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Old 07-25-2012, 11:56 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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Race is a social construct, yes. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The 'American' nationality is a social construct. Does that mean Americans don't exist?

I agree, however, that race is not a biological construct in and of itself, but as it exists today, it is based on biological factors. In the past it has incorporated mainly cultural factors hence you can read authors as recently as the early 20th century describing the 'English race' or the 'Italian race'

In the modern world, 'Race' has come to be defined in biological terms exclusively (thanks to Anthropologists who supposedly 'don't believe in it :-) This definition describes 'Race' is a suite of identifiable but non-discrete allele expressions (physical features) that are readily identifiable by human senses that are passed on from one generation to the next.

What constitutes a 'suite' of features is what makes it a cultural value rather than a biological one, but to say it doesn't exist is denial. And there is nothing especially wrong with it either unless it is used to deny someone their basic human rights based on the fact that their features put them into such an arbitrary grouping.

 
Old 07-25-2012, 02:05 PM
 
11,686 posts, read 13,074,643 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouldy Old Schmo View Post
I think the Travellers of Ireland and the UK are of "native" stock.
According to this study, the answer seems to be that they once were but separated.

See this article: DNA study: Travellers a distinct ethnicity | Irish Examiner

There are probably better reports of the study, but this seems to be the gist of it.
 
Old 07-25-2012, 08:27 PM
 
4 posts, read 42,062 times
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So...back to the original question....from my research, I'm now even more confused.

Roma people are Caucasian, but Caucasian doesn't necessarily mean "white" the way most Americans think of "white". All white people are Caucasian, but not all Caucasians are white.

On a standardized questionnaire that asks for your race, a Roma person could check Caucasian if it was one of the choices, but on the US census form it isn't a choice...but "White" is a choice.

I'm no further along than where I started.
 
Old 07-28-2012, 10:42 AM
 
506 posts, read 926,705 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyGem View Post
#1. There's no such thing as "race". It's a social construct not based in science.
If it's social construct (LOL) and not based on science and biology, then how come, one can tell the race of the person by examining:

1) Blood

2) DNA

3) Hair

4) Skull shape

5) Brain size

6) Skeletons

.
.
.
.
 
Old 07-28-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
8,609 posts, read 8,611,763 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinter9 View Post
So...back to the original question....from my research, I'm now even more confused.

Roma people are Caucasian, but Caucasian doesn't necessarily mean "white" the way most Americans think of "white". All white people are Caucasian, but not all Caucasians are white.

On a standardized questionnaire that asks for your race, a Roma person could check Caucasian if it was one of the choices, but on the US census form it isn't a choice...but "White" is a choice.

I'm no further along than where I started.
Some Roma are blond and blue-eyed. Others look like they came from India. And you have every eye and skin color in between!
 
Old 07-28-2012, 12:31 PM
 
506 posts, read 926,705 times
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Why don't people post pictures? Here are some picture and they look Indians to me:

 
Old 07-28-2012, 03:14 PM
 
31,385 posts, read 31,046,755 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinter9 View Post
So...back to the original question....from my research, I'm now even more confused.
Let me help, from the American construct of race, the Roma people are white/caucasian. What they are genetically, anthropologically, is no importance. If person is descended from person from sub-Saharan African they are black (doesn't matter that some from Fiji looks identical). If a person is from asia Indo-China, China, Korea, Japan they are Asian). Everybody else is white or Mexican.
 
Old 07-28-2012, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 22,613,697 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunset2000 View Post
If it's social construct (LOL) and not based on science and biology, then how come, one can tell the race of the person by examining:

1) Blood, 2) DNA, 3) Hair, 4) Skull shape 5) Brain size 6) Skeletons
You can't.

The scientifically accepted hierarchy of taxonomic ordering in Biology is as follows: Life > Domain > Kingdum > Phylum > Class > Order > Family > Genus > Species. Please notice there is no division called "race."

