If race is a construct, what exactly has been constructed?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Engorged On Unborn Gore, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Engorged On Unborn Gore

    Engorged On Unborn Gore Well-Known Member

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    Eenie Meenie and Bulletproof kind of touched on this topic in the fan ban thread, and I wanted to know what you guys think about it.

    Race appears to be a useless construct that doesn't help humanity. The terms "black" and "white" are antebellum terms that don't accurately describe human beings that are honestly beige and brown, but have nevertheless ended up on our state and federal forms.

    If these terms are not accurate, if they are falsehoods that we accept as identifiers, what is the cost of treating them as authentic? Do kids understand the concept of "constructs"? What damage is caused until they come to grips with that concept? And what about people who never figure out that ideas related to race are constructs?

    I feel like the terms we use, especially "black" and "white", should be abandoned. I think the extreme nature of these terms create unnatural and unnecessary consequences for humanity.
     
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  2. One Brow

    One Brow Well-Known Member

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    I think that is a great long-term goal. However, as long as people use these constructs based on surface markers to perpetuate differential treatment, we will to track them to combat the differential treatment.

    Designating one group or another as the "other" goes much further back than the concept of race. It will be with us for as long as humans are the only known intelligent species, I think.
     
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  3. Zombie

    Zombie Well-Known Member

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    I kept retyping similar thoughts, and ended up not posting what I had written because you basically nailed it.
     
  4. Zombie

    Zombie Well-Known Member

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    Here's a good video that explores these ideas
     
  5. Stoked

    Stoked Well-Known Member Contributor 2018 Award Winner

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    What has been constructed is a means to divide and conquer.

    Humans are to busy looking for ways to separate themselves from others. They should be more worried about just being.
     
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  6. LogGrad98

    LogGrad98 Well-Known Member Contributor

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    This has it's roots in our tribal nature which, way back before modern societies, was a means of survival and resource acquisition and allocation. It has since morphed into the racist lines we see today, which could be viewed as bigger tribes still vying for resources, only the means have changed from raids and wars to systematic oppression. Only we live in an age where everyone can actually win together, but it takes everyone purposefully overcoming that tribal mentality.
     
  7. Engorged On Unborn Gore

    Engorged On Unborn Gore Well-Known Member

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    But this right here is the first front where the constructs fail (and spectacularly). There is no white race. No one is white, not a single white person can be found, and the relative lack of melanin results in a skin color that is honestly something between beige and light pink.

    When you call such people "white", and you unleash the attendant non-racial meanings of that word on them (pure, clean, angelic, godly, spotless, sacredness, Etc.), you create a hierarchy that necessarily projects harm on all "non-white" people. So are there people who mistakenly believe that there is a "pure race"? Yes. Do some consider themselves to be clean, godly, and spotless by virtue of this social conceit? Sure as ****, they do. Are they granted social privilege by winning this genetic lottery? History overwhelmingly affirms so.

    There is a similar problem with the term "black". It is irrevocably tied to notions of being rotten, filthy, unclean, profane, Etc. It's continued use projects all of that onto people that are not, and cannot ever be, legitimately black. There are consequences for word use whether the intent is there or not, and the term "black" (in reference to brown people) was brought into prominence in the 17th century by the Atlantic slave trade.

    We accept that destruction as if it is unavoidable, but it isn't. We read about it's implementation in history, and we continue with it as if it can't be fixed. I think that's a self-betrayal on the level of our entire species.

    I agree that othering is in our nature, but it is the lowest part of us. Your last sentence is decadently ironic, because we attempt in vain to continue on with these terms as if they are correct. We know that they are incorrect on their face.
     
  8. One Brow

    One Brow Well-Known Member

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    The ontological reality/actual existence of a social construct like race, caste, gender, etc. is a philosophical question. What is real is that people behave as if these social constructs are real, and pass these behaviors onto their children and others in their purview. These ideas have real social inertia; they do not dissipate when ignored, and often spread. So, helping those who are disadvantaged by being in the supposed lower/inferior/more restricted groupings/tiers means acknowledging the existence of these constructs in order to fight them, not ignoring their existence.

    Of course it can be fixed. The Irish became white* (that is, white as a social construct) about a century ago. On the other hand, Arabs seem to be losing their whiteness* recently. The goal will be achieved when everyone is white*, regardless of skin color.

    I don't know about you, but I continue on with these terms knowing they are incorrect, yet still in wide usage. You can only communicate in a language other people recognize.
     
  9. Engorged On Unborn Gore

    Engorged On Unborn Gore Well-Known Member

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    Forgive me for not being clear, but I'm not interested in ignoring them at all. I am interested in open war to eradicate constructs that masquerade as authentic, holistic cultures.

    In other words, I am not the "I don't see race" guy. I'm the "these lies do not serve us, they are pretend, and our culture is mythic as a result" guy.

    Agreed.

    Agreed.

    This is not fixed. This is just more pretend. It's like when brown people display the cues presented by Eurocentric people, and pass as "white". The answer must be authentic, and reside in something honest and accurate. It would be much more productive to tie culture to location, for example. Because then German, French, Swedish, Etc., are not subject to the cultural erasure that happens when you refer to these people as "white".

    People can learn new concepts. Especially when they are grounded in visible realities like melanin.
     
  10. One Brow

    One Brow Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the concepts. Do you have a formulation for converting them into actions?
     
  11. Engorged On Unborn Gore

    Engorged On Unborn Gore Well-Known Member

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    It is difficult, because we have allowed these conceits to tie our communities into an awful Gordian knot. For most people, white and black = authentic cultures.

