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Is race a useful category?


maize
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I find our race designations to be rather arbitrary.

 

I mean, my friend might check the box for black and I might check the box for white, but what does that really mean? Some "black" people have skin paler than that of some "white" people. An African American may have more ancestry in common with me (both black and white) than I have with a "white" person from Saudi Arabia or Brazil.

 

Why are some groups "races" and some just "ethnicities"?

 

In thinking the whole designation system is antiquated and we should move beyond it.

 

I have more European ancestry than anything else, but DNA testing has confirmed Native American and African ancestry--both of them on both sides of my family.

 

I know it is sometimes useful to discuss groupings of people with shared characteristics or ancestry or culture or history or circumstances, but race? Gah folks, we're all human.

Edited by maize
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Race is a social construct and arbitrary and fluid.  This is a fun read and shows how ideas change over time: https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2015/10/02/the-census-and-the-social-construction-of-race/

 

Are you asking why we have race options on census forms?

 

ETA and this old favorite for people who may not know it: http://www.americananthro.org/LearnAndTeach/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=2062

 

 

Edited by bibiche
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They use it for research and to distribute tax-funded benefits among communities.

 

I don't like it, but I guess I could see it being somewhat useful from the research perspective.  Also there are some legitimate health reasons why race matters.

 

It would be interesting to do a long-term study where none of the participants report race until the very end, and see if that differs from the results where race is tracked for research purposes all along.  Is it better or worse to tweak things based on racial differences that show up in studies?  (For example, educational outcomes.)  Or is it a wash?

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From an intellectual perspective, I agree with you.  But from a practical one...  race is one of several demographic patterns that have a significant influence on the way we experience and interact with the world.  It's a nice theory that we can easily move on, but in reality, people prefer people who look and act similarly to them. We might have trouble with accepting the concept, but I think psychology (effects of mirroring on positive emotion), sociology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and plain old common sense suggest we feel we are safest when we are in the familiar.   There is a fair amount of diversity on this board, but apart from trolls, it seems pretty obvious to me that even here, it is easy to misinterpret the intentions of someone with very different life experiences from you.

 

Not that I'm saying it's the only thing that matters.  It's one of several factors that change how you interact with the world and your perceptions of others.

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I do not think it is a helpful catagory unless you are getting medical tests/care for something specific to your race or a hair cut where your race affects your hair. 

 

How does one quantify someone's culture, income, socioeconomic status, etc? Simplifying it by race is quite offensive. While averages may make it so that a particular race, on average, might have more or less education, certain religious beliefs, etc etc...those are only averages. And we are in a multicultural time where many people have a variety of backgrounds in their histories. 

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I do not think it is a helpful catagory unless you are getting medical tests/care for something specific to your race or a hair cut where your race affects your hair. 

 

 

 

Um, hair is hair.  Whether you get a good hair cut is dependent on your hairdresser.

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From an intellectual perspective, I agree with you. But from a practical one... race is one of several demographic patterns that have a significant influence on the way we experience and interact with the world. It's a nice theory that we can easily move on, but in reality, people prefer people who look and act similarly to them. We might have trouble with accepting the concept, but I think psychology (effects of mirroring on positive emotion), sociology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and plain old common sense suggest we feel we are safest when we are in the familiar. There is a fair amount of diversity on this board, but apart from trolls, it seems pretty obvious to me that even here, it is easy to misinterpret the intentions of someone with very different life experiences from you.

 

Not that I'm saying it's the only thing that matters. It's one of several factors that change how you interact with the world and your perceptions of others.

I agree that humans are social creatures and that "likeness" is a strong factor in our attractions and comfort in interactions.

 

But why categorize some particular groupings as race and elevate them to a highly significant level? Does a person who has lived their entire life in Mongolia need to be grouped with a third generation Japanese American as "like" types?

 

Yes there are some medical generalizations that apply broadly to certain races, but really we're approaching a point where genetically individualized medicine can be a reality. Knowing my particular genome is going to be much more useful than knowing what the largest "racial" component of my ancestry is.

