I also found this video with some interesting thoughts about pan-africanism....enjoy
Saturday, February 28, 2009
I also found this video with some interesting thoughts about pan-africanism....enjoy
From an article in the Associated Press today:
"Land distribution will continue. It will not stop," Mugabe said. "The few remaining white farmers should quickly vacate their farms as they have no place there."
"Mugabe was capitalizing on what has long been a sensitive issue in Zimbabwe and other nations in the region: the unjust division of land between whites and blacks that is a legacy of colonialism and white minority rule."
Arguably, this policy has been a significant contributor to Zimbabwe's collapsing economy and growing food shortages. It's interesting how the fates of the oppressor and the oppressed are so intertwined in a society.
Do you think Mugabe's motivation for this policy, with all its detrimental effects on Zimbabwe's masses, is purely that of retaliation against years of racial/colonial oppression?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I see "racist" in the same situation as W.E.B Du Bois saw "race;" there is cultural backing to it that cant be denied.
This is where I have problems. I myself was raised in Texas where Mexicans are hired for cheap labor. Though I myself was not raised to think lowly of them, I did seem to gain an elitist mindset somewhere along the way. I did not have to work outside in the cold. I did not have to ride in a dirty truck or wear dirty clothes because I work at a site. I did not bus tables. Over the years it was even added to with the question of whether or not they were illegal.
The reason I am reticent to call myself racist is that I stop myself every time the thoughts come up because I know its irrational. Why should I place myself under a stigma. I dont want to put myself in that category and objectify myself even though I recognize what Fanon refers to.
There are asterisks and that needs to be said first.
Another realization I have come to about myself, however, is that I do not notice my race until I am the minority in an unfamiliar setting. I am from right outside of Memphis, but I spend a lot of time in the city. As everyone is aware, Memphis is a city with a long history of racial tension, a lot of which is not resolved and is still very much alive. Some of the places I go, I am one of the few if not the only white person. It is not until I am in places I am not completely comfortable that I am hyper-aware of my whiteness. Some people in this city do not appreciate THAT white girl at the club or THAT white girl with her group of black friends. While I like to believe that people of our generation are moving past racism, I know that is certainly not the case from past experience and the experiences of others. I am hesitant to go some places because I do not want to put myself in a potentially threatening position; even though my friends say how they will be with me the whole time, they won’t let anything happen to me, everything will be fine, etc. it is unfair for me to put them in the position to have to stand up for me if a situation arises. Race, unfortunately, affects where I can and can not go comfortably and safely in this city.
Going back to my original point of my only being aware of my race in places I’m not completely comfortable or in unfamiliar places—in places I am comfortable and familiar I am not as aware of my race. My sister and I are the only white people in the dance group I am in, and most of the places we dance we are the only white people. I do not notice this as readily, though, because the setting is different.
On to more realizations. . .
While discussing the subject matter of this class with a few of my friends who agreed that race does not exist, we had an interesting conversation about when exactly children realize that there are differences between people. I worked at an all black preschool in North Memphis last year and the three and four year olds there were aware of the differences between white people and black people. My first day of work one of the little girls came up to me and said “You’re hair’s white like you!” Another time, a little girl came to me with her palms up and said “Look! I’m white like you!” These kids are taught about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement at the preschool level. My friend I was having the conversation with, teaches second grade at a school in Boston, MA. Her kids were just learning about MLK Jr. at that the second grade level. When the other teacher in her classroom was teaching about the prejudice and racism black people faced just because of the color of their skin, she said she saw that switch flip inside her kids’ minds and they began to look around and realize they were different from one another. While I am not saying we should ignore the history of our country and stop teaching about the struggle African Americans have faced for centuries, I think it would be interesting to know what would happen if in a compossible world where we didn’t teach children about our “differences.” Would there still be racism? Holding all influence from parents and the outside world [if that is even possible to imagine], would the children in our compossible world ever think to discriminate against someone who did not look like them?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Locke’s reversal of emphasis produces many questions. Among these is the unanswered (and perhaps unanswerable) dichotomy of race; the phenomenon of race in terms of the cultural vs. physical. It seems impossible to try and confine a term as vast as “race” to one of these categories, but I am inclined to agree with Locke and would offer that race is absolutely cultural. Using the reversal of emphasis, one could argue that social traits such as behavior and cultural tradition produce our concept of race. How else, then, could someone “act” black or “act” white? Since there is no physical change, this anomaly is a behavioral adoption. Thus, what we refer to as black or white in this sense must ultimately be cultural.