What you CAN tell from the factors you named is something of people's historical ancestry, which is simply the groups in which people have predominantly lived since the great migrations out of Africa perhaps 60,000 years ago. But we are all simply one species, dating back many, many thousands of years before that great geographic dispersal occurred.

There were three distinct sub-species, or races, of humans that we currently recognize as sharing the planet until maybe 30,000 - 40,000 years ago. They are referred to as Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Cro-Magnans, but today there is only one. All people who are living today belong to the species Homo Sapiens, and the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens. Everyone.

It's the whole concept of superficial characteristics like skin color and physical size denoting distinct and separate species or sub-species which is flawed. In the 1700s the thought was advanced that people with "white" skin had completely different origins and ancestors and that they were unrelated to people with "black" skin, etc. This was the basis of their concept of race, which still endures, despite being disproved by the latest science. In fact all the observable variations within the human race can be explained in terms of the "elasticity" of our genes, and the way these factors are determined by the way certain genes are turned on or off within our shared DNA structure. It is that very adaptability that has allowed the human race to successfully adapt to every climate on earth, and to occupy its distant corners.
"By the 1970s, it had become clear that (1) most human differences were cultural; (2) what was not cultural was principally polymorphic that is to say, found in diverse groups of people at different frequencies; (3) what was not cultural or polymorphic was principally clinal that is to say, gradually variable over geography; and (4) what was left the component of human diversity that was not cultural, polymorphic, or clinal was very small.

A consensus consequently developed among anthropologists and geneticists that race as the previous generation had known it as largely discrete, geographically distinct, gene pools did not exist." ~ Jonathan Marks
We are so much more alike than we are different that it's time to move on. The science is settled. There really is no such thing as "race."
 
Old 07-28-2012, 08:43 PM
 
506 posts, read 926,705 times
Reputation: 293
Let me rephrase it.

If it's social construct (LOL) and not based on science and biology, then how come, one can tell the ethnicity of the person by examining:

1) Blood, 2) DNA, 3) Hair, 4) Skull shape 5) Brain size 6) Skeletons.


Look at it this way, even though a pitt bull and a lab belong to the same __________; they are still different in characteristics, look, temper, ability, etc. Can you deny that?
 
Old 07-28-2012, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 22,613,697 times
Reputation: 10524
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunset2000 View Post
Let me rephrase it.

If it's social construct (LOL) and not based on science and biology, then how come, one can tell the ethnicity of the person by examining:

1) Blood, 2) DNA, 3) Hair, 4) Skull shape 5) Brain size 6) Skeletons.
You can't.

Sorry, but ethnicity relates to cultural factors such as nationality, culture, ancestry, language and beliefs.

One of my friends is ethnically a Mexican. Her parents are Mexican, her grandparents are Mexican, she was born and raised in Mexican, although she is now an American citizen. She has green eyes and blonde hair and she speaks English flawlessly, so nobody would ever guess her to be Mexican in origin, yet when the Census is taken, she checks the box "Hispanic" for her ethnicity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunset2000 View Post
Look at it this way, even though a pitt bull and a lab belong to the same __SPECIES________; they are still different in characteristics, look, temper, ability, etc. Can you deny that?
Dogs are interesting, because they all belong to one species, but they have an unusually plastic genetic structure, which humans have manipulated over thousands of years to produce all the different breeds we know. For one thing, dogs have 39 pairs of chromosomes, whereas humans have only 23 pairs. And they not only have more chromosomes, the variability in what in those chromosomes can do exceeds most other species on the planet. Their enormous variability for size, for instance, from teacup sized dogs with weights measured in ounces, to Great Danes pushing 200 pounds, is controlled by a single gene!

But here's the fascinating thing... given a sufficiently large population of pit bulls and and an unlimited amount of time, you could breed them and cross breed them for certain other characteristics, and over time... hundreds, maybe thousands of years... produce a lab... or a chihuahua... or a poodle... or whatever kind you want, because they are all a single species. And in fact, that's exactly what we did with them.
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