam talks about
    "His extensive research found that the more diverse a community, the less likely were its inhabitants to trust anyone, from their next-door neighbour to their local government." and it is the non-racist explanation for why there is so much violence wherever there are various ethnic groups living near eachother.
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  14. #13  
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    If i call someone a black bastard i am a racist, if i call someone a ginger bastard i am not a racist, whats the difference ? History. So is racism a fictitious concept? Yes. But the word(s) racist/racism have meaning outside of biology.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolt
    Differences are differences. Its as simple as that... things that separate myself from the next person should be respected and perhaps, to some extent, even celebrated.
    Exactly. We all deserve the choice to do what we want but, we shouldn't forget who we are and what atributes we have. You can't plug in a chord without an outlet (well I suppose you could try but it wouldn't have any power). If we were all the same nothing would happen. We need discrimination but not racism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cat1981(England)
    If i call someone a black bastard i am a racist, if i call someone a ginger bastard i am not a racist, whats the difference ? History. So is racism a fictitious concept? Yes. But the word(s) racist/racism have meaning outside of biology.
    I think I can agree with this. Although, my brain is having a hard time trying to fully understand the original question... :?
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  16. #15  
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    I guess maybe since biology does not recognise humanity as split into races, it should be called 'ethnic bias' these days.
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  17. #16  
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    Im sure there is such thing as race. There are differences between black people and white people, in terms of how they look. There shouldn't be diffrences socially, but it doesnt stop some people being racist cos they think there should be differences.
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  18. #17  
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    Back2Reality,


    Seems you've made some errors here.

    There IS such a notion as ‘‘races’’ in human being. These races show up as being regional variations in individuals, and so is based on their history, and not on their outward appearance. These racial variations have been present in humanity ever since the time of Homo erectus and H. neanderthalensis

    Whether you support an Out of Africa origin of humans, or a more Multiregionalistic view, the fact remains that early sapiens were breeding with erectus and neanderthalensis, who had had many years to develop slight regional differences--‘‘ginger gene,’’ Asian skull characteristics as shared by erectus fossils, etc.

    I mentioned the ‘‘ginger gene,’’ a remnant from the Neanderthals. They lived in Europe, and early sapiens bred with them in order to have this gene deposited in them. This gene is what gives all those Irish folk their bright red hair, pale white skin, and numerous freckles. People who have this gene know that they can trace at least part of their ancestry back to these areas of Europe and ultimately to some horny Neanderthal man who just didn't understand, "God no, please don't, you ugly son of a -----."

    These differences are real, we see them everyday, and we can measure them. They are not the skin-deep concepts of race that society has brought into play, but they are racial categories nonetheless. Racism is the discrimination--whether thought or acted out--against people of different races--whether biological races or societal races--solely because these people have different racial characteristics than your own, or whatever characteristics you judge them by. Is discrimination real? Hell YES! Is racism real? Hell YES again! Is any of it right? Depends on your morals, but most would agree that racism is pretty bad all around. Then again, I see no hierarchy that can separate algae from humans, so perhaps I'm slightly narrow-minded on this.

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  19. #18  
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    Please understand that racism and discrimination are not the same.

    Discrimination: "attunement to subtle differentiation: the ability to notice subtle differences "


    Racism: "animosity toward other races: prejudice or animosity against people who belong to other races..."

    Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    I am sure that you can find a definition of discrimination ahveing to do with racism but the fact is that is not the origin of the word and not its base meaning. Discrimination is just noticing difference. I would argue that racial discrimination is, in most cases, not healthy but discrimination in general is very important.

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  20. #19  
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    Broadly speaking, there are three major races: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid. It's true that many physical anthropologists believe that, because there is as much genetic variation among the members of any given race as there is between different racial groups, the concept of race is ultimately unscientific and racial categories are arbitrary designations. That, however, is their view. It's not, for example, the view of doctors who have identified race related diseases.

    Whatever the evidence and arguments for and against the meaning of race (or the lack thereof), it should be quite clear what 'racism' has come to mean - it's been part of our vocabulary for long enough for even the most agoraphobic recluse to understand the word. For this reason, although the word may (or may not) be technically a misnomer, its continued common usage cannot be construed as a sign of hypocrisy.

    Racism is not a fictitious concept, however foul and destructive it is.
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  21. #20  
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    If anyone doubts the existence of racism they just need to look at the history books of South Africa and the US. Hell, how many of you have ever seen a sign like this?

    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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  22. #21  
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    There are genetic differences among humans. We are not all one amorphous species. We are individually products of natural selection. The closer genetically to another human being, the more alike. The more distantly genetically related, less alike.

    That's the science. What one calls groups of differences, reads into differences, etc. is subjective taxonomy and subjective as far as sociology, etc.

    Science isn't about political correctness. There are orientals. There are negroes. There are whites and a few others depending on who is doing the divisions. Humans, like all species, when isolated from each other for thousands of years, don't stop evolving. We are products of natural selection. A race by any other name is still a race.

    I wasn't plunked down on Earth by a god in the Garden of Eden. I'm a unique product of 3 bilion years of evolution and proud of it. All humans are NOT alike despite the chanting jingles on Sesame Street.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Please understand that racism and discrimination are not the same.

    Discrimination: "attunement to subtle differentiation: the ability to notice subtle differences "


    Racism: "animosity toward other races: prejudice or animosity against people who belong to other races..."

    Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    I am sure that you can find a definition of discrimination ahveing to do with racism but the fact is that is not the origin of the word and not its base meaning. Discrimination is just noticing difference. I would argue that racial discrimination is, in most cases, not healthy but discrimination in general is very important.

    I am a walking piece of algea... :?
    Well "discrimination" is now understood as in "age discrimination", "racial discrimination", "gender discrimination", "sexuality discrimination" and so on. Please be careful to use this word unless you want to offend somebody.
    where are we? what are we?
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by temur
    Well "discrimination" is now understood as in "age discrimination", "racial discrimination", "gender discrimination", "sexuality discrimination" and so on. Please be careful to use this word unless you want to offend somebody.
    I understand. I just feel that discrimination is an important word and it would be sad for it to be tainted with the idea of racism (although I fear it is too late). Personally I think the word "prejudice" is much more apropriate.

    e.i. age prejudice, racial prejudice, etc.

    Or maybe even bigatry. Anyways, I am swaying off the topic. I guess I want to point out that discrimination is not always of a "bad" or cruel intent but simply a way for us to understand difference.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Quote Originally Posted by temur
    Well "discrimination" is now understood as in "age discrimination", "racial discrimination", "gender discrimination", "sexuality discrimination" and so on. Please be careful to use this word unless you want to offend somebody.
    I understand. I just feel that discrimination is an important word and it would be sad for it to be tainted with the idea of racism (although I fear it is too late). Personally I think the word "prejudice" is much more apropriate.

    e.i. age prejudice, racial prejudice, etc.

    Or maybe even bigatry. Anyways, I am swaying off the topic. I guess I want to point out that discrimination is not always of a "bad" or cruel intent but simply a way for us to understand difference.
    True. 'Prejudice', however, is also besmirched. It isn't derogatory but negative only in certain usage.
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