Race, Ethnicity, & Culture

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Race, Ethnicity, & Culture

Beliefs about race and ethnicity influence our cultures, politics, and relationships.  What is race?  What is ethnicity?  This group explores those concepts.

Location: Global
Members: 231
Latest Activity: Nov 26

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Racism and the effects of ethnocentrism are alive and well in the 21st century.  Racism and humanism are incompatible by definition. 

 File:BlueMarble-2001-2002.jpg

The most human, and humane, thing that we can do is acknowledge and support the humanity of people who are different from ourselves.  Curiosity about what makes us human, by necessity, includes curiosity about our human ethnic heritage.

 

We are incredibly enriched by immersing ourselves in a diverse world.  We are intellectually and emotionally impoverished when we exclude others who are not our mirror image.

 

This discussion group includes many topics about race and ethnicity.  Feel free to comment to new threads, or resurrect old threads, if any spark your interest.

 

My 2 cents. Sentient Biped.

 

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Comment by Joan Denoo on November 2, 2013 at 6:46pm

Reading this string evokes feelings of profound grief and anger and where does one take these emotions without becoming part of the outrageous masses? I focus on the problems that lead up to today's atrocities and it is not helping. It is like having cancer of remembering how one human being acts against another. In one video documentary I recently watched, the archeologist was in deep Africa going to an abandoned dig and her guides carried riffles in defense against rival tribes. African against African. Not unlike USA citizens against USA citizens. 

Getting rid of cancer involves pouring poison and shooting radiation into the body and changing life styles. Is that what it will take to kill the human cancers that destroy healthy ones? 

My rage against religion grows as I realize my rage turns me into an enemy of others. How does one turn rage into justice and peace? 

I had not heard of the Orangeburg Massacre; like Daniel, I Googled it and read the news reports and watched interviews of participants. That event occurred on February 8, 1968. My involvement occurred on April 4 or 5, 1968 when black men escorted me to safety from the riots. Bullets were coming from uniformed police officers, not the black residents of Anacostia. 

Feelings of shame and guilt of being a white person in a racist society does no one any good. Thought and action toward building bridges appears to be necessary; however, when I recognize the role of religion in all this chaos, I have no interest in bridge building with religious communities. Perhaps building bridges with others who feel as outraged as I can help.  

Comment by Donald R Barbera on November 2, 2013 at 6:28pm
You didn't. Entail it directly. I think it was an asides, but I can't see worth a damn and my memory is certainly suspect. So, I might be remembering, another memory, which I had forgotten to remember, thus it slipped my memory. Pokes that help?
Comment by Daniel W on November 2, 2013 at 8:59am
Don was that me? I must be having a senior moment. I dont recall that one!
Comment by Donald R Barbera on November 1, 2013 at 5:23am
Sentient, off the subject I noticed you are reading "Why Men Rape." Will you be reviewing it. I'd be interest to know what it's all about.
Comment by Daniel W on October 31, 2013 at 5:02pm

Natalie,

Sinti was a new term for me, so I looked it up.  Thank you for teaching me something.

 

Don, I'm in the midst of reading "Privilege, Power and Difference" by A.G. Johnson.  It's difficult reading for me, so I have to read a chapter at a time.   I understand the underlying concept, and appreciate it.  I have not read about the Orangeburg Massacre, but googled on that and add to my reading list.

 

I am always open to understanding more and learning more about the world I live in - in fact, am dedicated to expanding my knowledge about humanity. Racism is an underlying theme in more human conflict and atrocities than I can list.

Richard, the creation of the concept of "race",  and racial difference, is often listed as having been used to justify slavery and other oppressive actions. I'm not sure I accept that it begins there - even in biblical times, if not "race" per se, ethnic difference was used as justification for slavery, invasion, and genocide.  And many times, in many societies, around the world.  What was unique in American history was the centering of "race" on Africans and the African diaspora, then also on various Asian groups, and native American groups. 

Don, the longer I live, the more I appreciate the effects of not having bootstraps.  We need to do so much better, and there is still so much more that needs to change.

Comment by Natalie A Sera on October 31, 2013 at 2:23pm

You guys have already taken the words out of my mouth. I got up this morning to add: The incredible suffering of Jews, and Roma and Sinti in Europe were the direct result of Christianity. Heck, the Roma and Sinti even converted to Christianity, possibly out of the hope that it would make life better for them, but no such luck, sucka!