On a fundamental level, one can explore the dichotomy of race by observing the history of racism and racial dominance. The white Europeans and Americans that raped Africa for centuries were able to do so not because they were white, but because of an exhaustive list of cultural traits that, under those circumstances, allowed them dominance. It is these cultural categories and differences that divide humankind. Skin color is and was merely a way to identify those who are culturally different. Not unlike the yellow stars placed on German jews during the rise of the nazi party, is skin color. Both are physical representations, or markers of cultural differences, not the differences themselves.
I don’t claim skin color to be insignificant. It is an identity, more for some than for others. However, in trying to understand race, it is important to separate race from skin color, if at least as an intellectual exercise. The root of race and racism lies not in the physical differences, but in the cultural differences such as language, tradition, or behavior. These contrasts and overlaps are complex, while skin color is simple and therefore tempting.
In another movie Remember the Titans, the problem of racism it faced while keeping race itself alive. The team learns how to get beyond the racial barriers and play and win together. However, the Titans are able to get along because of they all assimilate into each other’s cultures, by appreciating each other’s families to music tastes and not trying to eliminate the concept of skin color and cultural differences but to face them. Even though there were still people, in Remember the Titans that remained racist, if the majority goes past it then maybe a less racist society will be created. Racism, that implies a negative connotation and prejudices should be eliminated but race itself will remain because it is a part of a person’s own identity.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Europeans, particularly early explorers, had no insight into African religions or cultures; they were simply different, and compared to the Western norm of Christianity appeared “savage” or “primitive.” European explorers and scientists, having means of physical domination over black Africans due to technological and military superiority, were thus inclined to see Africans not as different equals (as they were yet quite unaware of the complexity existent within African cultures), but as inferiors. They made this assumption (universally it seems) without any inquiry into the culture itself, perceiving nothing on the surface of what they passively observed of it to redeem it as even human. A vast swath of colonial discourse attests to this fact and can be seen most vividly in writings centered on leaving Europe to embark on a “humanizing mission.” An example of such would be Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden,” in which he states:
Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.
The obvious implication here is that Africans are not human, and while this poem was produced in 1899, after the concept of race had matured significantly, it represents only a more developed form of the rationalization of colonial conquest that had existed since Columbus—the mission of humanizing inhuman beings. Scientifically however, one cannot so easily state that Africans are not humans, as were an African and a European, one being male and the other female, to attempt procreation, their attempt would just as likely yield vibrant and fertile offspring as were two Europeans or two Africans to attempt the same. There was no immediate existing identifiable scientific division to delineate the two groups except for the obvious morphological differences, which Europeans, seeing themselves as clearly superior in every aspect (including the biological aspect), simply could not understand. How do these people share a common humanity with us when they are clearly lower than us, almost like animals? Thus a new, artificial division was contrived by scientists and philosophers, based not on the principals of natural science which had been observed for thousands of years, but on the vague notion that these people look and act differently, and so they cannot be of the same blood as us. This division is called race, and since its initiation into science the idea and its implications have complicated and confounded nearly every productive interaction between differing races. The idea of race is a white construction wrought by a European need for division between themselves as civilized Christians and the other as uncivilized savages. Without such labels as Negro and black, how would whites differ in scientific and philosophical dialogue from simply “the other?” With this development in nomenclature, Europeans could identify other races as inferior without jeopardizing their own humanity.
As their technology and science had generally reached superior heights, so, they believed, their culture (particularly its Christian elements) had also developed beyond that of native Africans, and thus were they justified in believing in the superiority of the white race. Many scientists and philosophers expounded on this notion, placing the different races in a hierarchy with, invariably, Europeans at the top. So recently drunk with the rationality and infallibility of science, and its infinite ability to label and classify, creating, even, new categories for classification, if necessary, Europeans were no doubt disposed to yield their entire consciousness to this new distinction. They, being superior in power, had nothing to lose in doing so. With such a distinction they had a basis on which to identify the other, and the notion that this other is lower on the racial hierarchy. White people created the game of race, along with the terms used and these terms’ connotations, and so it is obvious that the concept will favor their superiority. One must realize that the concept of race and what it was originally intended to describe or imply (generally, superiority and inferiority rather than just difference) is artificial rather than natural, and was constructed and introduced already with the idea of European superiority. The term is just a word or a division that was crafted specifically to solidify that notion, which was commonly held in Europe before the term race came to be used. Thus, the term is fundamentally flawed as a scientific distinction and its continued use should be seen as an affront to both science and humanity.