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While the lines are blurred, race has some meaning in medicine. For example, some antihypertensive drugs are less sensitive in the Black population. Likewise, some diseases are more prevalent in Oriental populations.

 

FYI  "Oriental" is an outdated term as it is Eurocentric.  :)

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Um, hair is hair. Whether you get a good hair cut is dependent on your hairdresser.

Yes and no. Chemically, hair is hair. But as far as cutting and styling and chemical processes (color, perms, relaxers) hair behaves very differently. The exact same haircut on Asian, African, and European hair (as would be the typical hair for natives of that region- I trust readers can follow my thoughts and not point out that someone of Asian ancestry can have been born and live in Africa etc. I also apologize if I'm using incorrect terms.) will look very different and require different styling products and techniques to achieve a similar finished look. And a perm that would melt the hair off of my lilly-white blue-eyed-blonde DD wouldn't even put a hint of a wave in her Chinese friend's hair.

 

I am fully capable of working on all hair types, but due to my experience with available clientele I performed the vast majority of my services on "typical white" hair, and about 75% males. So I could be an excellent hairdresser for balding white dudes but not an ideal choice for someone needing a relaxer and tight cornrows.

 

So basically, although I believe 1million% that people are people, if I were returning to salon work today race would be a useful category for me so I could work in the right salon for my skills.

 

Although I think it would be absulotely amazinto work in a salon where the staff and clientele were varied, but I don't know of any in my area.

Edited by Rebel Yell
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The United States has a long history in which certain people have been treated differently, under law, than others.  That treatment was based on both a person's legal racial status, and on their perceived racial status.  The laws controlled whether you had any personal agency whatsoever - basically, being a prisoner of war and then having your children and their children and so on also be prisoners - but were gradually changed.  Even a hundred years after the prisoners were freed, current friends of mine lived under rules that controlled where they could live, where they could eat, where they could pee, who they could marry, their access to education, to libraries, to social and financial capital, and to employment.  People still living today were charged with enforcing those rules, either through their job responsibilities or through unwritten social codes.  Some of them passed their views of the rules - the way things should be - down to their children, who were raised during a time of great controversy as to whether those rules should be re-written.  Do not, for a  minute, think that the rules have been forgotten or unlearned by everyone who stood to benefit from them.

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The United States has a long history in which certain people have been treated differently, under law, than others. That treatment was based on both a person's legal racial status, and on their perceived racial status. The laws controlled whether you had any personal agency whatsoever - basically, being a prisoner of war and then having your children and their children and so on also be prisoners - but were gradually changed. Even a hundred years after the prisoners were freed, current friends of mine lived under rules that controlled where they could live, where they could eat, where they could pee, who they could marry, their access to education, to libraries, to social and financial capital, and to employment. People still living today were charged with enforcing those rules, either through their job responsibilities or through unwritten social codes. Some of them passed their views of the rules - the way things should be - down to their children, who were raised during a time of great controversy as to whether those rules should be re-written. Do not, for a minute, think that the rules have been forgotten or unlearned by everyone who stood to benefit from them.

But is there something that sets "race" apart as more significant than other types of groupings? It seems to me that it is elevated as a higher level grouping than most others.

 

Does whether I fit into the category of black or white matter more than whether I fit into the categories of Hispanic vs. Anglo or Christian vs. Muslim vs. Atheist? What about American vs. Nigerian?

 

If I am a Hispanic Muslim American with mixed ancestry, is it really important to identify me as black or white? If I identify as black does that mean I somehow "belong" more with a black Nigerian Christian than with a white Hispanic American Muslim?

 

I'm not by the way arguing one way or the other, I'm wondering and asking questions.

Edited by maize
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It's not a catagory that makes sense biologically.  It's a cultural differentiation, very closely tied to class.

