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 Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?

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Mauri



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PostSubject: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Fri 19 Oct 2007, 13:40

The comments that the nobel winning scientist James Watson made a few days ago have rightly given rise to plenty of criticism

http://news.independent.co.uk/sci_tech/article3067222.ece

and have led to his proposed talk at the science museum being cancelled. But was this the right approach to deal with such racist ideas or should he have been given a platform and then debated against in order to destroy his arguments.

This also gives rise to another question about racial determination of human qualities.

The concept of 'race' is basically a Victorian invention to justify the slave trade and yet in recent times many have strived to 'prove' that the colour of someones skin is related to their abilities.

We are all to some degree guilty of this 'White men can't jump', 'Black people can't swim' even more benign sterotypes of black people having a better 'sense of rythm' are relatively universally accepted and recently these 'self evident' truths (after all when did a white man last win the Olympics 100m title?!) have been backed by scientific research (flawed research in my opinion).

It is interesting that we seem to be prepared to accept these conclusionsabout physical differences and yet we are rather more critical and reticent about accepting research into IQ suggesting black people are on average of lower intelligence.

For me saying a black athlete has a genetic advantage over a white athlete is just as racist as saying a white schoolboy has a intellectual genetic advantage over a black shoolboy!
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Sun 21 Oct 2007, 15:42

What scientific research are you referring to and why is it flawed?

I don't think that saying that "a black athlete has a genetic advantage over a white athlete" if it's backed up by scientific fact. There was a programme on the telly years ago that reported findings done in a study to suggest one section of people was generally a poorer swimmer than other sections because of muscle and bone density, making them less efficient in the water. I fail to see how that kind of statement is racist.

There might be other "theories" that cannot be as easily proven, and those might be best forgotten, but again, these aren't inherently racist, just unprovable.

It's just stupid political correctness going mad, Mauri. Sometimes, one section of the community will be better than the others at certain things and it's OK to talk about it and even investigate it.
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Mauri



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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Tue 23 Oct 2007, 12:24

Ciao's Favourite Member wrote:
What scientific research are you referring to and why is it flawed?

I don't think that saying that "a black athlete has a genetic advantage over a white athlete" if it's backed up by scientific fact. There was a programme on the telly years ago that reported findings done in a study to suggest one section of people was generally a poorer swimmer than other sections because of muscle and bone density, making them less efficient in the water. I fail to see how that kind of statement is racist.


Well that one is a good example. The data and the way it was collected has been criticised by many scientists not so much for the results but for the conclusions drawn from it...Looking a bit deeper...

Measures of body composition in blacks and whites: a comparative review” - co-authored by Dale R. Wagner and Vivian H. Heyward seems to show that black people overwhelmingly tend to have greater bone density than white people (on average) BUT Wagner one of the authors says “I don't necessarily know how that would translate into being a world-class swimmer.”

Also evidence has been found that the human skeleton is more dynamic than had previously been supposed, changing in structure in line with the nature of our lifestyles.

Simon Underdown, a lecturer in biological anthropology at Oxford Brookes University says

"If you led the life of a hunter-gatherer, for example, your skeleton would become denser. And this would happen within your lifetime; it would not require the passage of generations for the change to become apparent. Citing the now extinct indigenous inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, he said the relative harshness of their living conditions was reflected in their 'enormously dense skeletons'...I cannot think of a skeletal reason why black people should be handicapped as elite swimmers.”

This is my point, the evidence for these assertions is far from clear and yet many people take this as 'fact'. The racist element might be in the interpretation and acceptance of this valid research to suit people's agenda.

We have to be very careful about the conclusions we make in this area as sometimes the reality is counterintuitive to what we imagine.

The truth is probably that socio-economic factors play a huge and pivotal role in the success or (lack of) of Black swimmers as it does in the success of black Sprinters and the poor performance of black students in IQ tests.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Tue 23 Oct 2007, 14:39

You can classify it as a lot of things though... bad science, poor research... whatever. Not racism though.

The project you've quoted is not specifically researching the correlation between specific factors and professional athletes and so that guy is quite right in hedging his bets with that quote. In order to prove or disprove the theory, you have to specifcally test it. Has that been done?

What it is not, is racism or racist. It's poor science and poor understanding on the part of the general public to spout these things, but they do exactly the same on all manner of topics such as politics etc.

I stand by my original point... it's political correctness gone bonkers.
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Mauri



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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Tue 23 Oct 2007, 14:55

Ciao's Favourite Member wrote:
You can classify it as a lot of things though... bad science, poor research... whatever. Not racism though.

