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Why do people reduce themselves to racism? Watch

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    As you can tell from the title I wanted to talk about racism. In my life I haven't really had any bad cases of racist attacks or insults, but recently I was arguing with someone online and his last comeback was 'what do you know? You're just a n*gga anyway' I've had a couple other experiences similar to this, I can't say they've really bothered me too much because I'm happy with who I am and I've accepted I can't change that... But it did get me thinking, why do people feel the need to be racist? I mean it's the 21st century shouldn't we be past all this?!

    I mean I'm not talking about the racist banter with your friends or anything, I guess it just bothers me that people still get their kicks out of things like this. This also applies to when people make insensitive comments about people's weight, sexuality etc. Does it make them feel good about themselves that they've managed to pick at people's insecurities?!

    Hmmm... Rant over, anywho what do you guys think?

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    (Original post by TinM)
    Does it make them feel good about themselves that they've managed to pick at people's insecurities?!
    Yes.
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    Slightly digressing, but, on some forums it seems it it's okay to call people a '******', I've never understood why this is acceptable. Yeah, a lot of words get thrown around on the internet and it's because of the anonymity of the person.
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    Well, when I used to get bullied I would get a lot of racial abuse about my Chinese heritage, particularly from this one classmate of mine. He used to do it to entertain himself and his friends. He used to take his anger out on me too, which also included racial abuse. I ended up feeling sorry for him in the end because he didn't seem to receive much attention from his parents and probably wanted to bring me down to make himself feel happier. I still don't think this excuses his behaviour though. Four years later, he has still not changed. I don't know why some people will sink to racial abuse. Maybe it's because they've not been taught by their parents that racism is wrong or maybe because they're using it as a final comeback since racism can bring lower people's self esteem and cut deeply?
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    Treat others as you would like to be treated.
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    (Original post by TinM)
    Hmmm... Rant over, anywho what do you guys think?
    Remember that people are tribal creatures. It's basically an extension of the in-group/out-group type thinking that people have evolved over thousands of years. A basic example is rival sporting teams and their fans arguing.

    In sociology, the term ethnic nepotism describes a human tendency for in-group bias or in-group favouritism applied by nepotism for people with the same ethnicity within a multi-ethnic society.

    The term was coined in the 1960s in the context of the ethnic (tribal) tensions and rivalry in the then-recently independent states in Sub-Saharan Africa such as Nigeria.[1]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_nepotism
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    People will always find a reason to dislike other people.

    Even if the whole of the UK was mono racial we would still find things to hate each other for.
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    (Original post by Chi019)
    Remember that people are tribal creatures. It's basically an extension of the in-group/out-group type thinking that people have evolved over thousands of years. A basic example is rival sporting teams and their fans arguing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_nepotism
    See Sen (2006) (particularly his critique of the notion of 'singular affiliation'), Banton (2011) and the literature illustrating the unstable nature of identity.

    Here are a couple of quotes from Sen:

    “The intricacies of plural groups and multiple loyalties are obliterated by seeing each person as firmly embedded in exactly one affiliation, replacing the richness of living an abundant human life with the formulaic narrowness of insisting that any person is “situated” in just one organic pack.”

    “There are a great variety of categories to which we simultaneously belong. I can be, at the same time, an Asian, an Indian citizen, a Bengali with Bangladeshi ancestry, an American or British resident, an economist, a dabbler in philosophy, an author, a Sankritist, a strong believer in secularism and democracy, a man, a feminist, a heterosexual, a defender of gay and lesbian rights, with a nonreligious lifestyle, from a Hindu background, a non-Brahmin, and a nonbeliever in an afterlife […]. This is just a small sample of the diverse categories to each of which I may simultaneously belong”

    There is no unilaterally significant identity. The salience and invocation of any given identity is contingent on one's situation and the characteristics (social, spatial, temporal, political, etc.) of that situation. In some contexts one feels a greater affinity with one 'group' of people than they do others, and in other situations one feels a greater affinity with another 'group'. It's also worth noting that the concept of ethnicity didn't exist before the 20th century and is heavily unstable and is also subject to influence by somebody's situation (i.e., it is socially constructed). The literature reviews of Burton et al. (2011), Carter and Fenton (2009) (and their criticism of the notion of ethnicity), Aspinall (2009) (and his other work), and Simon and Piché (2011) expand on this. The journal Ethnic and Racial Studies has a series of articles exploring the fluidity and contextual contingency of ethnicity. The notion of 'ethnic nepotism' and 'multi-ethnic' presupposes the existence of a concrete, bounded and stable thing called 'ethnicity', which is in opposition to the highly mutable and contextually specific nature of ethnicity and ethnic identification.