 

Ethnicity is really a more logical catagory, including for things like diseases associated with "race" which in that case actually would be better attached to ethnicity, or even mundane things like hair texture.  Not all black persons are actually more likely to suffer from certain diseases, for example, it would really depend more on where their ancestors actually came from.

 

However, because race has had real impact culturally for whole groups of people, it does have a real existence that it isn't easy just to ignore or drop.  It's affected people's history and their current circumstances.  It's also become part of many people's self-identity.

 

In many ways I do think it would be better, healthier, to move to a kind of ethnicity model and abandon thinking about race as a real thing.  It is something that would undoubtable take a lot of time, and it might be that it could only happen once it did not have such strong social consequences.  OTOH, I do wonder if a conscious effort in that direction might help that happen faster.

 

I suppose the move to identify as African-American rather than black might be seen as an attempt to do that.  I wonder though if it isn't a limitation that "African" is really an awfully large group to try and derive an ethnic identity from.  For example, while I could say most truthfully that my ethnic identity is "European" I don't know that I feel some sort of European identity - it's not something I am connected to and it's too many different things.  I do however have a significant connection to certain aspects of that - my Canadianess first, then Scottish and English and secondarily German and Irish.  I don't feel much other than intellectual connection to my French and Dutch heritage.  I can see though my connections concretely to the others in our family customs, our traditions and foods, the way we speak, our stories.  I think for the majority of the black families I know from here, they have an ethnic identity that is primarily North American.  Some trace their ancestry back to a specific migration from the Caribbean but even that is historical rather than something that affects family culture.  So - for those people, race and ethnicity are really quite close.  (It's quite different however for black families who actually have more recent connections to specific ethnicities, they often identify by those more - they see themselves as Sudanese or Trinidadian first .)

 

 

 

 

 

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But is there something that sets "race" apart as more significant than other types of groupings? It seems to me that it is elevated as a higher level grouping than most others.

 

Does whether I fit into the category of black or white matter more than whether I fit into the categories of Hispanic vs. Anglo or Christian vs. Muslim vs. Atheist? What about American vs. Nigerian?

 

If I am a Hispanic Muslim American with mixed ancestry, is it really important to identify me as black or white? If I identify as black does that mean I somehow "belong" more with a black Nigerian Christian than with a white Hispanic American Muslim?

 

I'm not by the way arguing one way or the other, I'm wondering and asking questions.

I don't know. I think it's personal. Some people need to identify groups, some people need/want to identify with a certain group for their self identity.

 

I think it helps our brains to sort people out because those mental bins can give us a way to sort out meaning. However, those same bins can lead to discrimination.

 

So maybe useful but not helpful? I really don't know.

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Oh, FWIW, practically hair care has a racial aspect here, most black women go to salons that specialize in African/black types of hair, and for certain services like microbraids that is probably the only place to go.  It's not like it's exclusive or anything, I used to go to a salon like that because it was next to my house, but I think people find they can get more expertise at the services they want that way.

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But is there something that sets "race" apart as more significant than other types of groupings? It seems to me that it is elevated as a higher level grouping than most others.

 

Does whether I fit into the category of black or white matter more than whether I fit into the categories of Hispanic vs. Anglo or Christian vs. Muslim vs. Atheist? What about American vs. Nigerian?

 

If I am a Hispanic Muslim American with mixed ancestry, is it really important to identify me as black or white? If I identify as black does that mean I somehow "belong" more with a black Nigerian Christian than with a white Hispanic American Muslim?

 

I'm not by the way arguing one way or the other, I'm wondering and asking questions.

 

A few hundred years of slavery, and then scores of years of pretty terrible government oppression, and then an incredibly unifying but difficult decades long journey to move beyond that  past that has made the African American race category an important identifier for many people.

 

Should the past matter to people who weren't there? Ask Christians if they care what happened to Peter and Paul.   Ask Americans if they think the Mayflower and / or Westward expansion and / or the US's "greatest generation" is at all relevant to their own identity.   Some will say "nah", many will say yes.

