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

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Old 2010-05-23, 17:29   Link #21
yoropa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
I don't think 'races' like 'black,' 'white,' etc. exist from a biological point of view.
There are multiple genes that code for skin pigmentation. Relatively recent studies have shown that the KIT ligand, a stem cell factor, actually is one of the more dominant controls of what your skin color is going to be. The experimental subject was stickleback fish, in which through genetic modification they made it so that, by changing this one factor, the fish would be the color of a human.


Above: Normal, Below: Modified at that gene

From the article on stickleback fish:
Quote:
Humans also have a Kitlg gene... previous research by other groups .... revealed that the human Kitlg gene has undergone different changes among different human populations, suggesting that it is evolutionarily significant.
The analogy I made when I was researching this for a project last year was that this gene would essentially determine your "race" and the other genes would be "to what degree." So you could have a black man be very very black or be not that black. The blackness would be this gene, the degrees would be by others.

Now this of course is still under research and I know it's going to change and what I say probably will be debunked by further observation, however biologically there is a difference between humans in terms of race, and I can guarantee you that when more research comes in, you'll be hearing more about this ligand in particular.
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Old 2010-05-23, 17:29   Link #22
Ledgem
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Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
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).
The reason you don't find it to be accurate scientifically is because the races that you're describing were defined by non-scientists. I mean, honestly - white? Black? Redskin, yellow? These were divisions created by people who saw a visual difference and made the distinction based on that alone. It's a gross oversimplification, I'll give you that, but it doesn't mean that the divisions are any less present.

But the way we're headed, we're just going to start discussing terms. I think that you and I are actually in agreement, but your disagreement stems from the use of the term "race."
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Old 2010-05-23, 17:57   Link #23
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Egyptians are from Africa and they're not classified as "black". Their features are more Mediterranean like Greece and Italy.

Racial stereotypes will never disappear as long as people remain ignorant about other races. Just because you're of a certain race that doesn't mean you have to look a certain way based on stereotypes. Like very few people seem to realize that both Chinese and Japanese can be very deep tan, depending on where in the country they originated from.
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Old 2010-05-23, 18:04   Link #24
yoropa
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Originally Posted by HayashiTakara View Post
Egyptians are from Africa and they're not classified as "black". Their features are more Mediterranean like Greece and Italy.
It's like how people in America are, by majority, European, though they're not living in Europe. Race transcends continents, especially when you look at colonialism, imperialism, expansionism, etc.
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Old 2010-05-23, 18:07   Link #25
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"Whites" in america are now simply classified as Caucasian. Unless of course you're an immigrant.
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Old 2010-05-23, 18:08   Link #26
yoropa
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White people still come from the European areas regardless.
Government classifications aren't always right, by the way.
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Old 2010-05-23, 18:13   Link #27
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The issue here is that there are multiple ways of defining race/ethnicity, and not everyone uses the same one. Some people go simply by appearance (which is the most crude way to do it); others do it by country of origin; others by genetics, and I'm sure that there are a few other ways that people make their classifications.
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Old 2010-05-23, 18:14   Link #28
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I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but even though they're "white", they're far removed from europeans. Meaning mannerisms, dialect, accents, culture... At the end of the day, these are what really identify your nationality. Despite my parents being immigrants, I'm still considered an American no matter where I go, it's like I have a big stamp on my forehead that says "from America".

Whenever I go visit my family in either China or Japan, I'm automatically classified as an American despite my genes.
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Old 2010-05-23, 18:15   Link #29
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I don't think we can't be identified as colors like 'black', 'red', or 'white' without making it sound narrow-minded/simple-minded.

A race can be of factions who inhabit a large or small area, they don't have to share the same skin coloration or other physical traits. A race can be the Israeli for example, who is most Arab but also have a mixture of other races as well.


We can debate on the purpose of ethnicity and national background but I'll keep to my word. I don't care, because it's not something to be worried about. You are born and you will die. Only person I hear succeeding in changing skin color is Micheal Jackson, and we all know how batshit crazy he was.


German + French + Barely any Irish but it's still there. I mainly identify myself as German because of my massive bloodties to the specific ancestry and ethnics of the group.

That's what this is about: Identity. Though I'm probably sounding like an idiot so I'll back off now.

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Old 2010-05-23, 18:16   Link #30
yoropa
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You're discussing nationality, I'm discussing race. There's our difference.