    Anderson's (1991) concept of the imagined community may also be relevant.

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    Oh, and it's worth noting that due to the concept's instability, it may refer to anything from (this is just a sample) 'common culture' [culture is also a very contested concept]; actual common descent or the myth thereof; attachment to or claims of ownership of a certain territory; shared language; common history; ‘will’ to be a group; existence of group symbols such as flags; mutual recognition of group membership; threat to cultural existence; common religion; economic ties; something soft and consciousness-related that is termed ‘psychology’; ‘race’ (or colour or visibility); national identity; parentage or ancestry; citizenship; religion; language; and country of birth (or being an immigrant).

    Consequently, claims of "nepotism based on ethnicity" must explain what the 'ethnic identity' they were studying is based upon to have any scientific substance.
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    (Original post by whyumadtho)
    ... The notion of 'ethnic nepotism' and 'multi-ethnic' presupposes the existence of a concrete, bounded and stable thing called 'ethnicity', which is in opposition to the highly mutable and contextually specific nature of ethnicity and ethnic identification.
    ...SPOILER]
    I think that's a bit of a strawman similar to other common criticisms of ethnicity/race. In a similar way familial relations are mutable and changeable, but you still have a tendency towards nepotism in human nature.
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    (Original post by Chi019)
    I think that's a bit of a strawman similar to other common criticisms of ethnicity/race. In a similar way familial relations are mutable and changeable, but you still have a tendency towards nepotism in human nature.
    Something whose existence is contingent on social/circumstantial context is not a scientific concept. If it depends on these variables then nepotism is based on society/circumstance, not some kind of inherent, immutable concept.

    I don't see how it is possible to declare the "X is closer to the Y ethnic group due to nepotism" when Y is only present in certain social, political, spatial and temporal settings. People gravitate towards socially constructed notions of 'self' and 'other' (which are based on a range of identities, as explained by Sen); I'm not convinced that it is some inherent quality that necessarily prioritises one form of identity over another.
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    (Original post by TinM)
    As you can tell from the title I wanted to talk about racism. In my life I haven't really had any bad cases of racist attacks or insults, but recently I was arguing with someone online and his last comeback was 'what do you know? You're just a n*gga anyway' I've had a couple other experiences similar to this, I can't say they've really bothered me too much because I'm happy with who I am and I've accepted I can't change that... But it did get me thinking, why do people feel the need to be racist? I mean it's the 21st century shouldn't we be past all this?!

    I mean I'm not talking about the racist banter with your friends or anything, I guess it just bothers me that people still get their kicks out of things like this. This also applies to when people make insensitive comments about people's weight, sexuality etc. Does it make them feel good about themselves that they've managed to pick at people's insecurities?!

    Hmmm... Rant over, anywho what do you guys think?

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    Just want to touch on something that you said. Were you insecure about your race previously?
    To answer the wider question, I believe that racism can never be totally eradicated and there will always be people who will be racist sadly.

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    Prejudice is a very natural, human thing. It is so prevalent because we evolved to do it (it helps establish social hierarchy - arbitrary hierarchy being better than no hierarchy). We will find reasons for prejudice in anything, and in the absence of an awareness of the ways in which we are prejudiced, and a lack of condemnation for acting in prejudiced ways, then we will do it. The way to avoid it is education and social pressure discouraging it.
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    (Original post by whyumadtho)
    Something whose existence is contingent on social/circumstantial context is not a scientific concept. If it depends on these variables then nepotism is based on society/circumstance, not some kind of inherent, immutable concept.

    I don't see how it is possible to declare the "X is closer to the Y ethnic group due to nepotism" when Y is only present in certain social, political, spatial and temporal settings. People gravitate towards socially constructed notions of 'self' and 'other' (which are based on a range of identities, as explained by Sen); I'm not convinced that it is some inherent quality that necessarily prioritises one form of identity over another.
    Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives. In biological terms this comes back to the degree of genetic relatedness. And you can obviously extend that concept to ethnic groupings. For example, as Hsu observes:

    2) Genetic distances between population clusters are roughly as follows: the distance between two neighboring western European populations is of order one in units of standard deviations and the distance to the Russian cluster is several times larger than that -- say, 3 or 4. From HapMap data, the distance from Russian to Chinese and Japanese clusters is about 18, and the distance of southern Europeans to the Nigerian cluster is about 19.
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    (Original post by Chi019)
    Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives. In biological terms this comes back to the degree of genetic relatedness. And you can obviously extend that concept to ethnic groupings. For example, as Hsu observes:
    Given that I've shown above that 'ethnicity' is predicated on a variety of different concepts, how can you "obviously extend" it?

