Monday, January 30, 2017

On Race Again

:: stand-up philosophy by Wes Cecil ::

What I wrote on Facebook:
Really enjoyed this, because he's doing philosophy and standup comedy at the same time. Gets my attention. Yay, my discipline gets into the nightclub scene (reminds me of Tom Lehrer).
... and in a follow-up comment:
The End of Racism by Dinesh D'Souza is pretty on target in arguing many anti-racists miss a golden opportunity in buying into "race" as a tenant of their own belief systems, such a foggy and ill-designed concept as Wes Cecil takes up in his mocking philosophy talk. However, given how deeply engrained is the thought pattern, I have to accept that most Americans (at least) are terminally racist (will take belief in races to their grave) and it will be up to future generations to look back and dissect these beliefs in a more clinical postmortem manner.
But then as some of my friends point out, Dinesh has gotten in trouble with the law, and was a big Trump supporter, anti-Hillary. So does that mean races are real?
Thanks for the update about D'Souza, got me checking his website too. 
I do believe in ethnicity as meaningful. I notice racists have a hard time naming the races. The idea of races pre-dates genetic science, which has only further undermined the idea. Certainly "Anglo-Saxon" is not a race. Or maybe some think it is, as there's really not much agreement on what the races are in the first place, assuming they exist for the sake of argument.
Quoting from my Synergetics on the Web (1990s):
Western science originally portrayed race and class as characteristics of a person's blood which, as such, could be subdivided in proportion to a person's ancestry, "blood" being treated as a mathematical quantity, contributed in equal proportions by one's parents. Hence such terms as "octamaroon" (one eighth black). Whereas "class" is no longer regarded as a genetic entity, "race" has remained a popular concept for grouping genetic characteristics, even if the link to blood is no longer made. Like anthropologist Ashley Montague, Fuller felt the concept of "race" had outlived its usefulness, that the cross-breeding of the world's people, especially evident in North America, was exposing the old racial categories as mere snap-shots of genetic traits thrown together by the exigencies of time, but available in any number of permutations from that vast grab bag of traits known as the human gene pool. In the Fuller lexicon, a racist is perhaps most straightfowardly defined as someone who believes in races.