But how can we abandon the term “race?” The concept is entrenched deeply in our society, and there is no obvious alternative. Race seems to describe two things: morphology and culture. The term can seemingly be used to describe both of these distinctions simultaneously, or to describe either individually. One can appear black and be categorized as black by this distinction alone, but it can also be said that a person who appears black is being white if they conform more to white culture. Though the term was originally conceived by Europeans and constructed to facilitate a perception of European superiority, and though it lacks a cohesive definition, leaving many unsure of where they fall in the racial spectrum, it has come to be accepted and used by people of all races. The institutionalization of the superiority of Europeans through the use of the concept of race, it seems, has borne it into the modern era, where it is continuing to be used, despite its obvious flaws and insufficiencies. The term’s ambiguity and the impossibility of locating a single definition also makes it hard to find an alternative which would be so comprehensive in what it describes, and yet productive in how it conceives differences and their origins. It seems then that the term “race” is insurmountable due to its prevalence and ambiguity. We must learn to work with the term, and to, over time, dismantle the inherent favoritism towards white skin and culture around which the term was forged. It is still an artificial division, but one that can yet yield positive results.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Dr. Honey then discussed King and the three phases of the civil rights movement. Phase one was gaining constitutional rights, phase two was economic equality, and the third phase was against war. According to Honey, King would not be surprised by our financial state today because King believed that war, poverty, and racism were all connected.
I most enjoyed Honey’s discussion of King in relation to Memphis. He said that many people believe that the civil rights movement “stops” at Memphis, however this is untrue. The movement is still going on, King accomplished phase one, gaining constitutional rights, and phase two and three have yet to happen. Honey also remarked on the race riots that occurred after King’s death and how Memphis was one of the few places that did not have a riot. He said that this was because they already had a Union movement in place that they were focused on and could channel their anger and frustration into. This of course was the Memphis Sanitation Strike, which was why King was in Memphis in the first place when he died.
Dr. Honey’s lecture was interesting. I am not from Memphis or the South and whenever I studied or read anything about Dr. Martin Luther King it has been in the context of a formal and almost detached history book. Honey’s lecture offered a much more personal perspective on King and especially on the day that he died. Honey said that in his new book, “Going Down Jericho Road”, he looked at oral histories and interviews from people from Memphis who were there or just within the city and their experience on the day that King was shot. Honey also alludes to a conspiracy theory that he has regarding King’s death, but of course, I have to buy the book and read it to find out what exactly that entails.
Neuroscientist Steven Rose says no.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The big question from class Tuesday and definitely in this post:
To what extent is race an essential property of an individual's identity? Esp. in the way that other properties are not? I.e. Is it essential to me being me that I'm a certain height or weight? That right now I have the property of being in a particular location? That I have certain beliefs and desires? That I am the oldest sibling in my family, and was not a younger sibling? What properties can I alter and still be me?
Here is a somewhat absurd thought experiment to investigate this issue:
If one day you woke up and were no longer African-American, but were instead either Native American, a Mexican-American, or even a white-American, would you still be you? (and if there is a distinction to be made between which say so, i.e. I'd still be me so long as it an x,y,z group/race and not group/race q, and try to explain why if possible)
Now...presuming race is not ultimately meaningless like Montagu contends, I think we have to sort out exactly what losing a racial identity would mean, from a sociohistorical conception of race like the one Du Bois has.
Is it that you just wake up one day with another skin color and some other physical characteristics people attribute to a given group?
For the sake of rhetorical flair, lets call this the MJ Case:
Assuming Michael Jackson is black/African-American (I imagine someone might dispute this, but I don't know why or how). Is Michael still michael, even despite having different facial features and a far lighter skin pigment than he did in '81? The next question, then, is is he still African-American? His 'common history' hasn't changed...he still grew up in an African-American family and presumably learned and experienced all the things necessary for the bond of a 'common history.' I think the best conclusion from this case is that MJ is still sociohistorically black.
Or, what if you had a new 'common history', yet physically were the same?