 

You decide your own identity, not me.

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A few hundred years of slavery, and then scores of years of pretty terrible government oppression, and then an incredibly unifying but difficult decades long journey to move beyond that  past that has made the African American race category an important identifier for many people.

 

You decide your own identity, not me.

 

I think we could say this is more than a historical thing too.  I mean, if you look at many American families, whatever their race, they are actually physically a mix of many ethnicities, and they have their own American history that goes beyond wherever their historical origins are.

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A few hundred years of slavery, and then scores of years of pretty terrible government oppression, and then an incredibly unifying but difficult decades long journey to move beyond that past that has made the African American race category an important identifier for many people.

 

Should the past matter to people who weren't there? Ask Christians if they care what happened to Peter and Paul. Ask Americans if they think the Mayflower and / or Westward expansion and / or the US's "greatest generation" is at all relevant to their own identity. Some will say "nah", many will say yes.

 

You decide your own identity, not me.

African American is certainly a significant grouping, but it isn't really a race.

 

Which is kind of what I am getting at. Why do we have a category called race that is somehow seen as having more significance than other types of groupings? Who decides which groups are significant enough to be called races rather than, say, ethnicities or populations? Generally in the US the major racial grouping have been black, white, Asian, Native American--maybe Pacific Islander? Why these?

 

Historically there were all kinds of justifications for dividing humanity into just three or four major "races"-- those have been shown to be rather meaningless from a biological point of view. They persist as significant cultural constructs.

 

But tell me--people keep making the point that the history of slavery and its sequelae mean the division between black and white in the United States is real and significant. I agree. Is the division between Pacific Islander and Asian, or that between Black and Native American, equally significant? And are these more significant than other ethnic, ancestral, cultural, or religious groupings?

 

Again, the tenth generation mixed heritage African American is the same race as the Nigerian immigrant--but how much do they have in common?

 

Could African American be kept as a useful identifier for a community without needing to be part of a category called race?

Edited by maize
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African American is certainly a significant grouping, but it isn't really a race.

 

Which is kind of what I am getting at. Why do we have a category called race that is somehow seen as having more significance than other types of groupings? Who decides which groups are significant enough to be called races rather than, say, ethnicities or populations? Generally in the US the major racial grouping have been black, white, Asian, Native American--maybe Pacific Islander? Why these?

 

Historically there were all kinds of justifications for dividing humanity into just three or four major "races"-- those have been shown to be rather meaningless from a biological point of view. They persist as significant cultural constructs.

 

But tell me--people keep making the point that the history of slavery and its sequelae mean the division between black and white in the United States is real and significant. I agree. Is the division between Pacific Islander and Asian, or that between Black and Native American, equally significant? And are these more significant than other ethnic, ancestral, cultural, or religious groupings?

 

Again, the tenth generation mixed heritage African American is the same race as the Nigerian immigrant--but how much do they have in common?

 

Could African American be kept as a useful identifier for a community without needing to be part of a category called race?

 

Ah.  So you don't really object to race as a "category", you just think its importance is overemphasized. 

 

I don't think seperating African American as a historical category vs "race" is useful. Barack Obama is considered (by himself and most everyone) African-American, but he is the child of a white woman and an African and his family doesn't (if I remember right) have any roots in the story of US slavery / civil rights.     This is not his choice.  It's the reality, whether it's right or wrong. Honestly he doesn't have any choice in the matter.

 

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I thought the question was more about whether it is useful to collect race data on a form.  Perhaps I misunderstood.

 

The heritage of any group (racial or otherwise) is obviously very important.  But does it follow that we need to take down the race of each and every individual taking the SAT for example?

 

As the mom of non-white kids, I find it somewhat dehumanizing to be asked my kids' "race" and whether or not they are "hispanic" before I can, for example, schedule a well or sick visit for them.  It's twice as irritating when the checkbox choices don't include my kids' heritage and I'm supposed to check the "next closest" race.  Either they want to know my kids' heritage or they don't.

