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Author Topic: What is race?  (Read 3814 times)

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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What is race?
« on: 24/11/2009 07:29:18 »
The term "genus" is Latin for "race" or "type". Genus sits just above species in the classification of living things in biology. There is a lot of debate on what "species" means but generally what it means in the animal kingdom that if a male and female mate and produce a fertile offspring they are considered the same species. Horses and donkeys will produce a mule or a hinny, which are not fertile so horses and donkeys are considered different species. Breed a doberman (or any other breed of domestic dog) with a wolf (probably not a good idea) and you get puppies that are fertile. So these two animals are considered the same species even though they are very different animals.

Different people look different. However every single person alive today is descended from Africans. Current Africans, or people who's ancestors came out of Africa a few generations ago have very dark skin, usually dark eyes, and tightly curled dark hair.

People who come from Europe, who's African ancestors are more ancient have lighter skin eyes and hair that is straighter. The more northern Europeans, who may have the most ancient African ancestors, have the lightest skin and hair.

This skin lightening may be an adaptation to less sunlight. Dark skin protects better from a lot of sun but does not produce as much vitamin D.

Some of our ancestors moved east into what is today Asia. These people changed too, but in different ways than there European cousins.

Some Asians moved north and east into what is now North America. It's interesting to note that Native Americans look more and more Asian the farther north you go. So it's clear that the Asians moving into America changed more as the moved south.

Other Asians moved south into islands in the southern Pacific and Indian Ocean, eventually settling in Australia. The Asians settling in Australian did something interesting. They became very dark skinned again. They look a lot like modern Africans but a closer looks show they look a lot more Asian than African. They have dark skin sure, but this makes sense. Australia, like Africa is very sunny.

All of this spread began no more than 100 thousand years ago, or 25 thousand generations, in 1 generation = 25 years. This means if you could meet your great (times 25000) grandfather he'd look as African as Nelson Mandela.

So if all of our grandfathers had dark skin and tightly curly hair just a few thousand generations ago, what exactly is the difference between races? Am I any less "African-American" than say Will Smith, simply because Smith's African ancestor is more recent than mine by a few thousand generations?

Every single human can mate with any other of the opposite gender and produce a fully functional baby.

DNA testing has shown that genetic diversity is far less in the entire human race than in two adjacent chimp families. Clearly we are one people, no matter how different we look.


 

Offline Nizzle

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What is race?
« Reply #1 on: 24/11/2009 08:34:55 »
Thanks for sharing this already generally accepted knowledge.
However, you're preaching to the converted here.
I don't think there are any racists to be found on this forum.
 

Offline geo driver

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What is race?
« Reply #2 on: 24/11/2009 08:53:14 »
isnt race a thing where people go around a course to get to the finish line first

 

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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What is race?
« Reply #3 on: 24/11/2009 18:47:21 »
Thanks for sharing this already generally accepted knowledge.
However, you're preaching to the converted here.
I don't think there are any racists to be found on this forum.

I would bet there are racists in this forum, simply because they are everywhere.

Personally I think racism is in the human makeup. Think about this. When our ancestors lived in small hunter gather groups any stranger happening by was likely there for no good. Today these feeling are more detrimental to society but they are still very strong. Look at sports fans.  In my home state every December they hold what's called "The Civil War" a football game between Oregon State Beavers and University of Oregon Ducks. It's just a college football game but this year tickets are running as high as $450, and it's been sold out for weeks. Thousands of people are willing to pay nearly a week's wages to sit in a cold, likely rainy stadium for 2 or more hours to cheer on there teams then sit in there car for several more hours just to drive out of the parking lot. What's more the game is going to be televised nation wide so every one of those people could see the game better in their own homes, warm and dry for free. And this is just a football game. What happens in important situations. Say your country is attacked by people who not only look very different than you but come from a different culture with a different theology and style of dress? What happens when a more advanced civilization encounters a more primitive one who's people look different. Isn't it very easy to say the other society is inferior?

Racism is clearly in human nature, but humans are the only animal with the ability to realize there nature is not only no longer relevant, but that it is now detrimental and are able to overcome it. First you need to realize that you, like every one is raciest, then work every single day to overcome it.

And just so I can make everything very clear GO DUCKS!!!!!
« Last Edit: 24/11/2009 18:50:34 by Eric A. Taylor »
 

Online Bored chemist

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What is race?
« Reply #4 on: 24/11/2009 19:16:41 »
"I would bet there are racists in this forum, simply because they are everywhere."
True, but I bet they are under-represented compared to the population as a whole.
Science is strictly rational and racism isn't, so people who favour one tend not to favour the other.
 

Offline Nizzle

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What is race?
« Reply #5 on: 25/11/2009 10:04:50 »
See my opinion below in red.
I apologize in advance to the colorblind ;)

I would bet there are racists in this forum, simply because they are everywhere.

Personally I think racism is in the human makeup. Think about this. When our ancestors lived in small hunter gather groups any stranger happening by was likely there for no good (except for trading perhaps?). Today these feeling are more detrimental to society but they are still very strong. Look at sports fans (This is rivalry and has nothing to do with races. Probably both teams have black and white team members, and maybe even asian).  ...  . What happens in important situations. Say your country is attacked by people who not only look very different than you but come from a different culture with a different theology and style of dress? (The motive for wars is rarely racist. Even Hitler, who was clearly racist, did not start WW2 with the purpose of killing all jews. He wanted to build the "Treites Reich" (third empire) and then make it 'jew-free').  What happens when a more advanced civilization encounters a more primitive one who's people look different. Isn't it very easy to say the other society is inferior? (Yes, it's very easy to say the other society is inferior, but that statement will be based on scientific progress, wealth, absence of recognizable culture... seldom is it based on the color of the skin)

Racism is clearly in human nature(not exactly), but humans are the only animal with the ability to realize there nature is not only no longer relevant, but that it is now detrimental and are able to overcome it. First you need to realize that you, like every one is raciest,(so you're saying everyone is racist? I tend to disagree) then work every single day to overcome it.
 

Offline Karsten

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What is race?
« Reply #6 on: 25/11/2009 23:44:32 »
Even Hitler, who was clearly racist, did not start WW2 with the purpose of killing all jews. He wanted to build the "Treites Reich" (third empire)

Should say "Drittes Reich". Or "Das Dritte Reich". Treites is not a German word I know. And I know many, many German words.
 

Offline Nizzle

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What is race?
« Reply #7 on: 26/11/2009 07:55:30 »
OK, I apologize for my lack of knowledge of the German language ;)
 

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What is race?
« Reply #7 on: 26/11/2009 07:55:30 »

 

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