Let's assume an American of French heritage.
Nationally, yes, you're American.
Ethnically, no, you're not American. You'd be French.
Racially, no, you're not American. You'd be white/Caucasian/European/whatever you want to call it.

To you, Hayashi, nationality would be the most important of the three. For me, it's ethnicity.
And then culture is a WHOLE other matter.
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Old 2010-05-23, 18:33   Link #31
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Race is hard to classify. People do identify you by appearance, if you look a certain way, you're that race. But it's the mix that are hard unless you ask directly.

I'm kinda fortunate though, because of my parents, I can fit in pretty much anywhere in Asia but a few countries, like Russia and India.
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Old 2010-05-23, 20:35   Link #32
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I'm half Chinese and half Caucasian, and over the years I've always toyed with whether I feel more Chinese or American. I ultimately decided that I can't fit the image in both cases, and that to pretend that I'm one or the other is pointless. Everything is quite relative anyhow; when I'm around Americans (as is usually the case), I feel like my Chinese aspects are more pronounced, and vice versa when I'm with Chinese people. As a person I feel that it's most important to recognize who I am and just work with what I'm given by my heritage.

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I can fit in pretty much anywhere in Asia but a few countries, like Russia and India.
That's funny, when I was in Russia people said that I looked like I came from Siberia.
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Old 2010-05-23, 21:45   Link #33
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I dont care what some one says about me your call me what ever they like I hate every one any ways man every one just piss me off any ways
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Old 2010-05-23, 22:01   Link #34
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Originally Posted by Lio View Post
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.”
It's admirable that you consider yourself and others a human being first but it seems to me that you got the whole thing backwards with your poll.

When somebody insults your ethnicity the point is not if you put people into different boxes A, B, and C, the point is that he does, and in an ugly way. Nothing changes by you shrugging it of and say "Well, that doesn't concern me." because in his opinion it definitely does. You can replace ethnicity by anything else here (being an anime fan for example).

Of course it's also admirable to be able to shrug off (verbal) attacks against you, and losing your cool over an insult is never wise. But that goes for any kind of insult, including personal.



Now to this discussion about the reality of races from a genetic standpoint. They certainly exist from a cultural standpoint, simply because enough people agree that they exist. These classifications have often only marginally to do with genetics and their definitions vary from place to place and throughout history.

From a genetic standpoint things are not that simple. Let's start with the simple truth that people have always interbred and mutations happen all the time.

Most genetic variation exists in (sub-saharan) Africa so any scientific definition of race would probably result in a multitude of African races and one non-African race. Of course such a definition wouldn't find much acceptance because it's not what people want. Genetic "findings" about race are a lot about what people want to find out. That goes like this:

Consider the A, B, C people from above. Let's assume they have a long history of considering themselves very important and intensely disliking each other. Now they do some genetic studies to prove their differences. In a first step they ignore the 99.9 percent or something of the genetic code all humans have in common because that part doesn't help them with their goal.

Then they look at the remaining 0.1 percent and find that 90 percent of it varies without any clear geographical pattern such that an inhabitant of A capital will actually be genetically more similar to many people in B capital than to his neighbor next door. Who shares the same "race" then? The answer is of course also not what the researchers want so in a second step that part will be ignored too.

In the remaining 0.01 percent of DNA the scientists of X country finally find a certain a-gene that 90 percent of A people carry while most people in B and C land carry a b- and c-variant respectively. Now after ignoring all the DNA that doesn't deliver what they want they finally come in a third step[*] to the conclusion that A people are "on average" a-carriers which makes them different from the stinking B and C people who are "on average" b- and c-carriers. (Never mind the individuals.)

All in all a pretty circular argumentation. Put A, B, C people in and get A, B, C people out.

([*] That's at least what run-of-the-mill nationalists would to. The hardcore racists would skip step 3 and come to the conclusions that only 90 percent of A people are actually "true, pure" A people with a-genes and that the other 10 percent must be removed from the gene pool - one way or the other.)