The fact that Christian oppression occurred in multiple places in the rest of the world just supports the fact that for most of its history, Christianity has been a plague on humanity. Islam is not faring so well, either -- at some point, the people of Europe who are having Islamic customs forced into their laws will rebel, but the ironic thing is that they will do it from the viewpoint of Christianity, not freedom.

I have no problem with followers of religion, or with cultures that have a religion attached (which is how I describe Judaism and Japaneseness, for example), but let them not impose THEIR way on everyone else.

Comment by Richard Goscicki on October 31, 2013 at 11:50am

I'm in the process of publishing a Kindle eBook on this very subject.  Shows very plausibly how religion engendered these ethnocentric attitudes.  I’ll place an ad on A/N when it’s ready.  It’s quite a feeling of accomplishment to team up with Barbara Walker.  She never ceases to amaze me. 

 

Here’s the excerpt from our book.  If anyone could delve into the motivations of the medieval mind, Professor Ruiz can.  He gives a pretty plausible account of how things got the way they are. 

 

Excerpt from Pot Stories and Atheist Essays by Richard Goscicki and Barbara G. Walker: 

 

I once heard a lecture by Professor Teofilo Ruiz of UCLA, an expert in medieval and early modern Spain.  I have to admit I was amused at the childlike logic of the Conquistadors as they landed in the mid-1500s on the shores of West Africa and began to ravage and plunder its land and people.  Their lust for gold was insatiable and they’d killed just about the all Taino tribesmen toiling in the mines under the lash. 

 

1)  The land belongs to God.

 

2)  These half-naked savages are obviously children of the devil.

 

3)  God would prefer that we own the land because we are righteous.

 

4)  If we enslave them, these subhumans will have a chance to return to God’s grace (so we’ll be doing them a favor.)     

 

See my essay on Haiti for the lowdown on what these invaders wrought on the New World paradise they named after the Inquisition sado/masochist, St. Dominic.  To think this bloodthirsty despot has a country and several new-world cities named after him! 

 

The 19th-century historian Henry Charles Lea stated, “That Dominic devoted the best years of his life to combating heresy there is no doubt, and as little that, when a heretic was deaf to argument or persuasion, he would cheerfully stand by the pyre and see him burned, like any other zealous missionary of the time.”  From The Inquisition of the Middle Ages, H.C. Lea, Book I, Chapter VI. 

 

Comment by Donald R Barbera on October 31, 2013 at 10:46am

One does not have to look far to see the effects. Colonialism in Africa, Europe now suffers the same issues, of course to good old USA is the poster child for racism. It almost seems we invented it or at least that's a majority of African American and other ethnicities believe. I think Ted Cruz father saying publicly that he wanted to send President Obama back to Kenya says it all especially for a Cuban immigrant. No one, including blacks, remembers the Orangeburg Massacre. There untold stories that sit unknown to the general American public that are history for minority communities. Even though most white American aren't, per se, racist, white privilege is a subtle form that no one except other ethnic groups are aware of and there is little reason they would be aware when for them they just go on living and never have to think about the unearned privileges that come from being white. It is not their fault, but it exist. When whites speak of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps many in the black community just wish they had bootstraps. 

Comment by Daniel W on October 31, 2013 at 8:30am
Natalie, I think we have to understand racism in all of its forms, if we want to understand the human condition and promote humanism everywhere. The actions in the US, prejudice and discrimination, have been vile, but examples exist everywhere. I think they always have.

Im really disappointed the there wasnt soul searching about "the blonde angel" reporting. Why did her being blonde make her an angel? Why wasnt the discovery, she was roma, and given up by her family because they were so poor, and taken in by a poor family to raise her with love, as big of a story?
Comment by Natalie A Sera on October 30, 2013 at 11:12pm

Interestingly, I heard the tail-end snippet on a NPR show about the Roma, and the myths about child abduction are the same as the myths about Jewish child abduction. And most people don't know that many (I don't know the actual number, but it was not insignificant) Roma and Sinti people were rounded up and murdered during the Holocaust as well. Racism is not confined to the US, nor to the US-approved minorities (black, Native American, Hispanic and Asian).

 

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