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View Poll Results: ?
You get offended when somebody insults your background. 7 18.42%
You’ll defend your background, but you’re not that bothered by what other people say. 12 31.58%
You don’t care what people say about your background, nor do you care about others'. 12 31.58%
It’s funny when comedians do it. 7 18.42%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2010-05-22, 22:42   Link #1
Lio
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On National and Ethnic background

Have you ever noticed that some people get really upset when somebody insults their national or ethnic background, while other people couldn’t care less and even find it amusing?
I’ve noticed that while national and ethnic identity used to be a huge matter, these days more and more people are calling themselves “global citizens.”

Personally, I don’t normally see “race” or nationality. You’re human? Cool. You’re cool that I’m also human? Awesome. The only time I “categorize” people based on their national or ethnic background, is if they categorize themselves based on their own background and feel identified with them and project those feelings onto you. (The other case is if we’re poking fun at each other like comedians do. Hell, a big part of Canadian humor is making fun of our own country! We don't really have much else to work with.)

The reason I bring this up is because I get the feeling that people seem to be missing an important question:

Where did you get your background from?

Your biological parents? Well, did you choose who your parents would be and where they came from? I’ll bet you weren’t the one to choose the time and place they decided to copulate and give birth to you. Heck, you might’ve been born as a result of a crazy drunken night out, and along came your nationality and ethnicity. It just boggles my mind when people say they’re “Proud to be this nationality” or “Proud to be this ethnic background,” as if it was some kind of achievement or that they had any say in it. It’s like they’re taking pride in something that happened to them by accident.

Now, it’s understandable if you’re from a country that's involved in some kind of violent conflict (e.g. North/South Korea, India/Pakistan). Aside from that though, it just seems to me like a violent thing to do to other people and more importantly - to yourself. It's almost like you're walking around asking for trouble.

But that’s just me, and I’m just one person.

What do you feel about national and ethnic identities?


I'm talking mainly about those negative distinctions that people use to separate themselves from others and feel prideful about. There are very practical and positive reasons to make ethnic and national distinctions, say if you're doing social work with a specific group of people you'll need to understand where they're coming from.
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Old 2010-05-22, 23:44   Link #2
Arbitres
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[You don’t care what people say about your background, nor do you care about others'.]

I don't ask for a 'pure' and 'perfect' race. I ask for three things from people.

One: To do their best for the ones important to them, and by following what they believe in so long it doesn't impend on what others believe in.

Two: Living life as best as they can, regardless of the limits we have or who we are.

Three, and the most important: To expect yourself to be the best you can be. Improve without violence, improve without denouncing or degrading others.

I am 91.7 German, I shall my blood with Faustus and Siegfried. I've iron in my blood, and steel is my will. I am proud of what little French blood I do have, as it came from my mother's side.

Does this make anyone with the same blood as me right? Of course not. We are humans and thus we do many wrong or amoral things across our lifespans. That doesn't mean we can't be taught how to be the opposite.


Identities are individualities that congregate, segregate or personify a single person across a million others. Who are they? What have they done is noticeable? Should we respect the way they live(d)?


Ethnic battles are silly to squabble about. We. Are. All. Humans. We breath the same fresh air, we look at the same sky that is sometimes clear blue or foreboding grey.

But because we have no single identity we fight as a result. We turn that fresh air into polluted coughing, we make that clear blue covered with smoke of warfare and duress. We have no single identity.


I won't accept that people can't be happier then they are now. We all die. The purpose isn't to live forever! It's to build something that will. Ethnic background is nothing to hate for.

We are all different. Different appearances, different tastes... Different courses in life - but we share two things. We are born into this world, and will we die in this world. By all means let's waste our lives by using it fuel for war.

Ethnic background defines us and help mold and create us. What's wrong with them? They are tools for individualism and determinism of our own accord. Whether it be to be cynical or too be optimistic or idealistic.


If I could change my ethnic background? I wouldn't even bother. I am the one and only me, I won't waste time trying to change that. I'd rather be bettering myself, and by bettering myself bettering others.


People aren't asked what they want at birth. We take what we get and who we are from there on, and live the way we 'need' to. I am open-minded about whoever approaches me. Whether it be an Italian or an African, what I see is neither reproachable or deniable: They are people.