The project you've quoted is not specifically researching the correlation between specific factors and professional athletes and so that guy is quite right in hedging his bets with that quote. In order to prove or disprove the theory, you have to specifcally test it. Has that been done?

What it is not, is racism or racist. It's poor science and poor understanding on the part of the general public to spout these things, but they do exactly the same on all manner of topics such as politics etc.

I stand by my original point... it's political correctness gone bonkers.

Well you could argue it's PC gone mad not to want to call a racist a racist. If anyone goes around saying that black people are less intelligent than white people (in my book at least) they are racist since this cannot be backed up by any good research.

Saying that 'black' people are better runners than white is not racist in itself, some might think it is self evident BUT we mustn't be too prepared to accept anything that justifies the idea of genetic racial differences since by implication this would strenghten the argument or a hierarchy of races does exist when infact the idea of 'race' itself is a rather doubtful concept.

It is no surprise that whenever this kind of research is quoted it is always highligthed by the white supremacists or other with a racial agenda.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Tue 23 Oct 2007, 16:10

Why would it be racist to say black people are less intelligent than white people and not racist to say that black people are better runners than white people?
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Mauri



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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Tue 23 Oct 2007, 16:28

helencbradshaw wrote:
Why would it be racist to say black people are less intelligent than white people and not racist to say that black people are better runners than white people?

No you are quite right Helen it would be racist if you take one definition of racism as being

"a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others."

but since it is cloaked in a 'positive' aspect for black people who are in this country a minority it is not seen as racist by most...but I suppose it could be seen as racism against white people...

The point is that neither statement can really be backed up by evidence so the motives behind the statements should be questioned.

Where it becomes a problem is when it becomes 'accepted' as a self evident truth and thus you might get (unknowingly) discrimination (or maybe less encouragement) for white kids to go into sprinting because "everyone knows that black kids are naturally faster" and conversly a black kid might be pushed into sports as opposed to doing something academic because "everyone knows that black kids do less well in exams"
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Tue 23 Oct 2007, 16:50

It is a tough one as he is not saying that he personally believes that different races have different powers of reason but rather that it he believes it to be scientific fact. However, the tone of the article is such that it strongly indicates at least a veiled racism in his psyche which means any research would be tainted by his pre-conceived ideas.

However, the article is extremely biased against the theory and I would not like to make a judgement on whether he is a racist or not based on it. The article does suggest that he has a mission to prove genetics can solve and prove everything and I would like to think that it is his obsession with this rather than anything else that was the driving force behind the research.

Of course, I would say the research is probably heavily flawed anyway as it does not seem to take into account factors such as environment.
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plipplop

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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Wed 24 Oct 2007, 00:43

Here's another debate for you.

Is it racist to say that you think black people are unattractive?
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Mauri



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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:04

plipplop wrote:
Here's another debate for you.

Is it racist to say that you think black people are unattractive?

Since 'black' people come in all different shapes and sizes and with a variety of physical differences just as 'white' people do you would only be making that judgement on the pigment of their skin that also varies greatly... in short yes it would be 'racist' as well as illogical.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Thu 25 Oct 2007, 14:41

plipplop wrote:
Here's another debate for you.

Is it racist to say that you think black people are unattractive?

Tough one, I think maybe you have to judge it on the way it was said? How was it brought up etc.

putting my neck on the line here, but I have said (although maybe there is a better way to say it) I dont find 'black' people attractive. It's not because I am racist, it's just my preference.
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Mauri



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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Thu 25 Oct 2007, 16:36

spoilt_little_brat wrote:
plipplop wrote:
Here's another debate for you.

Is it racist to say that you think black people are unattractive?

Tough one, I think maybe you have to judge it on the way it was said? How was it brought up etc.

putting my neck on the line here, but I have said (although maybe there is a better way to say it) I dont find 'black' people attractive. It's not because I am racist, it's just my preference.

I'm still not sure how you can categorise a 'black' person simply unattractive purely because of their skin colour...

It is such a manufactured distinction... Halle Berry is a 'Black' actress but taking away the colour of her skin she more closely physically resembles a western European than and native Nigerian for instance. Southern Asian Indians have very dark pigmentation but caucasian features. Many southern Europeans have very dark skin.

Personally I don't like to limit myself...In my opinion there are some beautiful 'black' women around and some very ugly 'white' women, the colour of their skin has little to do with it.

I don't particularly like red hair but on Nikole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Kirsten Dunst it doesn't look all that bad! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Thu 25 Oct 2007, 16:57

Mauri wrote:
plipplop wrote:
Here's another debate for you.

