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Leftist thought on Race

Leftist thought on Race
October 04, 2011, 12:22:56 AM
This is a common resource used to tackle the issue of race in modern university/college discussion:

http://www.pbs.org/race/001_WhatIsRace/001_00-home.htm

Correct me if I'm wrong on some of these points, as I am looking to get a better understanding.

Quote from: quick facts about race
Race is a modern idea: Ancient societies did not divide people according to physical differences, but according to religion, status, class, or even language

From what I recall,  (many?) ancient societies were racially homogenous. Moreover, physical differences imply more than just physiology, but a particular cultural personality/genetic predisposition to favorable qualities for survival within your race.

Quote from: quick facts about race
Race has no genetic basis: Not one characteristic, trait, or gene distinguishes all members of one so-called race from all members of another so-called race.

Except that race is a collection of traits and there is no easy distinction from one race to the next because of geographic proximity and interbreeding which leads to different degrees of variance among the races. However, it is easy to distinguish between the 3 (or 4?) major racial groups.

Quote from: quick facts about race
Slavery predates race: Throughout history, societies have enslaved others, often as a result of conquest or war, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural inferiority. In America, a unique set of circumstances led to the enslavement of peoples who looked similar.

I don't understand how the phrase "slavery predates race" makes sense, let alone helps to strengthen their leftist claims. Is this some sort of odd way of saying that conquest and enslavement of peoples occur due to mere geographical proximity and convenience? Are they trying to tell me that those who conquered and enslaved did not justify their actions with claims of superiority? And the part about America? I don't even know what to make of that.

Quote from: quick facts about race
Race justified social inequalities as natural: As the race concept evolved, it justified extermination of Native Americans, exclusion of Asian immigrants, and taking of Mexican lands. Racial practices were institutionalized within government, laws and society.

Racism is bad so that means any distinction and discussion of race must automatically lead to more racism. By this quick fact, I'm sure to be feeling an adequate amount of white guilt for oppressing the ancestral minorities (even though I am not personally responsible, nor of Western European descent).

Quote from: quick facts about race
Skin color is only skin deep: Most traits are inherited independently of one another. The genes for skin color have nothing to do with genes for hair texture, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, or athletic ability.

This one just seems like it's completely full of shit. You're telling me that East Asians do not share similar skin color, hair texture and eye shape let alone a predisposition to a relatively high IQ on average? Or that blacks share the same except with a predisposition to a relatively low IQ and also happen to mature quicker out of the womb, making them physiologically more predisposed to excelling in physical feats?

Quote from: quick facts about race
Most variation is within, not between "races": Of the small amount of human genetic variation, 85% exists within any local population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans, or Cherokees. Two random Koreans are likely to be as genetically different as a Korean and an Italian.

Lewontin's Fallacy applies here. It becomes rather easy to genetically distinguish once you consider several alleles at once.

Quote from: quick facts about race
Race is not biological, but racism is still real. Race is still a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and society have created advantages to being white. This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.

If you're not feeling the white guilt by this point, then this "fact" makes it very clear that you should be. Hey, what about Affirmative Action? They hire women, people with disabilities, natives and visible minorities before they consider a white male. Yea, sounds like a big advantage to being white.


The rest of the site has "interactive activities" like visual race identification in which you try to match the face with the race. I got less than half of them right. I guess this means that I'm racist or something.... (cue more white guilt). They also urge you to "explore why race is not biological" throughout. Comes with silly "Race: The Power of an Illusion" video.

Apparently, neighborhoods turn into shit not because minorities move in, but because white people leave the areas due to "perceiving" a decline.

Also, let's not forget that pbs is an organization. This apparently makes them a valid source for your paper (because people could write anything on a .com site but not .org, har har).

Alrighty then, I'm just going to engage in interracial marriage now because I find black asses to be bigger than white ones and this is a sufficient and fundamental basis upon which I will conduct all my relationships, kthxbai.


Re: Leftist thought on Race
October 04, 2011, 12:31:57 AM
Quote from: quick facts about race
Slavery predates race: Throughout history, societies have enslaved others, often as a result of conquest or war, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural inferiority. In America, a unique set of circumstances led to the enslavement of peoples who looked similar.

I don't understand how the phrase "slavery predates race" makes sense, let alone helps to strengthen their leftist claims. Is this some sort of odd way of saying that conquest and enslavement of peoples occur due to mere geographical proximity and convenience? Are they trying to tell me that those who conquered and enslaved did not justify their actions with claims of superiority? And the part about America? I don't even know what to make of that.

Quote from: quick facts about race
Race is not biological, but racism is still real. Race is still a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and society have created advantages to being white. This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.

If you're not feeling the white guilt by this point, then this "fact" makes it very clear that you should be. Hey, what about Affirmative Action? They hire women, people with disabilities, natives and visible minorities before they consider a white male. Yea, sounds like a big advantage to being white.

In reference to the first quote - perhaps what they mean (but they should've fucking worded it this way) is that slavery predates our conception of the idea of "race". In which case, that would be correct. The second point of that quote is up for debate. How are we to know if ancient peoples thought of others as inferior? I wasn't there; I have no idea. I'm sure they thought of the ones they captured as inferior, hence making them slaves. The part about America is incredibly vague. Yeah, it was a UNIQUE set of circumstances. WHY don't they DESCRIBE the circumstances? Americans brought over Africans 'cause all of the natives they enslaved died to diseases they contracted from Americans(Europeans) that they hadn't encountered. The Africans didn't have those problems with disease. It's a situation that only the USA had (to my knowledge). But still, this whole spiel seems like it was written by a 12 year old.

As for the second quote, don't act surprised. White people are all intrinsically evil. All of them. No, that's not racist at all! Only blacks can be the victims of RACITS!!!

Re: Leftist thought on Race
October 04, 2011, 01:18:38 AM
There exist many shades of gray in practice -> In theory, black = white

I realized as soon as I saw the "Guess their race" quiz why you couldn't guess. The portraits are so small and grainy that you can't see what they look like.

Just for fun, I wrote down two possibilities for each mug before submitting and every one of them was one of those choices. I could even tell that the black woman who has very light skin (for a bi-racial half-black) was black. If you read what the people say about themselves, they admit they are frequently mistaken for the wrong race and are of mixed heritage. Any surprise their heritage cannot quickly and easily be determined by visual examination of a very low quality image?

I can understand if they want to quell bigotry or show that not everything/everyone can be neatly classified into a handful of categories, but when you resort to tricks and outright falsehood* it shows that "equality" has nothing to do with genuine equality or meritocracy.

*about the inheritable of traits - calling "unscientific" what every scientific inquiry of the subject has confirmed.

Just had to write so I don't stew on this.