I consider myself German, but not pure German. What is 'pure'? What makes 'pure'? This has been discussed from time immemorial. From religion to race... It's all drivel to me. There is no pure in this world, because we as a divided species continue to rape the world with forced perspectives and hatefulness.

If you want pure, join hands and chorus. Not putting the index finger on a trigger and expecting every little thing -- anything at all -- resolve itself with the screaming of the gunshots.


Ethnic background? I don't care, and I'm not about to care. I take pride in my blood and heritage. People's derogatory name calling isn't about to change my view on it.


....Rawr.
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Old 2010-05-23, 00:27   Link #3
ash0ka
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You're right, I didn't choose my parents. I didn't get a say in what nationality/ethnicity I'd turn out to be when born. However, I'm proud of my roots because I'm proud of my parents. I'm proud of my grandparents. I'm proud of my family. Most of my family originated from Germany or other Northern European countries. It's nice to know where I came from, and I'd really love to visit the countries that once gave home to my ancestors.

I don't think it's a matter of being proud of something you have no control over, I think it's a matter of being proud of who you are and where you came from. I have Germany (where most of my ethnicity comes from) and Wisconsin (my home) tattooed on me as a reminder of where I came from. To some people, it means nothing, to me it means a lot. It represents my past and my ancestors past.

Now with all that said, I don't think it's a big deal where others come from. You were right in saying, "We're all humans." and as humans we should be able to accept one another. I just think on a smaller level, it's nice to connect with where you came from, the people from where you came from, etc... A community of sorts. We all come from different communities, but make up one big world in the end.
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Old 2010-05-23, 02:35   Link #4
Mystique
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How do I feel about national and ethnic identities, it's the very core of my eternal identity crisis, so least for me, it's a 110% major importance in my life since I grew up with the first 18 years trying to figure things out in a 95% white British UK.
Kinda confuses a ethnic minority kid during the 80's and 90's.

At present, I call myself, 'bi-cultural' simply cause I am a mix of Western and African values. My home life was (still is) purely African, my 'social and school' life was Western, thus there are tooons of things White British pple do, behave and act that makes me think:
'WTF is wrong with these people?'
And vice versa on my end from the 'natives'.
"You're British, but you don't eat/drink/do this?"

Blood realated wise I'm not a mix of anything, so that's easy enough.
Mentally however, I'm a mish-mash of both the West and non-West.
It has it's advantages and disavantages, I suppose.

As for 'pride', I don't particulary have any for the UK save the people themselves and the black humour we have and use and British English.
I guess I have pride for the quirks and ooddites we have as a tiny island, we just confuse the hell outta the world and I like it.
Don't care about the royal family and I think Scotland and Ireland much more cooler than England itself.

Then the blood that flows through me and my characteristics with it are very much Ghanian (to narrow it down to a country instead of the 2nd largest continent in the world).
While I don't have particular ties to the country or other aspects, there are moments here and there where it shows itself in me and then I'm like 'hmm... I guess I'm not that Western about it then'
I get defensive/insulted when the West continues to shove all countries of Africa as 'one mass of poverty and death', and the use of 'third world' (from whenever it began becoming mainstream in the early 2000s),
when there's so much life, beauty and strength in the countries and in the people who do live under horrible conditions, the media as usual do great injustice.
It's because life is such a struggle that many treasure it (in my opinion, 10 times more than most of us in the West who live in relative luxury, but yet, are miserable and depressed), and live day by day as if it's their last, probably sadly cause it may be.
But it means, most cannot take Life for granted and so always celebrate, sing and dance to get through the trials of life.

That's as far as it goes for 'offence'.
If anyone insults the UK, I just laugh cause no one is better at insulting the Brits than the Brits themselves
I guess as what's on my Facebook atm, this image would sum me up in a nutshell.
Spoiler:


As for the 'proud to be <yada yada>, it's just affirming how much you're proud of who you are, that's all. *shrugs*
Americans are the one that kinda seem overkill to us Brits with the entire:
USA! USA! USA! and the 'we're one and free' and 'we have libertyyyyyy~'
yada yada, you guys have a million songs about America and how great it is, with stickers and flags plasted everywhere and licence plates with state designs and stuff. xD