Is it racist to say that you think black people are unattractive?

in short yes it would be 'racist' as well as illogical.

It could be argued racist just to say...."all black people are unattractive" but preferring white skin over black skin (in a physical attraction way) is obviously not racist.

I for instance prefer white wine over red wine. I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate. I prefer diesel engines over petrol engines. I find white skinned women more attractive than black skinned women although Beyonce is one Ive always thought is gorgeous.
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Mauri



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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Thu 25 Oct 2007, 17:50

WormThatTurned wrote:
Mauri wrote:
plipplop wrote:
Here's another debate for you.

Is it racist to say that you think black people are unattractive?

in short yes it would be 'racist' as well as illogical.

It could be argued racist just to say...."all black people are unattractive" but preferring white skin over black skin (in a physical attraction way) is obviously not racist.

I for instance prefer white wine over red wine. I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate. I prefer diesel engines over petrol engines. I find white skinned women more attractive than black skinned women although Beyonce is one Ive always thought is gorgeous.

Well yes BUT...making one physical feature their skin colour, the overiding reason to find someone unattractive when there is so much other variation between people does seem strange and would make me wonder why someone would have such a dislike of dark skinned people (and there is a huge variation in skin tone within 'black' people) to override all other physical aspects when judging attractiveness...
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Fri 26 Oct 2007, 00:02

So by your logic, Mauri, I don't fancy men, so that makes me a homophobe.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Fri 26 Oct 2007, 10:56

It's just not my preferance, nothing racist/wrong with that.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Fri 26 Oct 2007, 11:31

Ciao's Favourite Member wrote:
So by your logic, Mauri, I don't fancy men, so that makes me a homophobe.

No, it makes you heterosexual...
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Mon 29 Oct 2007, 16:52

The logic still stands though. If people have a preference that they can't control, that doesn't automatically make them racist or some other such nonsense that you've spouted in this thread. That's what you seem to be suggesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Tue 30 Oct 2007, 13:27

Ciao's Favourite Member wrote:
The logic still stands though. If people have a preference that they can't control, that doesn't automatically make them racist or some other such nonsense that you've spouted in this thread. That's what you seem to be suggesting.

I don't think I've been 'spouting nonsense'...you might not agree with what I've said but I think I've argued my case in a reasonable way...

So, let's take it a bit further... if I had an 'uncontrolable' dislike for all black people that wouldn't make me a racist or make me hold racist views...? With all due respect I think that's nonsense.

I can understand people being attracted to certain features in people...that's natural... some might like blondes, some might like small noses, some might like long legs BUT to go one step further and to say that you simply find 'Black' people unattractive considering the possible variety in 'black' people's looks seems illogical to me...isn't it a bit like saying I find all 'Jews' unattractive...? Would that be a reasonable personal preference to make or would that be antisemitic?
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Tue 30 Oct 2007, 16:51

I do not find most black men attractive. There are the odd one or two that do, but in all honesty, they tend to have more western features. IT's not a rule I live by, but tends to rule who I go for.

I do not think that makes me racist in the slightest.

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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Tue 30 Oct 2007, 22:00

Mauri wrote:
I don't think I've been 'spouting nonsense'...you might not agree with what I've said but I think I've argued my case in a reasonable way...

Sorry, but I disagree. You have continually forced the issue, suggesting that people who think a scientific theory that says some people are better than others at sports or having a preference in terms of attractiveness is racist. Why is being different or being better or worse at something so bad?

You made vague references to the fact that you don't believe in racial typing ("since by implication this would strenghten the argument or a hierarchy of races does exist when infact the idea of 'race' itself is a rather doubtful concept"), dismissing theories because of it, but without going into the details of your reasons.

You seem to have dismissed out of hand the evidence presented within the scientific community with the throwaway phrase "flawed research in my opinion" in your original post and in the "I don't find other ethnics groups attractive" phase of the discussion, you push further and further into semantics to try and "prove" your point. It's this aspect especially where I think you've been 'spouting nonsense'.
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Mauri



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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Wed 31 Oct 2007, 14:32

Ciao's Favourite Member wrote:
Mauri wrote:
I don't think I've been 'spouting nonsense'...you might not agree with what I've said but I think I've argued my case in a reasonable way...

Sorry, but I disagree. You have continually forced the issue, suggesting that people who think a scientific theory that says some people are better than others at sports or having a preference in terms of attractiveness is racist. Why is being different or being better or worse at something so bad?