I'm having a really hard time figuring out exactly how this would work...namely how much of your current 'common history' with your own race would need to be wiped out, and what exactly that comes to.
This is roughly what I've come up with (other possibilities are definitely welcome):
To get a new common history, would be to have your own ideas shaped and largely framed in reference to past historical forces beyond your control, most specifically past ideologies/attitudes about race relations.
I'd also emphasize that these ideologies/attitudes will still exist in some form or another in your own time: I.e. It's fair to say the KKK strand of white supremacy is a weaker force today than it was in 1960 and that any idea that non-whites are only property is practically dead, but that some other manifestations of white supremacy are more prevalent and considered more acceptable, perhaps something like "whiteness" is typically more beautiful than "non-whiteness."
So with this idea of what a common history means for an individual, lets apply this to the objection that Ian's attitude toward judging people on their merits is the product of him having the good fortune of experiencing the less discriminatory side of white supremacy. Let's say Ian fully acquaints himself with the past history of African-Americans and definitely is familiar with the strands that most directly shape what might be dubbed 'black consciousness today.' He also interacts on a daily basis with African-Americans. Can he be considered a part of the African-American group?
Unless African-American literally requires African-American ancestors, I'm not sure how this move can be blocked...The problem with the ancestor rationale is that it can't explain how did the first African-American become the first African-American if a sufficient condition is that a forebear is required; it can't explain how the racial category itself came into being. Maybe personal experience with discrimination is a needed condition? But if that's true, then there is the odd conclusion that black babies that die at birth aren't a part of their race unless someone did something racially negative toward them; or that an African-American orphan who looks white and is raised by whites isn't black, until he and others become aware of his 'blackness.' Anyone else have any ideas on this? Reactions?
To backtrack a bit, there might be an ironic twist counter to the "Ian is white, so he has the luxury of looking at himself as an individual and being judged on his merits and not his race" argument. Namely, that if the determining factor of race is ultimately the result of attitudes/ideas of in a specific power hierarchy (e.g.
Now obviously the individual merits idea is being trampled upon by other ideas that negatively discriminate based off race. But if those bad ideas are removed from a dominant spot in the power structure, then the positive, arguably colorblind, idea still exists and can be incorporated. Then, does it particularly matter where the idea actually originated from? If it’s black, white, asian, native american, hispanic?
For example, part of the German national identity was at one point Nazism and by extension rabid anti-semitism, but that national identity no longer contains those elements. Now, is there any sense that Aryans today would be obligated to denounce Relativity theory because it was invented by Albert Einstein, a jew? My roommate, an African-American male, insisted I include this, after reading your blog post JJohnson; hopefully it can help generate some interesting discussion: “To say that your race is your identity, or to say that you are who you are because of your race, ultimately is a cop out. To me, it seems to say that everything that is me, or everything that’s meaningful about me, is what it is because of the people who are in my race who came before me. I can’t imagine that this is any type of freedom or truly meaningful definition. If I were not my race, there may be small differences, but I do not feel that I would lose what truly makes me “me.” I may lose the history, and because of that history I may lose certain partial views on life or society, but that’s not what makes me “me.” My race is not my identity, and I thank God for that.”
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
In class the question was posed about whether eliminating racism required a colorblind society. The answer is, no it does not. There is a strong necessity for groups to identify with their race and for other groups to recognize other races exist. Not to do so would mean completely ignoring history. To ignore race would also take away a person's identity. When someone asks me to describe myself one of the first things I say is that I am an African American female. To say that I am an African American means something specific yet special. It means I am a part of a group with a history and a story of which I am proud. The same applies to everyone else as well.
Everyone identifies himself according to which race he belongs. Our race is our identity. If the end of racism meant ignoring race completely, there would be no such thing as diversity, which is something on which we pride ourselves.We believe that diversity helps us to learn about one another. Even at Rhodes we strive to have diverse campus in order to prepare us for our futures. We have to be able to cooperate with people who are different from us if we want to survive in this world. None of us are made the same. As stated in class, if we do not recognize race in order to distinguish ourselves there will just be something else we use in order to identify ourselves because we know and love that fact that all of us are different. Our race is who we are; it is what makes us unique. Without my race, who am I? Who are you? I am not a racist but my race is my identity.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I don’t think that it is necessary to be completely separate as a race, but I do think that in order to make any real changes, that race must be at the forefront of the movement. This is true for all other movements whether based on race, class, gender, or sexual orientation; that group has to lead the movement. Unlike DuBois, I think that all members of the group should have a voice and can actively participate in the movement. DuBois deemed the blacks in America as the ‘Talented Tenth’ that would be responsible for the advancement and contribution of the Black Diaspora. While the times and nature of society has changed since DuBois published this article, I feel that some still share his belief. As was brought up in class, I have been commonly taught that DuBois meant the Talented Tenth to be the upper echelon, elite Blacks. This interpretation is what I continue to see today. The most educated, the wealthiest, and the most “advanced” of any group are looked up to and deemed responsible for the entire group.
