Scientists discover people without racial bias

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Doug
Scientists discover people without racial bias
N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

A number of people have pointed out that, while slavery was the dominant social relation of work in the ancient world, modern racism had little in the way of an equivalent in that time. I would view with suspicion any biologist claims that racism is hard wired.

E.Tamaran

FNs are proven to be the most accepting of all people. Fact.

Refuge Refuge's picture

This is really interesting.  In school I did research on how people with Williams Syndrome were similar to people with Autism even though people with Williams Syndrome are very social to the point of sometimes being dangerous and people with Autism have severe deficits with social skills.

The one thing the study did not talk about is that race is not the only thing that they fail to stereotype.  They are also not able to sense danger situations, such as if they were approached by a creepy stranger children with Williams would feel no fear at all and comply with all requests whereas most children would get that danger sense (even children with Autism have shown a danger sense when dealing with strangers) that children can be taught to act on - thus all the child safety programs.  They have an inability to categorize social situations into different ways of acting with people (they would talk to their best friend the same way as with a stranger and have just as much trust in the stranger as their best friend).  It might sound utopian not to categorize people into different areas but in reality there are some ways that are very appropriate and very much apart of our survival to categorize.  

The key (at least for the categorization end of social bias) seems to be finding a middle ground of realizing that when you categorize the creepy guy looking you at you in the subway and giving you a sense of danger as someone who might do you harm is a survival whereas the POC sitting across from you giving you a sense of danger only because of his race is a malfunctioning of the same categorization which might save you from taking steps to make sure the first creepy guy doesn't follow you home.

Bacchus

E.Tamaran wrote:

FNs are proven to be the most accepting of all people. Fact.

 

Really? And they show it by tossing out non-FNs on reserves? Not to mention other unfriendly behavior Ive seen including violence. No one is pure dude

500_Apples

N.Beltov wrote:

A number of people have pointed out that, while slavery was the dominant social relation of work in the ancient world, modern racism had little in the way of an equivalent in that time.

Doesn't sound very credible.

jrootham

Why not?

They didn't need racism to justify slavery, or waging war for the spoils of women and wealth.

My current understanding is that racism got really kicked off, in an institutional sense, after a failed slave rebellion in what is now the southern US.

It's a little perverse, but racism is an ethical advance on "The powerful will do as they will, and the weak will suffer as they must."

PS

This is not to say that xenophobia was unknown at the time, so there ia a continuum.

 

500_Apples

jrootham wrote:

Why not?

They didn't need racism to justify slavery, or waging war for the spoils of women and wealth.

Exactly, so they didn't bother writing it down in a manner which would be obvious to future historians. It was assumed, background. People who are racists are actually less likely to talk about race in my experience.

***********

There's racism in Shakespeare, and in the Old Testament.

Merchant of Venice portrayed racist characters. Portia comments on the prince of Morocco's ethnicity, and the characters all denigrate Shylock.

As for the Old Testament... it's one of the great racist texts of history. All of the 12 tribes of Israel have their own defining characteristics. Egypt, Amalek, the Canaanites, etc, are all characterized on a collective, re: xenophobic, basis.

And prey tell, how does "chosen nation" emerge as a literary narrative? Did someone just think it up in a moment of pure creativity? Or did it reflect the cultural and social mores of the time when the bible was produced - mores that distinguished between nations?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Racism is not ethnic bigotry. Interesting that you would even try to make racism into something universal.

pdf on The Origins of Racism

Quote:
Black Student Advising Centre of Dalhousie U (article by Isaac Saney) Racism, one of the dominant features of the world, is often treated as a permanent phenomenon in human relations. Entwined with the belief that racial antipathy and ethnocentrism are primordial is the assumption that racism is a natural, inevitable characteristically European legacy. This perspective ignores the mass of evidence that demonstrates that racism has a definite origin in a particular historical period, linked to very specific circumstances and conditions.