Even who was it... Tony Blair's DPM or Brown...?
But one of them mentioned
'we must be more patriotic like the Americans are'
Pfffft
We scoffed and ignored it. Brits are proud but we don't display it openly, I think.
When the time comes, then you'll know about it. (Eg: To hell with the Euro xD)

Other times it's just for fun, like in sports or when teasing, but for the fanatics, they're are just that.
Fanatic... better to stay away from them.
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Last edited by Mystique; 2010-05-23 at 02:55.
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Old 2010-05-23, 02:58   Link #5
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lio View Post
Personally, I don’t normally see “race” or nationality. You’re human? Cool. You’re cool that I’m also human? Awesome. The only time I “categorize” people based on their national or ethnic background, is if they categorize themselves based on their own background and feel identified with them and project those feelings onto you. (The other case is if we’re poking fun at each other like comedians do. Hell, a big part of Canadian humor is making fun of our own country! We don't really have much else to work with.)
...
It just boggles my mind when people say they’re “Proud to be this nationality” or “Proud to be this ethnic background,” as if it was some kind of achievement or that they had any say in it. It’s like they’re taking pride in something that happened to them by accident.
ash0ka largely said what I wanted to say: even though you didn't choose it, your ethnicity is still a part of who you are, a part of your identity. People take pride in their identity, be it in the form of their job, their area of study, the state or country that they live in. Ethnicity is one part of that.

I also get the feeling that you're thinking of ethnicity in terms of people waving flags and getting prideful over something that's nothing more than an identifier. For some people that's true, but in many parts our ethnicity is more than just a label. For example, the ethnic group that I identify with are the Jews (yes, it can be classified as both an ethnic group and a religious group). My family is not religious, but we celebrated the Jewish holidays, we ate certain foods that non-Jews ordinarily would not, we avoided certain foods that non-Jews would not... and so on. I'm sure that other ethnic groups do that as well. When you mix and mingle with other people, you come to find that you're drawn to and connect more easily with the people who have a similar background and similar experiences as you.

In this regard, ethnicity plays a fairly important role in who we are - our upbringing, our values. When I was younger I found all the talk of ethnicities to be annoying, because it seemed like people were being prideful for no good reason and that they were making artificial distinctions between themselves. Back then that was probably true, but now I can see that there are practical differences that arise due to coming from different ethnic backgrounds.

Isn't that also why it's funny when we have ethnic comedians? It's like being in on an exclusive joke - all those little things that you went through growing up, that none of your friends did; all of those stereotypes, and you can find it in your own life and laugh about it. Outsiders don't understand it, because they didn't have it growing up.

As to whether one would take offense when their background is insulted, that depends on the individual's pride and how much they value that part of their identity.
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Old 2010-05-23, 03:10   Link #6
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I voted for "You get offended when somebody insults your background." and I do since the most common insult I hear is "terrorist." Being of a certain race does not make you a terrorist. Knock it off guys and grow up.
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Old 2010-05-23, 03:52   Link #7
ash0ka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
I voted for "You get offended when somebody insults your background." and I do since the most common insult I hear is "terrorist." Being of a certain race does not make you a terrorist. Knock it off guys and grow up.
I find it rather ridiculous how fast the western world changed it's opinion on the Middle East. We used to believe it was an exotic and romantic place and now everyone associates it with terrorism. I think that's pretty shameful.

I'd get offended too, if my family or I was called a terrorist. It's ridiculous and uncalled for.
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Old 2010-05-23, 04:22   Link #8
Mystique
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Originally Posted by ash0ka View Post
I find it rather ridiculous how fast the western world changed it's opinion on the Middle East. We used to believe it was an exotic and romantic place and now everyone associates it with terrorism. I think that's pretty shameful.

I'd get offended too, if my family or I was called a terrorist. It's ridiculous and uncalled for.
Deaths of 3000 people on American soil, two wars, media milking it for all they can and extremists on both sides = the last 10 years of such a period.
I'm sure it'd go down in history books as another stupid moment of humanity, but for now sadly the 'let's hate them guys' points at muslims.
Maybe we should get another Aladdin disney movie to help
In your case yoropa, it's the religious aspect as well as 'race', and at present one can only grin and bear it but not add fire to the fuel.