Edited by SKL
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I thought the question was more about whether it is useful to collect race data on a form.  Perhaps I misunderstood.

 

The heritage of any group (racial or otherwise) is obviously very important.  But does it follow that we need to take down the race of each and every individual taking the SAT for example?

 

As the mom of non-white kids, I find it somewhat dehumanizing to be asked my kids' "race" and whether or not they are "hispanic" before I can, for example, schedule a well or sick visit for them.  It's twice as irritating when the checkbox choices don't include my kids' heritage and I'm supposed to check the "next closest" race.  Either they want to know my kids' heritage or they don't.

 

Yeah, so many people don't fit into one of a handful of tidy little boxes.

 

And the Hispanic issue is one of the ones that makes me question "race" as a real sort of category. Hispanic isn't a race. But it tends to be similar in significance to black or white in the US. But since it isn't a race (whatever that is) it doesn't fit in a race category question so we had to much up a separate question for it...

 

Since demographic data can be useful, would be be better to have an (optional) question such as "which if any of these population groups do you identify with, check all that apply"?

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Ah.  So you don't really object to race as a "category", you just think its importance is overemphasized. 

 

I don't think seperating African American as a historical category vs "race" is useful. Barack Obama is considered (by himself and most everyone) African-American, but he is the child of a white woman and an African and his family doesn't (if I remember right) have any roots in the story of US slavery / civil rights.     This is not his choice.  It's the reality, whether it's right or wrong. Honestly he doesn't have any choice in the matter.

 

I don't know. I'm not sure "race" should be a type of category.

 

Again, African American is a group identity, but it isn't a race...and yeah, Obama's situation highlights the imprecision and fluidity of the category.

 

Many first and second generation African immigrants don't identify as African American.

 

I'm not saying African American should go away as an identity, but I wonder if the entire category of "race" could go away as an identifier. 

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I think this is a good question and a very subtle one too.  

 

As an example, my children are 25% Japanese.  They do not look Japanese at all.  My oldest has extremely pale, clear white skin, bright blue eyes and dark curly hair.  My middle has golden, pink skin tones, blond "asian" hair. (very fine, very thick, very slippery) and green eyes.  So it would be easy to dismiss the fact that they are 25% Japanese as inconsequential because they look white and are treated that way.  

 

My MIL was a teenager during World War II, living in Japan and didn't emigrate to America until she was in her mid 30's. She raised my husband in a very traditional Japanese home. He used many of those traits in our home.  My children are often very deferential especially to authority and will rarely rock the boat if a person in authority is wrong.  They will go out of their way to let every other person go before them in social settings.  Understanding her influence explains a lot about them.

 

Lastly my oldest daughter inherited the "asian glow" it is an enzyme deficiency that causes her to turn bright red all over when she drinks alcohol.  It affect 36% of Japanese, Korean and Chinese individuals.  The flushing is mild and seems not to matter, it also causes a runny nose and worsening of asthma which is a little more worrisome but "ALDH2-deficient drinker who drinks two beers per day has six to ten times the risk of developing esophageal cancer as a drinker not deficient in the enzyme.[3][13]so understanding her 25% Japanese background might really matter.  Even tough she looks white and was raised in the US.

 

I am tired of seeing race/ethnicity questions on every form we fill out though.  

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I also think the ethnicity question is stupid since it only asks about Hispanic ethnicity.  First of all, Hispanic is not the only ethnicity in existence.  Secondly, there is a tremendous amount of cultural (and individual) variance among US citizens who consider themselves "Hispanic."  The differences in family history are also considerable.  Some Hispanic families have been in the US longer than most white American families, while others just arrived this year, from a variety of backgrounds.

