8 thoughts on “Race and Ethnicity.”

  1. I think language is an evolutionary function that people are trying to use beyond its scope. I’ve got no proof, but let’s call it an intuition for now. haha


      1. Taken as an evolutionary advantage, language provides a means for more advanced communication than available to other sentient beings. This with heightended cognitive abilities, humans developed the ability to coordinate into larger societies and ‘advance’ themselves based on goals, metanarratives, and ceratin fictions. It also provided a framework for communicating other abstract concepts, such as morals, ethics, governance, and so on. Whilst these have allowed humans to flourish, there is not necessarily a particular evolutionary reason why langauage needs to be more specific that it is. Most humans do not care about the level of specificity.

        As an workaday human, I need to tell the difference between an spinach and poison ivy, and I benefit existentially from the ability to transfer this knowledge. By and large, I can operate with a coarse grasp of concepts like justice or integrity. In fact, one might be better off not to look behind the curtain. After all, ignorance is bliss.

        As a typical person, it is good enough for me to look at a leaf at the macro level, but if I am a celular biologist, I need to be able to scrutinise more closely, so I need a microscope. If I need to asses this at the atomic level, I require an even more powerful microscope.

        My point is that language is not meant to endure the scrutiny of a microscope—perhaps only a weak magnifying glass, if I happen to be a linguist, but no more.

        By and large, language neesds to operate on a heuristic as opposed to an analytical level. Here, I relate the example of a Pointilist painting. It looks fine from a distance, but it will lose all meaningful form and translation upon too close a scrutiny. And so goes language.


  2. Not only is a race a social construct, it’s a lay concept. Race in the human realm is not part of any orthodox scientific taxonomy. It’s even more fictitious than the so-called nationality behind Nationalism. There is only one human race, and that is homo sapiens sapiens. The other races have long perished and are no longer extant. Besides being a misnomer, Caucasian is not a race. Negroid is not a race. Muslim is not a race.


    1. I agree. Yet it is a part of our lived lives. Some of us benefit from it and others do not. And this is inherent to, as you have. Pointed out, our language.


      1. … I might even go so far to say that the idea that race is merely a social construct doesn’t really do much for us in reality. People can make all sorts of meanings out of stuff; and even the best intentioned people will end up expressing A racist sentiment by suggesting that they don’t see color or they don’t see you race, that they only see human beings. And I think this sentiment comes out of the idea that “in truth“ race has no basis of scientific validity or whatever you would call it.

        A Personal anecdote which I think illustrates an analogy here: my family has recently had a great loss. And it hit my wife extremely hard to the point, point that she is largely unable to function at a job that she is excellent at, and just life in general. Now , I have recovered fairly well and I’m doing OK overall and functioning etc.; and sometimes I come home and I ask myself, for example, why did my wife organize the dishes in the sink with soap and the plates and the cups and such, but didn’t empty the dishwasher of clean dishes and just put the five or six dishes in the dishwasher. (because I know that she likes to have the kitchen clean, without dirty dishes just sitting there). It would’ve probably taken five minutes.

        She is on leave from work and so she basically has a whole day of nothing to do but walk the dogs occasionally.

        And I understand that she has been traumatized and is grieving deeply, but still my mind wants to think things sensibly, for example, why could not she take five minutes and load the dishes. Understand though, our roles were reversed up until just a couple months ago; she is the breadwinner and I took care of our daughter. So she is used to having the dishes done.

        So even in my most compassionate self of thinking about that she is indeed going through a lot, I think it would be harmless innocuous and basically neutral to ask her why she couldn’t take a couple minutes and load the dishwasher.

        Rationally, sensibly, perhaps the truth of the matter is that the task is almost next to nothing so far is energy or effort required to do it. And so it seems to me that I should be able to ask her this very simple honest and open question in the spirit of perhaps trying to help her. Right? Sometimes just having tasks to do in the day can help a person resume their normal life. So here I am thinking all rationally and so sensible a matter of fact.

        But then I also realize that despite how truthfully sensible in so many ways that question would be, if I was to ask her that question she would most likely get super angry at me and whether or not we got in a fight would depend on various things, but she would most likely spend the rest of the day and night with a huge resentment and I would be feeling The repercussionsfor longer than I would ever have thought possible. Lol

        So sure, the idea of race has no foundation, it’s totally irrational, and I’m sure even many people of color are intelligent and understand that race really has no substance.

        And yet for many people if I was to say the statement I said above, that I do not see race I only see human beings, Regardless of what might be true or rational or sensible of the situation, many people of color would view my statement as a slight, if not an out right invalidation of their existence regardless of what might be true or rational or sensible.

        Now I am not sure that language is encoding this into our society. I think that this encoding occurs because of lived experience, and though language may indeed reflect a certain morality, I don’t think that language is the primary. I think it is a reinforcer, so to speak. I think it is the discrepancy involved in the situation, between language and lived experience, that opens the space for a change.


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