In a word, the modern capitalist enslavement of the African population had to be justified by this misanthropic ideology. Here's more:

Quote:
In previous supplements we have commented on the general lack of global and universalized racial prejudice and notions of racial superiority and inferiority before the advent of the Atlantic slavetrade. While, the notions and concepts of otherness existed and cultural superiority, they did not rest on a racial basis. Before this horrendous traffic in human flesh, Europeans had positive attitudes and images of African and Africans. In the art of ancient Greece, Africans are often portrayed in positions of power and authority. The Greco-Roman societies did not generate or create a racist ideology to justify their extensive systems of slavery.
In Blacks in Antiquity, Frank Snowden, an African American historian, states that interactions between Blacks and whites "did not give rise among the Greeks and Romans to the colour prejudices of certain later Western societies. The Greeks and Romans developed no theories of white superiority."

 

And so on.

 

Quote:
The racialization of slavery, the development of the pseudoscientific concept of race - the division of humanity into "biologically" distinct categories where phenotypical characteristics (especially skin colour) are identifiers - is a construct created to justify African bondage and - later - the colonial and imperialist projects. This became an integral component of the emergent Eurocentric world-view that considered people of colour, particularly those of African descent as inferior: peoples without history, destined for servitude. Before the trans-Atlantic commerce in African humanity in the service of burgeoning European capitalist economies racism as a global historical phenomenon, universalized and - inhering at all levels of society - did not exist.

 

That's capitalism for ya.

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

from the same article, here is something that I did not know ...

Quote:
What is often forgotten is the fact that the Irish were bought and sold in English markets in the Middle Ages. Eric Williams, in his celebrated and extremely influential work Capitalism and Slavery, documents that the Irish were the first people sold as slaves in the Caribbean.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Here is Chapter One of Capitalism and Slavery by Dr Eric Williams.

The Chapter title is "The Origins of Negro Slavery". Williams was, in addition to being a famous academic, the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. Here is a famous quote from that work:

Quote:
Dr. Eric Williams: Slavery in the Caribbean has been too narrowly identified with the Negro. A racial twist has thereby been given to what is basically an economic phenomenon. Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery. Unfree labor in the New World was brown, white, black, and yellow; Catholic, Protestant and pagan.

There you have it. "Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery." What genius!

  quod erat demonstrandum.

RosaL

 

Thanks! I've been looking for something like this.

On the topic of Williams' syndrome and racism: I know very little about Williams' syndrome but i do know that people with certain 'syndromes' (like autism, which I do know a lot about) do not internalize social norms the way 'other people' do. This can make life very difficult but, in other ways, there's a lot to be said for it! Smile

Doug

N.Beltov wrote:

from the same article, here is something that I did not know ...

Quote:
What is often forgotten is the fact that the Irish were bought and sold in English markets in the Middle Ages. Eric Williams, in his celebrated and extremely influential work Capitalism and Slavery, documents that the Irish were the first people sold as slaves in the Caribbean.

 

There was also a market in European slaves in North Africa - exceeding a million over the period involved - small compared to the African slave trade to the Americas, but substantial. It should be said though that unlike the African trade, to the extent there was a justifying ideology it was religious rather than racial.

Doug

500_Apples wrote:

N.Beltov wrote:

A number of people have pointed out that, while slavery was the dominant social relation of work in the ancient world, modern racism had little in the way of an equivalent in that time.

Doesn't sound very credible.

 

It's tricky because it's easy to confuse assertions of cultural or class superiority with assertions of biological superiority - racism, IMHO, constituting the belief that cultural and/or class superiority are the natural result of and a requirement of some sort of imagined biological superiority that's strictly inheritable from parents to child. That said, there is something special about pre-modern and modern European (in the broadest sense including European settler societies elsewhere) society in that this sense of ingrained biological superiority became a central and endlessly justified organizing principle for that society and wherever its influence extended.