Edited by SKL
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Whether race matters depends on the context--including the historical context of when and how it mattered in the past. Currently, U.S. law operates on the assumption that on the face of things, everyone is equal. That's good insofar as it's an improvement on the past, when racial divisions were used to ensure people were decidedly unequal, socially, economically, and under the law. However, this assumption ignores the ongoing and continued disparities and biases that were woven into the cultural fabric, leaving all but the most overt and eggregious legacies of racism in place.

 

So, race matters when you are trying to deal with racism. You can't make racism go away by pretending race went away on the surface when the concept is still so deeply ingrained in the culture.

 

For certain groups, contemporary race categories may be a useful proxy for ethnicity for various health patterns, some of which are connected to culture, and some which may be connected to commonly shared past experiences of selection pressure.

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Whether race matters depends on the context--including the historical context of when and how it mattered in the past. Currently, U.S. law operates on the assumption that on the face of things, everyone is equal. That's good insofar as it's an improvement on the past, when racial divisions were used to ensure people were decidedly unequal, socially, economically, and under the law. However, this assumption ignores the ongoing and continued disparities and biases that were woven into the cultural fabric, leaving all but the most overt and eggregious legacies of racism in place.

 

So, race matters when you are trying to deal with racism. You can't make racism go away by pretending race went away on the surface when the concept is still so deeply ingrained in the culture.

 

For certain groups, contemporary race categories may be a useful proxy for ethnicity for various health patterns, some of which are connected to culture, and some which may be connected to commonly shared past experiences of selection pressure.

I wonder if there is a way to gradually move away from race as a defining category while retaining an acknowledgement of disadvantaged groups as groups.

 

To slowly dissolve the social construct of race.

 

It seems to me that maintaining the fiction (that race per se is a real thing) could contribute to prolonging some of the negative attitudes that developed in the context of race-as-real.

 

I don't know if I am saying this right. Race has been powerful as a tool of oppression partly because of the ideas that underscored the construct--assertions that there were distinctly different types of humans and that some types were naturally inferior to others. I don't see a real way to dump that baggage without jettisoning the idea of race as a real indentifying category along with it.

 

I'm not suggesting we pretend to color blindness, but that we switch to some kind of model that can acknowledge the reality of a variety of types of ethnic/cultural/etc. groupings, including recognition of the predjudices that have been and are associated with those groups, but without legitimizing the false divisions/dichotomies of the race construct.

 

I don't actually know if that is possible.

Edited by maize
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I don't know. I'm not sure "race" should be a type of category.

 

Again, African American is a group identity, but it isn't a race...and yeah, Obama's situation highlights the imprecision and fluidity of the category.

 

Many first and second generation African immigrants don't identify as African American.

 

I'm not saying African American should go away as an identity, but I wonder if the entire category of "race" could go away as an identifier.

Do you know about the 1% rule and why Obama is considered black?

 

You can say it would be nice to get rid of race. I personally wish we all saw each other as little glowing orbs of wonder and awe-- instead of seeing skin color, height, skinny/fat, pretty / ugly, old/young ... because really deep down we are all the same. But my wish is about as likely to come true as yours , at least in our lifetimes .

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Hair types is a genetic issue, not necessarily a racial one.

 

There are people who specialize in curly hair but I think most people know that curly hair isn't particular to one race. I do prefer to see someone who specializes in curly hair because it is much different than cutting straight hair.

 

There are some spiritualities that have very particular beliefs about hair and if someone specialized in that then that would be something for people to mention.

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Well, one thing I have noticed more and more is people referring to themselves or their kids (and others' kids) as "mixed."  Ultimately most AA people descended from slaves are mixed, or so I've read.  And so are an increasing % of other Americans.  Perhaps with more use of "mixed" instead of "black," this would be a way to recognize their heritage, which is important, without giving credence to the idea that biological heritage is a legitimate excuse to discriminate.

Edited by SKL
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Do you know about the 1% rule and why Obama is considered black?