All races and religions have negative stereotypes attached and have been attacked at some point during human history, but as time as shown before, it does stop and the blame game moves somewhere else...
Those who wanna hate, will hate regardless and use any means and ways to do so (race, nationality, religion, etc) - as I said, fanatics are just that...

@ ash - Thanks for reminding us what it was like before 11th Sep 2001
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Old 2010-05-23, 08:07   Link #9
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It isn't that important to me. Races don't even exist, biologically. Ethnicity is an interesting topic from a historical point of view and can help us understand some physiological differences (especially how we tolerate different types of foods, such as dairy or grains). Beyond that, though, there isn't much else to say. I like comedians like Dave Chappelle that make fun of racism itself because at this point in humanity we should be informed enough to realize how hilariously stupid the institution is.
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Old 2010-05-23, 09:03   Link #10
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I don't care about what people say about ym background, I do get a little upset when it comes to the people that still live where my roots come from but because of what THEY do not because of what people might say.
It is like this, my father who comes from Indonesia came from the poorest areas you could find in Jakarta, he was basically spoon fed since he had almost starved. My mother on the other hand was a white South African who grew up not in the best family but for starts one that was most likely like the rest back then quite racist.
They both moved to the country I was born in and met later on in life, that doesn't matter.
But the thing is I feel no connection to those places, even though I was raised using Indonesian values that does not mean I feel offended if someone speaks bad about them. Reason, 1. my father was left for dead there, it is a bad country.. no point in coaxing that up. 2. the religious groups in most areas messed everything up, sure it might have been nice but nowadays there are muslim groups wanting to make it a muslim state. I don't feel connected to a country where they try and blow each other up.
South Africa, almost the same reasons. I don't feel connected to that country because I disagree with almost everything it stands for. I would never want to go to ANY African country in fact because it is one messed up place. There is still racism, deny it or not but there is and that is a good enough reason for me.
If someone tries to insult me because of my BG then good for them, but I was not raised in those countries and if they think I care a damn about what other people do then so be it. I feel connected with culture but not with what other do. People who say all South Africans are racist then I would simply shrug because I know I am not and because I am not in South Africa so joke's on you pal.

In every group there is a small part ruining it for the rest and it is because this group hits the spotlight that people think everyone thinks that way.
I do not want to strike the bell but we have a lot Muslims in my country and a majority from one country is making it bad for the rest.

And here is what I hate about it, they scream about us having to respect them while they sit around and laugh in our faces with comments they dare not say in our language. I am from the Netherlands and basically the people that come from Turkey are great, no problem whatsoever, however they come from Morocco and they seem to cause trouble not only here but in their own country also. The demanding of respect for their background while having 0 respect for our own while they life here on our ground is what makes it so difficult. And it isn't just here, here they rob old ladies and make fun of people on the tram while speaking their native language. Back in Morocco they suddenly are able to speak Dutch and make fun of the people there showing off what they have etc. It is because of people like that that we think some ways about certain groups. I mean seriously you have neighborhoods filled with people from that culture and at shared open schools you get picked on by their mothers if you smoke, if they know you eat pigs meat etc. but at the same time say one thing about them and their cousins are ready to beat you to pulp because it is racist.

Don't get me wrong there are good people out there, in my street for example.
But I have also lived in the bigger cities and in those neighborhoods and the situation there is a lot different.
I was born in a small town on the countryside of this country where there are no people causing trouble, we all get along: there are no complains at public school about Christians praying at the start of the day or when Muslims celebrate their festivals, nothing. But in the bigger cities on the other side of the country we try to get along in that same way but then it is said that we Dutch show a bad example to them and they ban all our own religious Christian rituals but at the same time demand respect from us to enable theirs. Like because they cannot eat pig meat then we all have to stop eating it. I am sorry but that does tick me off, because in another country you respect each other and not demand it and I get ticked off if people ignore that and take a hand if you offer a finger
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Old 2010-05-23, 09:51   Link #11
suiryoku
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I really wish we could choose more than one option.

If someone is making a legitimate argument/statement against my ethnicity, I'll argue in defense of my people, especially if it's something really ignorant being said that needs to be corrected. Although, I hardly ever really get offended.