Slumberjack

I'm not sure of the origins of racism, and although it is always reasonable to examine ancient history to understand how we arrived at where we are today, and where we may be headed, I'd suggest that the past 500 years or so of European colonialism is enough of a plateful to begin examining the human predicament as it pertains to this form of hatred.  There are many speakers, educators and more importantly, affected people who can give credible form and context to the issue.  Maysie's sticky thread in the AR forum is as good a resource as any for those that are interested.

ARAO 101

Tim Wise has an interesting six part lecture available on youtube which looks at the European/American context:

The Pathology of Privilege 

We see contemporary racism manifest itself in countless ways, some of us have to be more observant than others to detect what it is, and often enough what passes over us is immediately recognizable to someone else from experience.  It isn't difficult to see however that the controversy surrounding the recent Confederate History proclamations and celebrations in Viriginia constitues an inate longing among those who appreciate that sort of thing for a time when control and domination over other human beings made sense to those who benefited from it, far more sense than the confusing times they now exist in, where they have no idea of who their real enemy is, their real oppressors.  They believe they have lost something and are willing to believe that some of their fellow citizens who are themselves oppressed by the same system have stolen it.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Rabble has a story about a new anti-racism website that started local and grew.

500_Apples

Beltov, if you want to deny that there's a racism in the bible and in Shakespeare, then I recommend you read them first.

The explicit demonstration of racism in those documents falsifies any attempt to argue - no matter how eloquent - that it all originates in modern capitalism.

RosaL

500_Apples wrote:

Beltov, if you want to deny that there's a racism in the bible and in Shakespeare, then I recommend you read them first.

The explicit demonstration of racism in those documents falsifies any attempt to argue - no matter how eloquent - that it all originates in modern capitalism.

I'm no expert on Shakespeare, but the stuff in the bible to which you doubtless refer is not what I would call racism. (It's plenty disturbing but it's not racism. In other words, I'm not defending the Bible here.) But if you use the word as widely and loosely and thoughtlessly as many do (and I'm not saying you do but it's a distinct possibility!), it will be impossible to have a discussion of racism in history. 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Widespread, general phenomenon are one thing and unusual exceptions are another. The widespread racism associated with modern capitalism - its functionality if you like - has no equivalent in the ancient world. Racism today is extremely functional to our society as can be demonstrated by the willingness with which the mouthpieces of capitalism have recourse to this repulsive ideology at every opportunity.

Some "historians" of capitalism like to universalize the kind of society we live in today and depict the entire human past as "build up" to the present. The description of capitalist markets being, perhaps, the best example. But the social vices associated with capitalism are also universalized in a similar manner.

Dr. Williams proof that modern racism was the product of slavery - and not the other way around - should be compelling enough evidence for the present.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Shakespeare wrote in the early-modern period where capitalism was just finding its legs. This is not to say I disagree with Apples--I don't think I do, but pointing out that cosmopolitan Europe exhibited racism is no antidote. This was also the time period (although I'm no expert), incidentally, where England began its first colonization project--of the Irish. Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queene, was the lord deputy or some such in Ireland and advocated for their genocide based on their inherent barbarism.

I'm not sure what's to gain by "proving" that racism didn't exist before capitalism, as if such a thing were possible--and as Apples points out, such a claim is not only counterintuitive, but unlikley based on the evidence at hand. I think it is fair to say, however, that capitalism has made racism its special project (one of many) and has made it accomplish such grotesque wonders and barbarity as ancient slavery only dreamed of.

gramsci

                  Racism is not universal to human experience but rather a historically specific feature of ideology. Check out  Before Color Prejudice; The Ancient View of Blacks by Frank M. Snowden, an excellent and scholarly work that is well written as is Race, Class, and the World System by Oliver C. Cox. For those who have been influenced by the Afrocentric approach, please note that both these eminent academics are African American. Also, The famous anthropologist Ashley Montagu has challenged the very notion of race with his The Fallacy of Race. And since I mentioned Afrocentricism, Verso books has published a critique titled Afrocentricism by Stephen Howe.