 

You can say it would be nice to get rid of race. I personally wish we all saw each other as little glowing orbs of wonder and awe-- instead of seeing skin color, height, skinny/fat, pretty / ugly, old/young ... because really deep down we are all the same. But my wish is about as likely to come true as yours , at least in our lifetimes .

The words we use and the ways we define those words, the categories those words define, are powerful influencers of thought.

 

We're not going to stop perceiving physical differences, but we might be able to change the ways we think about them.

 

(And yeah, 1% rule is one of the most preposterous human conceptualizations ever. It would be kinda funny to see what would happen if we could go back in time and administer DNA tests to the folks who promoted such ideas...I wonder just how many of them would have African DNA markers? My great uncle had a bit of a hard time coming to grips with his own given the world he grew up in.)

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I'm not so sure I agree with the idea that we teach "we're all the same inside."  The fact is that we aren't all the same.  We're all different, not because of our skin color, but because we are individuals.  I think that teaching kids to expect all others to behave the way their own family / friend circle behaves may actually feed the negative side of discrimination.

 

We are all different, but we are all equally deserving of human dignity.

Edited by SKL
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I'm not sure if this is relevant to the discussion, but recently I read an article about a woman. It said one of hers parents was Japanese and the other was Indian (I assume South Asian). Based on her photo, I think everyone would guess she was white. I went back and double-checked the article to see if I read it wrong. I wonder if census workers would argue with her if she tried to check something other than white as her race.

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Respectfully, that has to do with hair type, not "race."

 

  

True, but places where I've worked got a lot of calls asking if we did "Black hair" without specifying the type of hair said person actually had...

 

Oh, FWIW, practically hair care has a racial aspect here, most black women go to salons that specialize in African/black types of hair, and for certain services like microbraids that is probably the only place to go.  It's not like it's exclusive or anything, I used to go to a salon like that because it was next to my house, but I think people find they can get more expertise at the services they want that way.

  

Yes... and even though men's haircuts are more similar to each other, I rarely see different clientele in the same barbershops.

 

Hair types is a genetic issue, not necessarily a racial one.

 

There are people who specialize in curly hair but I think most people know that curly hair isn't particular to one race. I do prefer to see someone who specializes in curly hair because it is much different than cutting straight hair.

 

There are some spiritualities that have very particular beliefs about hair and if someone specialized in that then that would be something for people to mention.

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True, but places where I've worked got a lot of calls asking if we did "Black hair" without specifying the type of hair said person actually had...

 

  

Yes... and even though men's haircuts are more similar to each other, I rarely see different clientele in the same barbershops.

 

ðŸ‘ðŸ»

 

That makes sense. I tend to ask them if there is someone there that does curly hair. I also get up and leave if they wet my hair before cutting it. :lol:

Edited by Slartibartfast
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When I was in Cosmetology school, there was a whole other school for ethnic hair (I went to both). Rightfully so, IMO. It's a whole other skill set, though anyone skilled with 2B-4C hair textures likely can deftly handle 1A-2A. The reverse, however, is not a given. So absolutely yes anyone with 4B hair, for example, is going to want someone who does "black hair," and I can not think of any conscionable reason to tell this hypothetical woman not to call her black hair black hair, just because race is a construct? Naw. Just for practical purposes, her words convey what she needs to communicate.

 

Barbering school is not only a different school; it is an entirely different certification.

 

Just throwing those things out there.

Edited by OKBud
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This is probably off topic but I was recently frustrated by this when I had Baby Girl last Sunday. The next morning they come in to get the birth certificate stuff filled out.

 

The problem is that almost nothing on the form was birth certificate related at all.

 

Race of mother, husband and father (yes it has separate sections for if the husband was not the father, which is new from last time I had a baby). The race options were very limited and you had to choose only one, which is just stupid in my opinion as none of us are just one.

 

Do I smoke, does father, does husband

Level of education

Level of income

Do we own or rent our home

Do we work and in what type of career fields (again a limited number of options to check)

How many siblings do I have, does he have, does baby girl have.

