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On 'Race' and 'Ethnicity'

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  • multiracialbookclub
    The use of the terms race and ethnicity is varied. The two terms are misused as if they are identical... The term race is based on the premise of
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 7, 2005
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      The use of the terms "race" and "ethnicity" is varied.

      The two terms are misused as if they are identical...

      The term "race" is based on the premise of
      biological and physical difference ...

      Classification of humans into distinct racial
      groups claims to draw on scientific facts.
      This endeavor is a facade lacking genuine
      scientific validity for at least two reasons.

      First, racial classification [falsely]
      assumes that pure phenotypes exist.

      This premise is difficult to prove, even if one
      accepts the conjecture that pure phenotypes had
      existed in the early stage of human existence.

      Biological intermixing between people of apparently
      different phenotypes complicates today's "scientific"
      attempt to sort people out purely by phenotypic traits.

      Second, any claim that racial differences are based
      on biological differences ignores the fact that people
      with identical physical attributes are often classified
      differently and hold different social positions in societies.

      Brazil's complicated racial categories based on skin shade
      do[es] not coincide with the black-white-colored paradigm
      sustained in South African apartheid racial discourse ...

      Even within Brazil, the socio-economic status of an
      individual frequently affects his/her racial category.

      This is reflected in the popular ideology,
      "money whitens," whereby a darker-skinned
      person may become "white" based on economic status .

      Both of these problems are apparent in Mexican society
      where scholars have noted that it is often impossible to
      distinguish between Indians and Mestizos phenotypically.
      Instead, individuals of both groups are more commonly
      categorized according to social and cultural traits.

      Distinguished from the concept of "race," "ethnicity"
      is a culturally-derived term ... defined ... as ... an
      "embodiment of values, institutions, and patterns of
      behavior, a composite whole representing a people's
      historical experience, aspirations, and worldview"

      Ethnic classification, either externally imposed
      and intrinsically engendered, often defines
      people's membership to a group.

      Aside from social constructs, ethnicity is innately more
      central to human experience and identity than race.

      In turn, ethnic distinctiveness is more likely
      to invoke an innate sense of peoplehood.
      Ethnic uniqueness thus provides an immediate identity
      marker both within a group and between groups.

      As is the case with racial categorization, ethnic
      categories are often perceived or discussed as
      though they are fixed and unchanging entities.

      However, because ethnicity incorporates language, religion,
      demarcations of territory, and other cultural traits, changes
      in people's affinity with any of them can occur over time.

      Thus ethnic categorization should be viewed as somewhat
      subjective and dependent upon human perception and identity.
      In the milieu of fluidity ethnic consciousness and "way of life" may
      be created and reinforced to maintain the status quo at certain times
      and be transformed to embrace other social constructs at other times.
      Provided that choice, process, and change are all central to ethnic
      identity, consciousness, and categorization, ethnicity must
      not be viewed as entirely objective, permanent, or static…

      [S]everal themes emerged that take our
      understanding of race and ethnicity to a deeper level.

      First, racial differences are more in the mind than in the genes.
      Thus we conclude superiority and inferiority associated with
      racial differences are often socially constructed to satisfy
      the socio-political agenda of the dominant group.

      Second, racial and ethnic categories are neither
      fixed across societies nor within a society.
      Racial and ethnic categories are fluid and changing depending
      on the socio-political context of a society at any given time.

      Third, ethnic and racial differences
      do not inherently lead to conflict.

      Instead, these differences can take on a social meaning of hierarchy
      leading to conflict when divided groups fail to negotiate.
      In such cases, the imbalance of power, not the racial or ethnic
      differences per se, is the underlying cause of the conflict.

      SOURCE(S):
      http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/chang_dodd.html
      http://www.texascollaborative.org/diversity_module.htm#ethnicity1
      http://www.paho.org/english/sha/be_v23n2-glossary.htm
    • multiracialbookclub
      On Race and Ethnicity The use of the terms race and ethnicity is varied. The two terms are misused as if they are identical... The term race is based
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 21, 2006
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        On 'Race' and 'Ethnicity'

        The use of the terms "race" and "ethnicity" is varied.

        The two terms are misused as if they are identical...

        The term "race" is based on the premise of
        biological and physical difference ...

        Classification of humans into distinct racial
        groups claims to draw on scientific facts.
        This endeavor is a facade lacking genuine
        scientific validity for at least two reasons.

        First, racial classification [falsely]
        assumes that pure phenotypes exist.

        This premise is difficult to prove, even if one
        accepts the conjecture that pure phenotypes had
        existed in the early stage of human existence.

        Biological intermixing between people of apparently
        different phenotypes complicates today's "scientific"
        attempt to sort people out purely by phenotypic traits.

        Second, any claim that racial differences are based
        on biological differences ignores the fact that people
        with identical physical attributes are often classified
        differently and hold different social positions in societies.

        Brazil's complicated racial categories based on skin shade
        do[es] not coincide with the black-white-colored paradigm
        sustained in South African apartheid racial discourse ...

        Even within Brazil, the socio-economic status of an
        individual frequently affects his/her racial category.

        This is reflected in the popular ideology,
        "money whitens," whereby a darker-skinned
        person may become "white" based on economic status .

        Both of these problems are apparent in Mexican society
        where scholars have noted that it is often impossible to
        distinguish between Indians and Mestizos phenotypically.
        Instead, individuals of both groups are more commonly
        categorized according to social and cultural traits.

        Distinguished from the concept of "race," "ethnicity"
        is a culturally-derived term ... defined ... as ... an
        "embodiment of values, institutions, and patterns of
        behavior, a composite whole representing a people's
        historical experience, aspirations, and worldview"

        Ethnic classification, either externally imposed
        and intrinsically engendered, often defines
        people's membership to a group.

        Aside from social constructs, ethnicity is innately more
        central to human experience and identity than race.

        In turn, ethnic distinctiveness is more likely
        to invoke an innate sense of peoplehood.
        Ethnic uniqueness thus provides an immediate identity
        marker both within a group and between groups.

        As is the case with racial categorization, ethnic
        categories are often perceived or discussed as
        though they are fixed and unchanging entities.

        However, because ethnicity incorporates language, religion,
        demarcations of territory, and other cultural traits, changes
        in people's affinity with any of them can occur over time.

        Thus ethnic categorization should be viewed as somewhat
        subjective and dependent upon human perception and identity.
        In the milieu of fluidity ethnic consciousness and "way of life" may
        be created and reinforced to maintain the status quo at certain times
        and be transformed to embrace other social constructs at other times.
        Provided that choice, process, and change are all central to ethnic
        identity, consciousness, and categorization, ethnicity must
        not be viewed as entirely objective, permanent, or static…

        [S]everal themes emerged that take our
        understanding of race and ethnicity to a deeper level.

        First, racial differences are more in the mind than in the genes.
        Thus we conclude superiority and inferiority associated with
        racial differences are often socially constructed to satisfy
        the socio-political agenda of the dominant group.

        Second, racial and ethnic categories are neither
        fixed across societies nor within a society.
        Racial and ethnic categories are fluid and changing depending
        on the socio-political context of a society at any given time.

        Third, ethnic and racial differences
        do not inherently lead to conflict.

        Instead, these differences can take on a social meaning of hierarchy
        leading to conflict when divided groups fail to negotiate.
        In such cases, the imbalance of power, not the racial or ethnic
        differences per se, is the underlying cause of the conflict.

        SOURCE(S):
        http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/chang_dodd.html
        http://www.texascollaborative.org/diversity_module.htm#ethnicity1
        http://www.paho.org/english/sha/be_v23n2-glossary.htm

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