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Race, Ethnicity, & Culture


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: 232
Latest Activity: May 4


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


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. Daniel W.


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Comment by Daniel W on November 26, 2011 at 12:15pm

I wonder if these issues are different for strangers as opposed to, in person.  It seems to me that the videos all involved strangers.  Who knows what day to day exposures the perpetrators had - if they have relatives, friends, lovers of different race, did they have the same unconscious reactions.  Personally, if I saw a man of any color stealing a bike during the day, I might think it is his own, because who would steal a bike during the day?  At night it would be different.  I did have a bike stolen at night.  


Of course, once he has basically admitted to stealing the bike, it's time to take a cellphone photo and call 911.


We could also throw in gender, or age.  If the perpetrator was a woman, what would happen?  Would people stop to help her?  I suspect yes.  Because we know that women are more honest than men and would not steal (this is sarcasm but demographically that might be true.  gender profiling).  If those men were beating up a woman of any race, would people have intervened?  I suspect yes.  If women were beating up a man....  they would probably have cheered (I don't know this, but I suspect).  


If the person cutting the bike locks was an old man, what effect would that have on bystanders?  Would people call the police, or stop to help?  What does that say about us?


I would be afraid of any group of young men on a darkened street at night, regardless of race.  I would also be suspicious of a group of women in a dark alley at night, different but still suspicous.


As for the store clerk story, that is so egregious I think I would tell off the clerk and see if I could find out who the owner was. If the owner supported that behavior, I don't know what i would do.  At least I would like to think so, no one can say unless it happens.


But I suspect my exposures and experiences are the reason for how I feel about trust/compassion/fairness/race, not because of some personal quality or ideal.  I grew up very isolated from people of other races, but with almost no indoctrination.  When I was bullied in school, all of the perpetrators were white.  And my friends in youth were white, but there were not many.  Once I was in the greater world, it was a fully mixed race world (army) and the primary reaction was of curiosity, and the overwhelming experiences were very good.   Even when the sense of "the exotic" wore off, my cross-ethnicity experiences have often been more rewarding than within my own race. 


Richard, a historical side note, Cherokee were slave owners and brought their black slaves with them on the trail of tears.  When they became a nation, their slaves were emancipated and made citizens of the Cherokee nation.  This year, the Cherokee disowned their black citizens (freedmen).  There were also other tribes that had slave ownership, and racial mixing, including the Seminoles of Florida.  While most Navaho may not have had a lot of exposure with African Americans (maybe those who have been military), people of some other tribes do.

Comment by Richard Goscicki on November 26, 2011 at 11:36am

Just like old times, right Gaytheist?  We had some interesting discussions over the years. 

I just didn’t like the professor making such a blanket statement.  One thing he should have learned at Yale is that people see the world in different ways. 

Suppose I were a Navajo kid raised in the Painted Desert of Arizona.  Would I still look at blacks with suspicion and whites not?  If the kid knew a little about Indian history, I think it would be the other way around.  While Indians were being slaughtered on the Trail of Tears, blacks were laboriously picking cotton and making plantation owners rich. 




Comment by Richard Goscicki on November 24, 2011 at 7:38am

The remark of the Yale professor in the video below also involves stereotyping.  As if his opinion were more important than anybody else's.   

Let's look at his statement. 

“These racial stereotypes are infused in all of us.  It’s part of our culture.  So whether you’re black or white, you associate crime with blacks and you associate whites with being good.” 

Nonsense.  Where does he come off making such a blanket statement?  Many of us are freethinkers and detached from fallacious associations like black is evil.  The professor should have qualified his statement and showed that he himself is a freethinker through education.


Comment by Daniel W on November 23, 2011 at 9:18pm

German:African-American "Brown Babies" story - thousands of babies born to German mothers and African American fathers, after WWII, pawns of politics and racism.  Still trying to learn their histories and connect to families.

Comment by Daniel W on November 23, 2011 at 8:22pm

Dallas, thanks for the videos.  I would like to think that I would pull out my cell phone and call 911 in any of those situations.  Having been attacked on a couple of occasions by psychotic men,  I don't know that I would step in with a group of thugs with baseball bats, but 911 is easy to do.  shame on those who didn't.  Not sure what to say about the "experimenters" - I would feel manipulated.

Comment by Raina R. on November 15, 2011 at 7:03pm
Comment by Richard Goscicki on October 16, 2011 at 5:13pm

Thanks, Biped.  I've been an atheist writer many years.  I once in my life argued religion with Rudy Guiliani outside religion class in Brooklyn.  My main thesis now that I'm retired is religion has caused damage to humanity most people don't even think of. 

Take a look inside the box.  I'd be glad to discuss the precepts with you and anyone else in the group.  Just hit Part I below.   



Comment by Daniel W on October 16, 2011 at 11:54am
Richard, interesting list.
Comment by Richard Goscicki on October 15, 2011 at 10:17pm

Biped, A/N probably has discussed each of the evils on my list individually, but never taken together.

Here’s my list of items in Pandora’s Box: 

The Bible and Koran encourage and condone the worst aspects of human behavior: war, slavery, necrophilia, cruelty to animals, anthropocentrism, suicide, starvation, racism, xenophobia, blind faith, sexism, homophobia, nepotism, denial of reality, self flagellation, dichotomous thinking, torture, human sacrifice, symbolic cannibalism, and other insults to reason. The result has been to distort and pervert the worldview of all who cherish these religious beliefs and have faith in the dictates and promises of professional clerics.


Part I deals with the earlier items.  Racism is just one of the consequences.  Dichotomous thinking is the next topic.



Comment by Daniel W on October 12, 2011 at 11:29pm
slavery foot print site is up now.  I have 20 slaves.  Sad, I don't even know their names.

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