    All I can say is this truth: If something is false, it should be destroyed.
     
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  12. gandalfe

    gandalfe Well-Known Member

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    Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
    And another
    Inferior
    Is finally
    And permanently
    Discredited
    And abandoned
    Everywhere is war -
    Me say war.
    That until there no longer
    First class and second class citizens of any nation
    Until the colour of a man's skin
    Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes -
    Me say war.
    That until the basic human rights
    Are equally guaranteed to all,
    Without regard to race
    Dis a war.
    That until that day
    The dream of lasting peace
    World citizenship
    Rule of international morality
    Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
    But never attained -
    Now everywhere is war - war.
    And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes
    that hold our brothers in Angola,
    In Mozambique,
    South Africa
    Sub-human bondage
    Have been toppled,
    Utterly destroyed
    Well, everywhere is war
    Me say war.
    War in the east,
    War in the west,
    War up north,
    War down south
    War - war -
    Rumours of war.
    And until that day,
    The African continent
    Will not know peace,
    We Africans will fight - we find it necessary -
    And we know we shall win
    As we are confident
    In the victory
    Of good over evil -
    Good over evil, yeah!
    Good over evil -
    Good over evil, yeah!
    Good over evil -
    Good over evil, yeah!
     
  13. LogGrad98

    LogGrad98 Well-Known Member Contributor

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    How does supposed cultural appropriation play into the eradication of social constructs of race? Seems to me the entire concept just exacerbates the situation.
     
  14. Eenie-Meenie

    Eenie-Meenie Well-Known Member

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    Xenophobia, fear of strangers, was an evolutionary development that took place before the evolution of human beings. A self-preservation mechanism. But this is something we need to overcome. Sports is a way in which we can overcome it in a peaceful and less violent manner.
     
  15. One Brow

    One Brow Well-Known Member

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    Cultural appropriation is a tricky concept, from what I can tell. When early rock adopted some of the feature of the blues, was that bad or good? You might be able to argue that without rock, Motown never exists. Is wearing dreadlocks as a part of a Halloween costume respectful or disrespectful? I am not educated enough to make these kinds of judgments.

    Cultures naturally borrow and blend, and I think that's a good thing. However, some people take advantage of that to mock, or for pretense, or for other reasons that diminish respect, and that is a bad thing.
     
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  16. jimmy eat jazz

    jimmy eat jazz Well-Known Member

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    The terms are inaccurate, per se, as identifiers; there are distinct differences in skin tones. Where the construct has problems is that people tend to load up the identifiers with attributes that are associated with them. In similar vein, there are clear differences between men and women in terms of appearance, sex organs, etc., so distinguishing between a man and a woman makes sense (though we've learned not the clear cut always), but again the problem comes when we associate attributes to each sex; this is where gender and gender norms come in. Unfortunately women for millenia were disadvantaged by what attributes men, and women it must be added, attributed to their sex (aka gender norms).

    Such physical/appearance differences have always existed and will always exist, and it's not wrong, I suppose, to note such differences, the problem is we humans are not capable of doing so without at the same time attaching certain attributes to them. If we abandon black and white, humans will find some other way to denote the differences and then associated attributes with those differences. I'm afraid that's human nature.

    The term "construct" sound high falutin, but in its absence, what word would we use, because it identifies what we humans do, again, construct a series of attributes that we associate with specific human characteristics? If we don't call them constructs, we must invent another word for it.

    In any case, good topic, it's got me thinking about it when I should be working (so not so great a topic, I suppose).
     
  17. Engorged On Unborn Gore

    Engorged On Unborn Gore Well-Known Member

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    The article is good, except for the fact that it still identifies the developed gene as "white". There is literally no such thing as white skin, nor a white race. The race is misidentified with an antebellum notion that is destructive (intentionally or not) to society.



    It is disconcerting, to say the least, that the depigmentation genes in question both contain the letters "SLC". The science seems destined to lead to jokes about Utah.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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  18. Engorged On Unborn Gore

    Engorged On Unborn Gore Well-Known Member

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    Then the accurate thing to do would be to identify people for what they actually are, using terms that do not carry the cultural baggage of the usual terms.

    In practice, you would say that someone is "beige" if they are beige. Or "brown" if they are brown. Descriptions would only be physical, not racial. I'm not sorry that this makes more sense than what we actually do.

    Cultural identifiers should be regional. If you are from Germany, then that is the term that should be used. Nigeria? --> Nigerian. Etc., Etc.

    Which is precisely why they should be abandoned like the poison that they are. It is essentially an unnecessary tradition that continues to guide us down a destructive path, and all of it is based upon falsehoods.

    While I agree in principle with your point on human nature, abandoning black and white abandons a particularly awful set of myths and would benefit everyone not served by the lie (I.E., equality). Brown and beige, which are more accurate, do not carry that baggage. The more that people use correct identifiers, the more we will be able to reduce the effects of the false terms.

    Continuing on with a society built upon faulty constructs will continue to undermine everything else that is positive in society. "Black" and "white" are that monolithic. No one in either category can live up to the baggage. But in making the attempt, they must necessarily dehumanize themselves and others.

    "Beige" is just a physical descriptor. Same with "brown". People can still attach mythic meanings to anything, sure. But less so when it is tied to something accurate. Terms like German and Nigerian can still be mythic, but at least there are actualities that can benefit cultures and people that are real. "White" is a projection that never had a basis in reality, whatsoever. It is pure simulacra.
     
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  19. One Brow

    One Brow Well-Known Member

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    I saw a video today and thought of this conversation.

     

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