And here's my stance on race-related jokes. If you're willing to take the chance to tell them, be my guest. If they're truly funny, and told in absolute jest, I'll laugh obviously, but if they're poorly told and leave more of an offensive sting than anything, be prepared to catch heat from me.
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Old 2010-05-23, 10:16   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystique View Post
@ ash - Thanks for reminding us what it was like before 11th Sep 2001
I just don't think we should forget so easily how much people used to love the Middle East, and I hope one day it can return that way. It's probably only a pipe dream because people aren't going to forget 9/11 anytime soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by -KarumA- View Post
South Africa, almost the same reasons. I don't feel connected to that country because I disagree with almost everything it stands for. I would never want to go to ANY African country in fact because it is one messed up place. There is still racism, deny it or not but there is and that is a good enough reason for me.
South Africa is definitely not one of the greatest countries. Just some of the things I've read has turned me off quite a bit. Mostly the things about refugees from Zimbabwe being denied entrance into South Africa, and some even tortured and sent back to show what happens to people who try and enter S.A.
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Old 2010-05-23, 11:32   Link #13
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Old 2010-05-23, 13:13   Link #14
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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
For some people that's true, but in many parts our ethnicity is more than just a label. For example, the ethnic group that I identify with are the Jews (yes, it can be classified as both an ethnic group and a religious group). My family is not religious, but we celebrated the Jewish holidays, we ate certain foods that non-Jews ordinarily would not, we avoided certain foods that non-Jews would not... and so on.
I am reminded of the puzzled reactions of my British roommates from more than 10 years ago when I told them that I'm both Singaporean and Chinese. Bear in mind that this is Western Europe, the birthing ground of modern Nationalism with a capital "N". White, Western Europeans don't identify themselves along ethnic lines as much as they do along national boundaries (especially not after the scarring memory of World War II and the Holocaust). So, the concept of being beholden to both a national identity and an ethnic identity is something bizarrely alien to my then 18- or 19-year-old friends.

For the life of them, they could not comprehend how I could claim pride in being Chinese when I'm not from China — it confused them to no end. It did not help that memories of Tiananmen remained strong in public memory. Many a Briton probably believed privately, at the time, that it was an atrocity to be Chinese (as in, a loyal citizen of Communist China).

This sense of belonging to a heritage far larger and deeper than my nation's history is indeed difficult to describe to someone who isn't Chinese. There's nothing mystical about it but, at the same time, it is certainly built upon innumerable tales of shared woes and common weal as the Chinese disapora spread across the world over many centuries. There is not one continent, save perhaps the polar caps, where an ethnic Chinese has not set foot on.

In terms of scope and depth of feeling, perhaps only a Jew can relate to what it means to be Chinese. Both are ethnic groups whose people imbibe from a deep pool of shared history. It's not an accident that the Chinese are sometimes described as the Jews of the East, and regarded with the same feelings of resentment and suspicion as those experienced by many Jews in their adopted homelands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
It isn't that important to me. Races don't even exist, biologically. Ethnicity is an interesting topic from a historical point of view and can help us understand some physiological differences (especially how we tolerate different types of foods, such as dairy or grains). Beyond that, though, there isn't much else to say.
By the time I was seven, I was already a patriot. While other classmates were drawing pictures of their favourite toys, I was drawing maps of Singapore or my national flag.

By the time I was 10, I was a Chinese chauvinist. This was during the 1980s, when Japan was at the height of its economic power, the leader of the first four Asian tiger economies — South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Pundits and analysts alike were already declaring the coming of a Pacific century. I read every book and every encyclopaedic entry I could find about China and Chinese culture. (The irony hadn't yet crossed my childish mind that I was reading such reference material in English.)

By the time I was 15, I was enrolled in one of the top — if not the top — Chinese schools in my country. My ethnic fervour had, by now, hit full swing. To my mind, Western civilisation was morally bankrupt, decadent and impotent. Liberal freedoms were a corrupting influence, unsuited for societies built on Asian values (read, Confucian values) of thrift, hard work and piety to both family and enlightened authority. I thought in terms of social justice for all people in my country, regardless of race, language or religion, convinced that this represented the epitome of a truly great civilisation. My nationalism, too, was at its peak, convinced as I was about the superiority of my country's system of law and meritocracy. Such a society was colour-blind, I fervently believed. How far you could go depended solely on your ability, and not on your background.