The contributions of African Americans are range widely; traffic lights, automatic gear shift, the electric trolley, and air conditioner! But other contributions have shaped the arts, music, and culture of not only black America but America as a whole. The sources of these contributions are not limited to what we consider the “Talented Tenth” of African Americans, they include uneducated and poor African Americans. What we consider to be important in our society has determined what we consider to be valuable contributions, and who we consider to be productive members of our society. The talented tenth idea perpetuates the idea that the those uneducated and poor members of our society are not making valuable contributions to society but history in itself proves otherwise.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
W. E. B Du Bois agrees in his article The Conservation of Race. Du Bois guides his perspective by defining race as “a vast family of human beings, generally of common blood and language, always of common history, traditions and impulses, who are both voluntarily and involuntarily striving together for the accomplishment of certain more or less vividly conceived ideals of life. (110)” The term has developed meaning through time and “we cannot not reverse history. (112)” He even furthers his argument by suggesting that a race differences should not be discarded by the people. This could lead to even more confusion and races, such as the Negroes, should not be absorbed into the society in which they live. Rather, the “races” should band together to create organizations for themselves, embracing their pride and differences to “positively advance. (114)”
Although the idea sounds nice, Du Bois discards the racial justifications to allow one to be in the organization. He supposes that one is either white or black. Yet throughout the American society, it has been more and more obvious this is not the case. To create organizations for “race” groups would only further the complexity of the term, and cause more friction amongst the groups. Man, especially groups of men, thrives off competition and there will always be the urge to fight. This would essentially create a racial hierarchy, and more division among the people. The countries would begin to divide in struggle for their own territory. Then, people would have to define themselves according to the context to which they belong. This can be confusing for people that don’t carry the similar characteristics as their “race. “ Montagu states its best that one cannot rely on a term that is artificial, counters factual knowledge, and has no solid boundaries creating confusion. To create racial organizations would only further the friction amongst people.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Although Obama spoke to fathers “black or white, rich or poor, from the South Side or the wealthiest suburb,” he specifically addressed members of the African-American community at the beginning of his speech.
This was a very powerful speech, and I think the biggest factor in its strength was the relationship between the speaker and the audience (which was predominantly black). By using the word “we,” Obama showed that he identified himself as a member of the African American community. Imagine instead if this same speech had been given by the late Viola Liuzzo. Despite her role as prominent, white, civil rights activist during the 1960s, if she had said “you and I know how true this is in the African American community,” her plea would not carry the same clout as it would if the speech were given by someone whom the audience saw as a fellow member of the group.
“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us towards it. But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.
You and I know how true this is in the African American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled – doubled – since we were children. We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”
The idea of race both divides and unites. In one way, it calls attention to differences, but the concept of race can also be a compelling force in achieving solidarity. Do you think racial solidarity is a necessary step toward integration and equality, or is it detrimental?
Skin color, language, continent – whatever basis used to define a race – we know that these categories do not serve as steadfast indicators of the individual’s moral or intellectual capacity. However, as Walter wrote in his post below, “the idea of racism, the act of racism, has been carried out, throughout history, on the basis of physical characteristics.” Although scholars have disproven the scientific validity of racial categories, we cannot ignore that racism has stemmed from such pseudoscientific arguments in the past and continues to do so today. Even though the reasoning is false, its effects are quite real.