Investigations of lineages concentrate typically on pure paternal lines (Y chromosomal DNA) or pure maternal lines (mitochondrial DNA) because those don't mix. But they thus tell you only about 1 out of 1024 ancestors 10 generations back (which doesn't stop people to conclude all kind of BS from their tests). And when you look at the national mix of haplogroups (which is in this case actually a sensible thing to do because it might tell you something about your 1023 other ancestors - if they all came from the same country that might not even have existed 10 generations ago.) you'll see that it changes only slowly from country to country without any clear racial boundaries.
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Last edited by Slice of Life; 2010-05-23 at 23:20.
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Old 2010-05-24, 13:01   Link #35
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Great stories guys, all the different histories and perspectives are fascinating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem
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.
That’s correct, I was talking about how Mystique describes the Americans going overkill on their own nationality (especially if they’ve never been to another country). Somehow those people think that they’re personally responsible for their country’s historical accomplishments, and of course, they try to dis-identify from anything negative that happened in their country and get offended when people point it out. That kind of thing. In contrast, Karuma pointed out that he/she acknowledges and wouldn't forgive the negative things that some countries have done even if it's his/her own country, which is admirable.

But cultural traditions on the other hand… I wouldn’t call myself a Canadian or an Asian, but I celebrate their holidays equally. We have thanksgiving with our Caucasian extended family just like every other Canadian family, and we celebrate Chinese new years with the Asian side of our family just like any other Asian family. Like what you were sort of talking about of course, all the different cultural traditions make the human race more... I really want to say colorful, but that's probably the wrong word to use in this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTinyLeaf
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.
Of course they do matter and make a difference. The problem is when you get personally offended and harbour negative feelings because of them, for instance about Singapore getting “taken over” by foreigners who just moved there for the money. While that may be a true fact, the only thing that’ll happen by getting offended is polluting yourself with all kinds of negative feelings. In the end, all you do is hurt yourself.

And that’s what this is really all about – you hurting yourself by intensifying these national and ethnic identities. I might not like the groups of people who project their identities and wave their flag everywhere they go, and I might not exactly treat them as well as the ones who don’t (if I was Singaporean, I wouldn't treat those foreign money pigs as well as your own people), but I don’t get offended by it. Why? It hurts more than the alternative – which is simply realizing that those people have to be so shallow to be waving their flag around or to feel some sort of national pride and try to look down on other nationalities that, it begins to feel ridiculous to get offended by something that they’re doing so unconsciously. I mean, they’re literally controlled by their own egos. The sense of separation and shallowness they feel from having that kind of national egoic pride, probably hurts a lot more than you getting temporarily offended by it.

As you begin to realize that there are better things to put your attention on, you find yourself just dropping it. Why let other people’s problems, which are bigger and more painful than yours, affect you?
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Old 2010-05-24, 13:42   Link #36
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Quote:
We do not live in such a world.
We live in a world that has the potential to be that kind of world.

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As you begin to realize that there are better things to put your attention on, you find yourself just dropping it. Why let other peopleís problems, which are bigger and more painful than yours, affect you?
As I realize that there is no separate mankind, just mankind. You can put people into categories, scientifically or by preference, but that doesn't change the essence people are essentially human.

People will always differ when it comes to problem, some have smaller while others have much larger, much more difficult problems. People's problems don't bother me until they slow me down, I have no love for obstructive matters that bar me from my own happiness or future.

Nationality and Ethnicity matters little to me.

Quote:
I really want to say colorful, but that's probably the wrong word to use in this thread.
Really? I think it is colorful. I don't care about the thread, I'll use whatever word is appropriate for the situation. It's because people are so sensitive to little words racial conflicts start.

As I said I'm mostly German. I'm proud to have the blood that's in me, along with the good and the bad. Germany isn't perfect, neither is French. But I love both places like they are my home.

A person can have a number of bloodline in them and can choose which to follow. Ethnicity is a matter of human perspective, but nationality wise... Not so much. As in government terms I'm considered an American.

...And so forth.
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Old 2010-05-24, 15:36   Link #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lio View Post
and I might not exactly treat them as well as the ones who don’t (if I was Singaporean, I wouldn't treat those foreign money pigs as well as your own people), but I don’t get offended by it.
You know, the Singapore example is interesting. I'm assuming, obviously, that TinyRedLeaf is Singaporean Chinese. He's railing against foreigners coming to Singapore to make a better living with no interest in mixing with the local culture, displacing the "real Singaporean".

But what is the real Singaporean, exactly? Isn't this how the Chinese (and other groups) came to Singapore in the first place? To find better opportunity back when the British were still running things? Were they foreign money pigs then too? And they didn't exactly adapt to the indigenous culture after becoming a majority. I'm not making a criticism - this is all part of history, and Canada did the same thing. It just seems like his post is filled with a lot of contradictions.