And then I was 20, an officer in the armed forces, a hopelessly naive youngster put in charge of men who cared more for real, worldly affairs than for highfalutin ideals. Their concerns were about their monthly stipends, their routine chores (the fewer the better), and where they could go next for cheap sex and booze. I learnt, the harsh way, that the difference between ethnic groups is real, and not just some rhetorical point to be shot down in academic debate. The Malays in my platoon were friendly and loyal, ever dependable and seldom ambitious. The handful of Indians were courteous to my face, but crafty and conniving behind my back. And the Hokkien peng (our equivalent of redneck grunts), they were, ironically, the hardest of all to manage despite our shared ethnicity. Treat them well, and they would treat you well in kind. Pamper them too much, though, and they lose all respect for you. Heaven help you then, for an officer who commands no respect is as good as lost. Among these men, it's useless being an idealistic nice guy — idealism is cheap; strength and capability count for everything.

I was a terrible officer in those days. Far too immature, and far too raw for a role I was not yet ready to play.

At 25, I was completing my final year of university in Britain. Three years abroad in a foreign land opened my eyes to something I had not realised in all my 20-plus years of life: I had experienced, at last, what it means to be in the minority. I realised, at last, that the colour-blind, meritocratic system I was so proud of had its flaws. Unwittingly or not, it institutionalised certain cultural norms that favoured the majority ethnic group over the minorities. At the same, I had savoured some of the freedoms we've sacrificed for our achievements and wondered fully, for the first time, whether it had all been truly worthwhile.

I learnt, also, that no matter how enlightened people claim to be, they would inevitably judge you by the colour of your skin. Because, after all, that is the first thing people see. When an European sees me, they wouldn't think, ah, here's a Singaporean. They see only a Chinese man in front of them, and they would naturally expect me to know something about my ethnic identity. It is an altogether understandable response, even if it is at times unfortunately stereotypical.

And these were no longer the halcyon days of the 1980s. Japan was an economic powerhouse no longer, wallowing in a recession it could not seem to climb out of. Thailand had just gone bust not more than two years past, sparking painful adjustments to currency values and forcing many Thai students to return home, unable any longer to afford their tuition fees. And, most damning of all, Tiananmen happened. Asia was no longer "the future" — it was again smugly consigned to the trash heap of history by the same few pundits who were proclaiming its ascendancy a mere decade ago.

And now, I'm 35. Years of very liberal immigration policies have led my country to be swamped by people from all over the region, from the Pinoys to the Indonesians, to the Indians from India and the Chinese from China. Amid the flood of foreign people, foreign habits and foreign tongues, I find myself increasingly boxed in, asking — as I'm sure many other Singaporeans do — where the "real" Singaporean has gone. I find feelings of resentment rising unbidden whenever I hear people speaking Mandarin with a distinctly foreign accent — it feels as though my homeland has been taken over by people who care not a whit about it. They mix mostly among their own countrymen and care, as they rightly should, only about making enough money to send home to their families, saving for the day when they too would return home to the place they truly care about.

I am not proud of these feelings. It is only through my education and upbringing that I am able to keep them in check, recognising them for the unworthy thoughts that they are.

But many of my countrymen are not in as fortunate a situation as I am. And so, the resentment simmers just under the surface. All it would take is a careless word, spoken out of context, for old hatreds long thought buried to explode into headlines once again.

Americans like to talk about "culture wars". Theirs is a country as big as a continent, capable of accommodating such "wars" with lots of room to spare. Singapore enjoys no such luxury.

======================

So, can one truly claim that ethnicity and nationality do not matter? In an ideal world, that would be so. It would be romantic to think it possible.

We do not live in such a world.
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Old 2010-05-23, 13:48   Link #15
ChainLegacy
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Of course they matter. From them comes culture, art, heritage, and history. I understand your sentiment and I personally do not like what globalism is doing to culture. True, a world community is a great concept but as you said an idealistic one. And no historian/anthropologist can deny what interesting extremes are brought about by isolation.

But what is your point to me? Your experience does not make race a biological truth. I do not wave away ethnicity as meaningless. I do, however, stand by my claim that race is a fictional construct. It doesn't matter to me but I'd have to be living on a deserted island to think it doesn't matter to other people around the world. But, no matter how much people care about race, or how much conflict and strife it has created, objectively it does not exist. That's not idealism. That's just fact.

