• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Defining Race: A Question

Hijinx

New member
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
33
Reaction score
8
Location
NYC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
Sometimes I like to stand around in the shower and ask myself questions. It's fun at times to hear out my own thought process, but it gets embarrassing when people pass by and overhear me. One topic I've thought about recently is race. Specifically what does race mean to us? I understand the definition: a classification system used to categorize people based on various traits and in this case ethnicity. For example I'm Caribbean-American and due to my skin, I'm labeled as black.

To me, black isn't just a categorization. It has effected my way of life. Race is seen as a factor in crime, health and even sports (to name a few). Even though I try not to, I always see life through a "black lens". My view on certain subjects is different, some people just won't "get" it. People expect certain things because of my race as well.

While I urge you to think about this subject, I should note that my overall relationship with race is fairly humorous. At one point in high school I was told by a Hispanic girl, no less, that I didn't act black enough. What did it mean for her to be black? I was quiet and well-studied in high school...did she want me to be the opposite!? That's messed up.

Where am I going with all this? What does race mean to you? How much of your life or viewpoints is effected by race? Is it an injection used to hype issues (think Trayvon Martin)? Or are you like the great Stephen Colbert and don't see race/color at all? *salutes*

For reference: bit.ly/16gKxgQ
 

Penderyn

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2011
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
276
Location
UK, Cymru mostly.
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
It is American crap, based on a sick history. There is only one 'race' - the human one.
 

head of joaquin

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
12,029
Reaction score
3,530
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
Nice platitude.
Scientific fact. Race is not a genuine biological category. It's a social category. That's why Obama, although he has a white mother, it defined as black. It has nothing to due with genes (as if you could identify genes by race in any case). It has to do with how dominate groups define themselves and define minorities.

Remember this Star Trek episode:

 

MaggieD

Supporting Member
Monthly Subscriber
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
43,244
Reaction score
44,659
Location
Chicago Area
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Moderate
Scientific fact. Race is not a genuine biological category. It's a social category. That's why Obama, although he has a white mother, it defined as black. It has nothing to due with genes (as if you could identify genes by race in any case). It has to do with how dominate groups define themselves and define minorities.
Sorry, I don't buy that. Racial characteristics exist beyond skin color; i.e., bone structure...hair texture...eyelids...eyes...etc., etc. DNA testing can often identify a person's race.
 

head of joaquin

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
12,029
Reaction score
3,530
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
Sorry, I don't buy that. Racial characteristics exist beyond skin color; i.e., bone structure...hair texture...eyelids...eyes...etc., etc. DNA testing can often identify a person's race.
Nope. "Racial characteristics" as you call them, are merely phenotypes that appear with lessor or greater regularity among all populations. Because you are trained to notice them as racial categories, confirmation bias makes you see them as a racial package. You don't notice kinky hair in light skinned people or pointed noses in Asians because social norms have trained you not to see them as racial characteristic, when other characteristic exist.

The issue of whether race exists as a biological category is a genuine discussion among anthropologists, but not in the way you are framing it. It's not surprising that populations living in isolation for long periods of time would have genetic variations specific to that population (or over represented in that population). But "race" as some kind of biological category in which you can put Causcasian, Negros, Asians, American Indians, etc. is meaningless. Human populations can't be sliced up that way. There as much genetic variation between certain populations of Caucasians (from say Norway versus Yemenis) as there are between certain Caucausians and Asians. So the category doesn't fit reality. Geneticists and forensice anthropologists can look at genes and skeletons and tell us something about the population they came from (assuming the accuracy of the data base), but not in broad categorical terms.


NOVA | Does Race Exist?
 
Last edited:

sangha

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
67,218
Reaction score
28,523
Location
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Sorry, I don't buy that. Racial characteristics exist beyond skin color; i.e., bone structure...hair texture...eyelids...eyes...etc., etc. DNA testing can often identify a person's race.
Your claim has been disproven by the many people who have "passed" as members of other racial groups.

There is no scientific definition of race that can be determined by DNA. What you are referring to is the ability of geneticists to identify genes in your DNA that are found in groups considered to be members of a certain races. It's a subtle difference
 

Velvet Elvis

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Messages
4,954
Reaction score
2,195
Location
Midwest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Sometimes I like to stand around in the shower and ask myself questions. It's fun at times to hear out my own thought process, but it gets embarrassing when people pass by and overhear me. One topic I've thought about recently is race. Specifically what does race mean to us? I understand the definition: a classification system used to categorize people based on various traits and in this case ethnicity. For example I'm Caribbean-American and due to my skin, I'm labeled as black.
Are you white like Desi Arnaz Jr.? You're white.
Are you black like Tony Oliva? You're black.

It is American media that drums up this notion that "race" is based solely on skin color. In actuality, it should be more about culture. Perfect example is Desi Arnaz Jr. He was white as snow, but racially was "Hispanic" or at least "Cuban." There's also the misnomer about "hyphenated" race. You say you're "Caribbean-American." Were you born in the Caribbean? You're Caribbean. Were you born (or are a citizen) in America? You're American.

To me, black isn't just a categorization. It has effected my way of life. Race is seen as a factor in crime, health and even sports (to name a few). Even though I try not to, I always see life through a "black lens". My view on certain subjects is different, some people just won't "get" it. People expect certain things because of my race as well.
Again...media generated. If it's all they're given, the masses are bound to start believing it.

While I urge you to think about this subject, I should note that my overall relationship with race is fairly humorous. At one point in high school I was told by a Hispanic girl, no less, that I didn't act black enough. What did it mean for her to be black? I was quiet and well-studied in high school...did she want me to be the opposite!? That's messed up.
That's a good outlook to have. People need to quit beating around the bush about race (and culture). The less honest we are (even with ourselves), the more racism has a foothold in our society.
 
Top Bottom