Perhaps one reason why these pseudoscientific ideas of race still permeate our beliefs is because our generation in particular was taught at an early age to ignore color and to avoid talking about race, a topic which was practically taboo in elementary school. And it’s clear from our recent class discussions that talking openly about race or offering examples of racial stereotypes is uncomfortable for many of us. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, though. We don’t want to admit that we know of the labels, and we fear that by verbalizing them, others may assume we are expressing our personal beliefs. When we were younger, we quickly realized that it was impossible to be racially color-blind. We noticed things like gaps in academic achievement and started to draw our own conclusions. There is a fine line between pointing out a correlation and making a value judgment, and I think that ignoring the historical context of race makes it easier to inadvertently draw an erroneous causal relationship between a group of people and a statistic such as the probability of incarceration.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
It seems that maybe there is a fusion of sorts, that race is a social construct that has identified itself in physical characteristics. The idea of racism, the act of racism, has been carried out, throughout history, on the basis of physical characteristics. There were prejudices against a color, not necessarily a race or the social characterization of race. If a white woman acts black she is not black, she is still white, but on the inside she identifies with black culture. If the same woman acts like a man, she is still a woman, but she identifies with masculine culture. She is masculine, displays masculine tendencies, and is as much a man on the inside as she remains a woman on the outside. The same remains true for the former instance; she is black, displays black tendencies, and is as much an African American on the inside as she is white on the outside. So who is she really? Well it seems that if she had been on say the titanic she still would have been saved with the children and not left for the waters with the men. So that means that we judge, in some situations, a person by their physical characteristics. So it seems that maybe the fault lies with our current and past characterizations of people, we judge the metaphorical book by the cover and leave little worry for the inside. When slavery was in practice, whites brainwashed each other into never thinking about what they may have in common underneath the skin. Only into looking at he skin and believing what others told them about other's insides. Let's take a look back at the woman, now lets pretend that she is a mix race and that her mother is African-American, and her father Caucasian. Now, although she still looks white she is half black. No try the same thought process (acting black or man), is she more black now? It seems at first that she is, is this another instance of physiological necessity for race. Perhaps it is heritage. It seems that a black, white, Asian, or Latino child, brought up in a family of a different race would identify with his family's respective race. Perhaps it is who, as a human, you identify with that gives you a sense of belonging. Some people identify with people of another color, many other colors, or people of the some color, the problem only arises when some identify with people of the same color because they do not understand how to look past color, towards the thousands of similarities that we all share. It is this mis-step that leads to racism, the idea that we cannot find heritage in people of all colors. It is because they never see that we all share a piece of this same pie, called humanity.
Also, I have heard rumors that some of you think I am a communist because I want media control from the govt. (yes the Rhodes rumor mill is crazy like that) Well that is pretty far from my real ideology but I can see the possible presumptions. Let me clear that up with this: I want media to be regulated by us, by the Internet, and/or by peer review. Why not have top economist, philosophers, writers, and all the other PhD's of the world researching and telling the news. I want peer reviewed news, not slanderous money making crap. I want to know that what those news stations are representing as the truth is nothing but just that. I want peace of mind, that the information that uneducated America relies upon (for things like voting) is not pure bullshit. I want freedom of speech, but I want to be free not to be lied to as well. Something like I am free to say whatever I would like so long as I am not lying or misrepresenting the truth for an end not worthy of the means.
I think my problem with both Locke’s idea of social heredity and the Anthropological Concept of Race is the extremity of the theories. I feel like there must be some sort of fusion of the two. I understand and agree that if someone says that a black person acts white, or a white person acts black, that doesn’t make sense if all we mean by race is physical characteristics. In the way that we’ve always talked about race, we have never been able to completely separate physical characteristics from cultural, linguistic, and moral characteristics. These are the things that would back up Locke’s theory. Having said that, I think that to call race an entirely social construct is taking it too far. In what he calls the “reversal of emphasis”, Locke says that the idea of race expressing culture should be changed to show that culture produces race, in the sense of producing racial categories. And while there is definitely truth in that I’m not sure if I completely buy into the idea of race as entirely socially constructed. Maybe I just have a narrower vision of race as a biological characteristic, and I take social and cultural issues in a different way, and look at them as a part of ethnicity. I recognize that Locke is not suggesting that the term race has lost its meaning and that we should get rid of it in favor of the term culture. He is rather suggesting that we should re-look at the relationship between culture and race and change the way that we talk about both.
So, what do you think? Does race express culture, as was previously thought, or does culture produce racial categories? Can all people even fit into racial categories? Or do culture and race have a mutually dependent relationship, in which they both affect each other, and neither can be explained without the other?