Also, read up on American history. The entirety of it is culture wars, more or less. The Native Americans sure didn't have much 'room to spare.'
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Old 2010-05-23, 13:58   Link #16
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Originally Posted by ash0ka View Post
South Africa is definitely not one of the greatest countries. Just some of the things I've read has turned me off quite a bit. Mostly the things about refugees from Zimbabwe being denied entrance into South Africa, and some even tortured and sent back to show what happens to people who try and enter S.A.
It is mostly for the same reason why illegal immigrants who cross with boats into Europe are send back. There is not enough space and too many people do it. They swim across crocodile invested waters and nearly half of them get killed.
There's a docu on TV right now which is very interesting because it is both about the current Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The situation in SA is very dangerous right now for white people. This because now every day a white farmer is being killed by ethnic black groups. Their leader was even singing a song named Kill the boer - Kill the farmer which was sung years ago in the time of Apartheid.
My grandfather was part of the apartheid and was racist I believe, he was a drinker so he died very young and I never knew him, but right now things have turned the other way around. The new president gives black people houses and money while the white is banned into self made camps outside Johannesburg. The president said he would visit those camps 2 years ago which he never did. People there live in tents, hundreds of them and have no work because it is now given to the black community there. And right now the black community is killing the white again and we do not know why exactly.

Zimbabwe is right now like this, remember the "great" opposition who fought against Mugabe? Well last thing we heard was that they decided to work together and ever since not a single word was spoken about the situation there, I noticed and I fear the great opposition leader is now enjoying as much of the champagne bought from the state money as Mugabe himself. It is horrible that he as well ended up being a selfish follower who just wanted his share of the money.

Anyway they decided to split the farmland owned by white people, they just said to them "give it away" and they didn't refund any of it. The land was then split up and given to followers of Mugabe, to war veterans, youth gangs and party members. It is chaos there in Zimbabwe, no work, no hospitals nothing. People with aids and no medication work on the land for a pay of 32 dollars a month. People saying anything about Mugabe are still getting killed and many people steal and kill for money. They have no education nothing, I can understand a little why you would say no to letting them into a country. In our country and in particular France the majority from those countries who fled here or stay here illegally turn to crime and continue to steal and murder because they never had anything else and know nothing better.

I think it is also because of the world championship soccer that the people are being blocked out. The country is trying to show off how good they are, they named one of the stadiums after a black protester who firstly created the song Kill the boer which angers a lot of white people because the song provokes how they should be killed and murdered. But it isn't just farmers being killed, old ladies strapped up, raped and murdered like pigs.

But that is the last of it, do not want to derail the thread any further really

I am proud of my background, but mostly of my culture. I care little for what happened historically because I wasn't there when it happened and only know the South Africa that is today. But hearing messages like that worries me and understandably angers me if they would call my family or me racist when not only my mother has changed as she was always against apartheid but also because it is now the other way around.
Same with Indonesia, people can tell me how great it is to come from such a cultural country but I would never forgive the country that lets children starve in the street.
I respect the culture but I cannot forgive the social situation inside a country or understand if a tourist says it is a great place because they never see the bad areas and it is also because of that that I would never want to go to ancestors homeland. I would still be limited as a tourist and I would feel ashamed to say I am proud of a nation where people get killed due to racism or where people starve in the streets.

Last edited by -KarumA-; 2010-05-23 at 14:09.
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Old 2010-05-23, 15:45   Link #17
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Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
But what is your point to me? Your experience does not make race a biological truth. I do not wave away ethnicity as meaningless. I do, however, stand by my claim that race is a fictional construct.
I don't understand - you bring up race in the context of a biological truth, and then claim that it's fictional. It is a biological truth. Why do you think that only Africans are afflicted with sickle cell anemia, and the Jews with Tay Sachs disease? Why are certain ethnic groups predisposed to certain health conditions over others? These are due to genetic factors that arose within confined populations.