Do any of us have a criminal record

 

It was five pages of questions more like a census.

 

So I refused to fill any of it out except what I know to be related to the actual birth certificate and turned it in.

 

The next day the employee brought it back for signatures and I see that she had filled it all out for anyways. Which to my mind is fraud. I pointed this out to her and she claimed if she submitted it without those answered our birth certificate would be turned down, which sounds like BS to me.

 

But even more annoying is

 

It's pointless and inaccurate.

 

And case in point, she didn't list my race as what I would have. Which was bizarre to em bc I tend to think I couldn't look more white bread white. I guess post surgery and on pain relieving narcotics and sleep deprived caring for a newborn makes me look ... not as white?

 

Also, I apparently now have a doctorate.

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This is probably off topic but I was recently frustrated by this when I had Baby Girl last Sunday. The next morning they come in to get the birth certificate stuff filled out.

 

The problem is that almost nothing on the form was birth certificate related at all.

 

Race of mother, husband and father (yes it has separate sections for if the husband was not the father, which is new from last time I had a baby). The race options were very limited and you had to choose only one, which is just stupid in my opinion as none of us are just one.

 

Do I smoke, does father, does husband

Level of education

Level of income

Do we own or rent our home

Do we work and in what type of career fields (again a limited number of options to check)

How many siblings do I have, does he have, does baby girl have.

Do any of us have a criminal record

 

It was five pages of questions more like a census.

 

So I refused to fill any of it out except what I know to be related to the actual birth certificate and turned it in.

 

The next day the employee brought it back for signatures and I see that she had filled it all out for anyways. Which to my mind is fraud. I pointed this out to her and she claimed if she submitted it without those answered our birth certificate would be turned down, which sounds like BS to me.

 

But even more annoying is

 

It's pointless and inaccurate.

 

And case in point, she didn't list my race as what I would have. Which was bizarre to em bc I tend to think I couldn't look more white bread white. I guess post surgery and on pain relieving narcotics and sleep deprived caring for a newborn makes me look ... not as white?

 

Also, I apparently now have a doctorate.

 

All that information is demographic data. The keeping of accurate records useful for demographics is the main point of birth certificates in the first place. All you accomplished by not filling out the information was skewing a data point for some future researcher.

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You decide your own identity, not me.

Except the entire point of these forms is that we don't get to truely choose it ourselves.

 

For example, I'm pale skinned, blue eyed, used to be blonde in my younger years and solidly light brunette now.

 

If I decided I would like to be "African American" and checked that box - I'm betting it would not be well received by many people.

 

Bc the entire premise for why we need these dadblum things is bc of how others impose how classify identity onto other people.

 

The point, in theory, of these things is not to help people self identify, it's to evaluate how people who are classified in a certain manner are discriminated against or to mitigate a known discrimination of that classification.

 

And I question whether it works at all.

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All that information is demographic data. The keeping of accurate records useful for demographics is the main point of birth certificates in the first place. All you accomplished by not filling out the information was skewing a data point for some future researcher.

Bah. Whether I want to participate in some date research should be up to me and no, that's not the main point of a birth certificate. The main point is establishing identity records. I really don't care one bit about questionable data for some researcher. My life is none of their business.

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Bah. Whether I want to participate in some date research should be up to me and no, that's not the main point of a birth certificate. The main point is establishing identity records. I really don't care one bit about questionable data for some researcher. My life is none of their business.

 

What I said is true of the statistical portion of the birth certificate, while what you say is true of the legal portion of the certificate.

 

Here is how one state explains it: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/field/brc/importanceofBC.shtm

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All that information is demographic data. The keeping of accurate records useful for demographics is the main point of birth certificates in the first place. All you accomplished by not filling out the information was skewing a data point for some future researcher.

No real harm is done if it is just left blank, someone doing data analysis would just set that form aside or mark the fields as "no response."

 

The person who filled it out falsely though was absolutely skewing the data!

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