    I strongly recommend reading this paper. There are too many relevant points to quote so I just linked the whole thing. It pretty much undermines the premise of the paper on Hsu's post. Handley et al. (2007) is a related paper that is also good because it addresses point 2 of his post and the problem of selective sampling.

    Relatedness is contingent on the variable in question. Barbujani and Belle (2006):

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    "Studies of different markers yield an even more complicated picture, where the only common element we can recognise is that each one is inconsistent with all the others. The only way we see to interpret this contradictory set of results is to admit that its incongruences are not due to errors in the choice of the markers or of the methods, but rather represent a basic feature of human diversity. In other words, different genetic polymorphisms are differently distributed over the planet, and their distributions are not generally correlated. Clusterings are always possible, but the fact that two populations fall in the same cluster (or in different clusters) when described at loci A, B, C does not imply that they will fall in the same cluster (or in different clusters) based on loci X, Y, Z. In addition, differences between populations are often so subtle that the location of boundaries may change substantially even when the same data are analysed under different assumptions on the mutational model."

    Then we must account for actual ancestral relatedness, as defined by phylogenetics, which is also blurry:

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    "The first issue to keep in mind is that the Fst computations for the distribution of autosomal, X-linked, mtDNA, or Y-chromosomal markers across geographic regions do not match (Tishkoff and Kidd 2004). Oftentimes, each of these markers tells us a different but complementary story about human evolutionary history and migration patterns"

    [...]

    To be sure, the frequencies of E clade lineages in North Africa—often simplistically and misleadingly construed in genetic studies as Eurasia or Non-Africa—is very high contrary to received racial views. For example, ~76% of Moroccan, ~80% of Saharawi, ~65% of Algerian, and ~55% of Tunisian males, whether or not they self-identify as Arabs, do not share the Middle Eastern male lines of descent (12f2a), but instead share the E lineages with sub-Saharan Africans. The E clade unites ~70% of all African males from Algiers in North Africa to the Zulu land in South Africa, Northern Africans being predominantly on the nested E3b2-M81 and E3b1-M78 sub-lineages (Cruciani et al. 2004; Semino et al. 2004; Karafet et al. 2008). To wit, there seem to be higher frequencies of Eurasian paternal lines of descent in northern Cameroon (~40%) than in Morocco and the Saharawish Republic, but the same as in Tunisia and Algeria (Scozzari et al. 1999; Cruciani et al. 2002). Thus, North African males can be said to be Africans based on the binary polymorphisms of the Y-chromosome. But they can also be said to be Eurasians based on the study of autosome genetic markers. That is, two different cladistic taxonomies derived from two different mode of inheritance radically cross-classify the same population." (Maglo, 2011).

    From a more recent Barbujani and Pigliucci (2013) paper:

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    "[P]eople with similar genetic features can be found in distant places, and [...] each local population contains a vast array of genotypes. Among the first genomes completely typed were those of James Watson and Craig Venter, two U.S. geneticists of European origin; they share more alleles with Seong-Jin Kim, a Korean scientist (1,824,482 and 1,736,340, respectively) than with each other (1,715,851)."

    Yet, both Watson and Venter would be considered "white Americans" and Kim wouldn't. Again, ethnicity is a socially constructed and unstable concept with a basis that varies by circumstance. In any case, this is inconsequential. We both know that people do not have access to someone's genotype when assessing how genetically similar they are to them. Similarity/'racial' classification is usually based on very few phentoypic variables such as skin tone, craniofacial morphology and hair texture, which are then arbitrarily divided into groups (via socially constructed concepts).

    Furthermore, in places like India and Nigeria where the concepts of caste and witchcraft are salient, how can you claim nepotism is inherent? Families exile their children for having albinism or some other visible genetic mutation. The significance given to various aspects of someone's genetic profile vis-à-vis social factors varies by circumstance and individual, as I said above. For example, many people with any kind of visible African ancestry would be considered 'black'/African-American in the US, despite possibly being closer related to most Europeans.

    Your obsession with groups (and the assumption of discreteness) is clouding your analysis.
 
 
 
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