RosaL

Catchfire wrote:
... as Apples points out, such a claim is not only counterintuitive, but unlikley based on the evidence at hand. I think it is fair to say, however, that capitalism has made racism its special project (one of many) and has made it accomplish such grotesque wonders and barbarity as ancient slavery only dreamed of.

I really can't see that Apples did anything but invoke an ill-informed but fairly widespread (in certain circles) assumption. And that brings me to the "intuition" argument: your intuitions depend in large part on your belief system. My "intuitions" are quite different from yours. So what? Such an appeal is a pretty useless (and potentially dangerous) form of argument. Moreover, there's plenty of "evidence at hand" for the capitalism-racism connection. That's what we need to talk about. Not intuitions. 

 

500_Apples

RosaL wrote:

I really can't see that Apples did anything but invoke an ill-informed but fairly widespread (in certain circles) assumption.

No, actually the fact you hallucinated an argument about "intuition" shows you're just a flamwar-loving bad reader who likes to jump to self-assured ego-boosting conclusions.

Maysie Maysie's picture

500, that personal attack on RosaL was way out of line. Don't do it again.

500_Apples

This condescending insinuation:

RosaL wrote:
I really can't see that Apples did anything but invoke an ill-informed but fairly widespread (in certain circles) assumption.

Leads to:

Maysie wrote:

500, that personal attack on RosaL was way out of line. Don't do it again.

In other words, one standard for RosaL, another standard for everyone else.

Don't expect me to heed any selectively-applied rules.

RosaL

no, never mind. I should have just left this alone. 

 

500_Apples

RosaL wrote:

no, never mind. I should have just left this alone. 

You, interacting with the lowly people from my "ill-informed circles"? Not just any circles mind you, but those "certain ones".

You probably feel dirty for even considering it. Hence you feel like you "should have just left this alone."

The irony.

Now, WTF do you mean by my "circles"? Is it people who grew up in low-income backgrounds? Second generation Canadians? People working in technical fields? Who knows, to snobs who look down on "certain circles", everything below the hegemonic blurs into a uniform.

RosaL

500_Apples wrote:

RosaL wrote:

no, never mind. I should have just left this alone. 

You, interacting with the lowly people from my "ill-informed circles"? Not just any circles mind you, but those "certain ones".

You probably feel dirty for even considering it. Hence you feel like you "should have just left this alone."

The irony.

Now, WTF do you mean by my "circles"? Is it people who grew up in low-income backgrounds? Second generation Canadians? People working in technical fields? Who knows, to snobs who look down on "certain circles", everything below the hegemonic blurs into a uniform.

I meant I shouldn't have replied to that last post - I had deleted my reply.   When I said "certain circles", I was talking about a political subculture with which I often disagree. (I belong to a different political subculture and it's hardly 'hegemonic'. heh.) That's all. And we're all "iil-informed" about some things. Life is too short to be an expert on everything. Imagine how you might reply if I pronounced on some question in physics. Maybe I shouldn't have said it the way I did, but I don't think it was a huge insult. In any case, you have thoroughly insulted me several times. So can we drop it? Laughing

Maysie Maysie's picture

500, Rosa L saying that you "invoked an ill informed assumption" isn't a personal attack. It looks to me like she deliberately worded it so that she was referring to your words and not you.

But for the record, RosaL has explained and let's try to move on with our lives ok?

Maysie Maysie's picture

500, Rosa L saying that you "invoked an ill informed assumption" isn't a personal attack. It looks to me like she deliberately worded it so that she was referring to your words and not you.

But for the record, RosaL has explained and let's try to move on with our lives ok?

Caissa

Where is Sven when you need him? Wink

Pants-of-dog

E.Tamaran wrote:

FNs are proven to be the most accepting of all people. Fact.

 

If this is a fact, then it should be easy to find evidence for such a claim. Can you please provide some? I ask this because it would be great ammo in debates.

 

EDIT: Edited for spelling mistake.