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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Race: The meaningless Concept

















The new face of Canada As children my family all looked like the tow- headed lad in the back row.

While Canada in the last twenty years has welcomed large numbers of Asians, Caribbeans, Africans and Middle Easterners, race is not a prominent issue in Canadian society. In fact, there are efforts to eliminate it when it raises it's ugly head. We have anti-discrimination laws that work. Police are publically criticized for race profiling. Newspapers are reluctant to identify individuals by "race" or ethnicity unless it is really important to the story. Officially "race" is not a concept used. It is replaced with "visible miorities" when discrimination issues arise. This is all part of Canada's official policy of embracing Multi-culturalism.

Two of my interests came together this morning: my interest in exploring the differences between the United States and Canada and my frequent exploring on the Internet, places in the news. This morning I looked up Enterprise , Alabama, which had its high school destroyed by a Tornado and today President Bush will visit. Enterprise, Alabama (AL) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, j

Here is what struck me:

Races in Enterprise:
White Non-Hispanic (69.4%)
Black (23.0%)
Hispanic (3.9%)
Two or more races (1.9%)
Other race (1.3%)
American Indian (1.0%)
Korean (0.8%)

I realized I had seen this on web sites for countless towns in the US. What is the point of including statistics on "race" on a site about the town. And the categories???? What sense do they make. What is White Non-Hispanic. If one is to use White (trying to indicate of European origin) why further qualify it. Is one less white if you are of Spanish European origin? Of course, Hispanics come in many skin tones.

And then there is Black. This two is a meaningless concept. Most African American's probably have some while ancestors. Should they not be categorized as two or more races. Why do Hispanics and Koreans get their own categoris. American Indian is another can or worms if it means anything like the categories here in Canada: Status Indian, non-status Indian, First Nation people, Metis, Half-breed. If American Indian means any or all these I would bet their are more that 1% of the population that could claim American Indian. To explore the notion of race begin with Race - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia After reading this one will be struck at how useless a concept it is.

Race is a useless concept. There is only one race THE HUMAN RACE. Most recent research into this concept has focused on DNA to reveal how close and far and by what route we migrated for our African origin as people. Trace Your Ancestry with DNA - Genebase.com

This startling list of races, which I have seen on many web sites of American towns, made me look at the sites of Canadian towns. They do not include such lists or references to race. Usually, there are photos of people which indicate it is a culturally mixed community which welcomes families of many ethnic and "race" groups.

I looked up the government site on the ethnic makeup of Canada. Here is the summary of a study project Ethnic Diversity Survey: Portrait of a Multicultural Society: Product main page In this survey "race" is only used in a street level sense to explain discrimination experiences by visible minorities.

The American listing of "race" as important to understand an American towns and not Canadian towns, leads one to conclude American society is still obsessed by race and thereby racist while Canadian society finds race largely irrelevant.

For a country, that sees itself as a "melting pot" the idea of race should be melt away.Unfortunately it persists in the United States. Canada, which has been described as a "verticle mosaic" (a class society). {the book, The Verticle Mosaic, by John Porter seems to be out of print. This makes me feel really old.}, rather than a melting pot. Ironically, in practice Canada does melt cultures together in a couple of generations.

If American towns include racial make-up as a way of advertizing their town, I for one sees it as a negative indicator. I would would not want to live in such a racist community.

1 Comments:

At 10:37 PM, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Of course, there is really no such thing as race. We have all come out of Africa or are still there. All of us inherit the same genes that only get modified a bit from time to time. For example: white people lost their pigmentation because they needed to absorb more sunlight when they chose to live in northern climes. Well, this is what I understand anyway.

 

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