He also says this:

Quote:
Western Europeans don't identify themselves along ethnic lines as much as they do along national boundaries
He doesn't seem to realize that national boundaries in Western Europe are ethnic lines. Identifying as "Chinese" is not different from identifying oneself as "British". A descendant of the Chinese versus a descendant of the British. Unless he thinks all Western Europeans are identical and should identify this way - in which case, shouldn't he be identifying as Vietnamese too? And then the bit about "having set foot on every continent". But that's true for so many groups in the same capacity (British, Africans, Indians, etc). I'm not really sure what to make of this part.
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Old 2010-05-24, 22:27   Link #38
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Originally Posted by Theowne View Post
But what is the real Singaporean, exactly? Isn't this how the Chinese (and other groups) came to Singapore in the first place? To find better opportunity back when the British were still running things? Were they foreign money pigs then too? And they didn't exactly adapt to the indigenous culture after becoming a majority. I'm not making a criticism - this is all part of history, and Canada did the same thing. It just seems like his post is filled with a lot of contradictions.
Culture and society are ever-changing. We Americans were laughing at American society of the '70's and early '80's when we were living in the '90's - barely 10 years after that "era" ended. The '90's and '00's will likely come to be laughed at in the coming years, as well. What is the real America? It's America at this moment, and based off of the generation that I belong to and largely interact with. The same goes for Singapore, and every other (free?) country on Earth.

What Tinyredleaf is upset about, as I understand it, is that people are going to a country simply for money. They siphon money away and intend to return to their original society once they've had their fill. Americans have a similar resentment against people from Mexico for a similar reason. I can't imagine that Singapore was founded by people who felt that way, because otherwise they likely wouldn't have remained in Singapore. No, the people who establish a society - even at the expense of edging out the pre-existing society - usually have a goal in mind. People who then migrate into the new society are often attracted to something about it. Even if what they're attracted to is the lifestyle, they're there for that country. Tinyredleaf's frustration is with the people who would rather have remained in their original society, for almost every reason imaginable, but have come to another society (perhaps somewhat unwillingly) simply to obtain wealth and send it back.

His sentiment isn't unusual in any way. If you use BitTorrent, you're probably familiar with the negative sentiments that arise against a certain group of torrent participants - we call them "leechers."
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Old 2010-05-24, 22:57   Link #39
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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I can't imagine that Singapore was founded by people who felt that way, because otherwise they likely wouldn't have remained in Singapore.
That's a very simple way of looking at it. When Singapore as a British trade city developed, the major migrating groups were composed heavily of migrant laborers and merchants who were looking for somewhere to work, not looking to found a new country or colony. These people were doing exactly what you described in your last sentence. Sometimes, history just takes a direction that may not have been foreseen. In this case, due to a gradual demographic change. I'm not saying there isn't merit to the general sentiment you're expressing as a concept, I'm just not so sure it applies so freely to this particular case.
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Old 2010-05-25, 04:42   Link #40
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I'm going to point out that Race is not intrinsically boiled down to one attribute ala skin color as Yoropa has seemed to simplified it. Race in itself is also greatly linked to cultural connotations that one such race can bring, although genetically speaking yes as humans only very small variations dictate our wide pallet of skin tones, the fact of the matter is certain features are selectively bred through "race"/geographical segregation, and these are dictated by the natural barriers that help define our "nationalities" this being more prevalent in Asia and Africa as those two continents were more isolated for greater portions of their histories.

Also it's natural for humans to self aggregate into certain groups based on certain features, race happens to be one, with shared race/nationality, there is some developed sense of connectedness no matter how fleeting. We as humans like to aggregate with things that are known and have less randomness we shun spontaneity and avantgarde thinking, just look at the 15th century and the sordid past of humans. Although the digital world has help us slowly bridge the geographical barriers that once separated us we now must content with the powers that are natural to us push us towards. Just today on BBC World Report there was a call from land reform to reclaim land from the "white man" the notion of race/ethnicity/nationality are ways we preserve our genetic material creating stability for our seeds and fit naturally into our biological needs, and although we are moving away from our biological urges they still do strongly affect us. In the end humans like to associate with others that are similar and it is in our nature to like the expected and not leave our comfort zones.
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