Granted, we may be using the term "race" too liberally - we're all humans, that's true, and we can produce offspring even between different ethnic groups. Perhaps calling it "sub-races" would be more appropriate.
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Old 2010-05-23, 16:24   Link #18
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Well, I suppose I'll start by explaining my background a little. I'm of asian decent, my father is Japanese and my mother is Chinese. I'm the first in my family to be born in the United States, first generation if you will. I was born and raised in the Bronx, so I was never subjected to any kind of racism since it's hard to be racist in an area where everyone is racially different. So I never felt racial discrimination before, I kinda thought it was a thing of the past and only existed on T.V.

Then my family decided to move to Florida ( I was turning 17 at the time ), and for the first time I experienced it. The majority population was caucasian, and I for the first time felt like a minority. I joined the varsity football team in my school, luckily the head coach was from Brooklyn, coach Bernhardt, so we got along quite well. But a lot of the teammates were rednecks... I would get sny remarks and "asian jokes", at first I held back and not lose my temper... the last thing I wanted was to get kicked out of school again... er lets leave it at that. But anyway, I held it in for as long as I could until it started to get out of control, so it resulted in me getting into an inevitable fight.

Fortunately for me, it happened during football practice after school. Coach decided to talk to me alone since it was me against three other guys... so common sense was that it wasn't me that started it right? I was reluctant but he managed to convinced me to tell everything. One thing for sure is I've never seen the coach so pissed off before. Those guys didn't get kicked off the team but their punishment was harsh to say the least.

Well, after that incident... I started to become a little sensitive to the way people look at me, and my fuse becomes a bit short. Well, my time in the dirty south was short, since after four years of living in there I moved to Seattle, where it's as much of a melting pot as N.Y. was.

Long story short, yeah, I get pissed off. Sorry to bore you guys with my life story
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Old 2010-05-23, 16:29   Link #19
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Yeah, Im gonna second legdem on this, what do you mean "objectively it does not exist", it exists within us. O.o
(You trying to justify this as an athropologist or something?)

It exists as Ledgem says biologically, it has certain traits and physical characteristics that are sometimes exclusive to certain races and this does make an impact on the daily lives of humans.
It's one of our ways of ID'ing ourselves as well to each other and bringing over a set culture with it.


And I wouldn't call the slavery issue in America a 'culture thing' either. I doubt the KKK were thinking:
'Hmm, he has Afro hair, let's burn him!'
Even then, the prejudice was so inane, it was pathetic, but that being at the most 'basic', it went down to colour of black people's skin and all the physical features that came with it.
That was a 'race' thing.

Attitude wise it shouldn't matter, but biologically and physically, it does.
On a semi 'light' note, me trying to find an afro hairdresser in Tokyo is pretty dire. Lady Luck was seriously on my side to find perhaps the only japanese lady who has mass experience in black hair care but make up and hair cannot be taken care of as they are for the Japanese, especially make up.

Our skin qualities are different, it all plays a part into how I have to live my life around here and take care of myself

PS:
Epic stories from TLR, and I need to read from karuma later, but thanks for the posts guys <3
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Old 2010-05-23, 17:19   Link #20
ChainLegacy
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And I wouldn't call the slavery issue in America a 'culture thing' either.
I would. Slavery was/is a cultural institution. The idea of race, and the supposed qualities of each race are also cultural constructs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I don't understand - you bring up race in the context of a biological truth, and then claim that it's fictional. It is a biological truth. Why do you think that only Africans are afflicted with sickle cell anemia, and the Jews with Tay Sachs disease? Why are certain ethnic groups predisposed to certain health conditions over others? These are due to genetic factors that arose within confined populations.

Granted, we may be using the term "race" too liberally - we're all humans, that's true, and we can produce offspring even between different ethnic groups. Perhaps calling it "sub-races" would be more appropriate.
Which I myself brought up in my first post in the thread (using nutrition as an example). You got it in your second paragraph - I don't think 'races' like 'black,' 'white,' etc. exist from a biological point of view. Ethnicity on the other hand is real. The genetic diversity in Africa is higher than anywhere else in the world, and yet they can all be lumped into one category as 'black;' this is what I don't find accurate scientifically. And also the entire idea is kind of messy, are Australian Aborigines to be considered black, as well Negritos, or Andaman Islanders? It just isn't very scientific.

I still agree with the idea of differences between different groups of people. I'm speaking more against the idea of 'race' when we can learn much more from ethnic background biologically (and often culturally as well).
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