You made vague references to the fact that you don't believe in racial typing ("since by implication this would strenghten the argument or a hierarchy of races does exist when infact the idea of 'race' itself is a rather doubtful concept"), dismissing theories because of it, but without going into the details of your reasons.

You seem to have dismissed out of hand the evidence presented within the scientific community with the throwaway phrase "flawed research in my opinion" in your original post and in the "I don't find other ethnics groups attractive" phase of the discussion, you push further and further into semantics to try and "prove" your point. It's this aspect especially where I think you've been 'spouting nonsense'.

I wasn't only talking about sport, indeed the original post talk about IQ...

So you are saying that calling IQ tests 'proving' that Black people are less intelligent than white people, which is an opinion NOT held by a vast majority of experts in the field is 'Spouting nonsense'. Or maybe they are all another example of PC gone mad...

In the field of sport I have pointed out the criticism that many scientists have for the research that has been carried out backing the notion that black people are inherently better at some sports and worse at other sports (which by definition is racist... look it up). I have pointed out why such research has to be tested to a very high degree since the implications of such research would be to stregthen racist views of difference between people from different racial backgrounds, which could be abused and used to justify discrimination...and I have given references to back that up. Is all that 'spouting nonsense'?

As far as the question of racial attractiveness which is not something I origianlly raised. I stated that I did not undertstand how someone could make a blanket statement like 'I find black people unattractive' since there was so much variety amongst the features of black people in the same way as there is in white people. I stated that is this difference simply is due to the colour of their skin then it seemed illogical to me since again skin tone varied greatly and I would say that either the person had not thought through what they had said and maybe think again about what they mean by 'Black' or there might be some racist undertones to their statement.

You can disgree with what I've said that's up to you, you may argue against what I've said but I do think that by saying I'm spouting nonsense you show yourself up as ...'spouting nonsense'. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Fri 02 Nov 2007, 23:31

Mauri wrote:

Well yes BUT...making one physical feature their skin colour, the overiding reason to find someone unattractive when there is so much other variation between people does seem strange and would make me wonder why someone would have such a dislike of dark skinned people (and there is a huge variation in skin tone within 'black' people) to override all other physical aspects when judging attractiveness...

Disagree. I can't choose who I find attractive. I have friends of all different colours, shapes and sizes but find black men as unattractive as I do women. It's not a conscious decision I ever made, so I don't believe it can be held up as prejudice. Similarly, I don't find Asian men attractive. It's part of my programming. Surely nobody decides who they fancy? It just happens.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Sat 03 Nov 2007, 17:11

plipplop wrote:
Mauri wrote:

Well yes BUT...making one physical feature their skin colour, the overiding reason to find someone unattractive when there is so much other variation between people does seem strange and would make me wonder why someone would have such a dislike of dark skinned people (and there is a huge variation in skin tone within 'black' people) to override all other physical aspects when judging attractiveness...

Disagree. I can't choose who I find attractive. I have friends of all different colours, shapes and sizes but find black men as unattractive as I do women. It's not a conscious decision I ever made, so I don't believe it can be held up as prejudice. Similarly, I don't find Asian men attractive. It's part of my programming. Surely nobody decides who they fancy? It just happens.

Interesting....so let's assume someone has been brought up in a racist family/society and they grow up with the idea that Black people are inferior and say not to be trusted, they will instinctively think of black people in these terms..are they racist?
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PostSubject: Re: Free Speech v. Racist Rant-What's Race got to do with it?   Sat 03 Nov 2007, 18:17

Mauri wrote:
plipplop wrote:
Mauri wrote:

Well yes BUT...making one physical feature their skin colour, the overiding reason to find someone unattractive when there is so much other variation between people does seem strange and would make me wonder why someone would have such a dislike of dark skinned people (and there is a huge variation in skin tone within 'black' people) to override all other physical aspects when judging attractiveness...

Disagree. I can't choose who I find attractive. I have friends of all different colours, shapes and sizes but find black men as unattractive as I do women. It's not a conscious decision I ever made, so I don't believe it can be held up as prejudice. Similarly, I don't find Asian men attractive. It's part of my programming. Surely nobody decides who they fancy? It just happens.

Interesting....so let's assume someone has been brought up in a racist family/society and they grow up with the idea that Black people are inferior and say not to be trusted, they will instinctively think of black people in these terms..are they racist?

Is that not something completely different though. Are you saying that it is in your genetic make up not to fancy women, black people etc Phil??? If so that is completely different from somone brought up in a racist family. They are still racist although there are reasons behind there racism, it does not excuse it. My family are very racist for example yet it does not mean that I am. You can choose to be informed and rebel or go with the consensus.
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