We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, December 11. 2008
We hate dealing with the concept of race, mainly because race does not exist in any meaningful way. It's a socio-cultural concoction, we feel, born of the natural (and not evil) human tendency towards tribal affiliation.
Still, we must deal with it sometimes because it seems to matter so much to people, despite MLK Jr's insistence on categorizing people on their characters. I am 1/16th Iroquois. Am I an Indian? Can I open a casino and get rich ripping off Whitey?
The Arkansas Times takes a look at From Octoroon to Other.
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Am I an Indian? Can I open a casino and get rich ripping off Whitey?
One of my friends is 1/4th Umatilla, and the last I saw him sometime ago, he was applying to the tribe, to see if he could get membership, and a casino check each month :)
Not sure how it came out.
Race as a pejorative may, we hope, disappear. There are still definite ethnic and genetic elements that are significant medically or in terms of a physical description because there are some distinct gene pools. If a person has sickle cell anemia, we almost always find Negro ancestry (Africa is a region, not an ethnicity or gene pool). First Americans and Asians have physical traits more similar to one another (eye shape, hair color, body hair) than they are similar to people we call call Anglo or black. First Americans have ancestry in ethnic groups that once approximated nation-states and many are proud of that heritage. Perhaps ethnicity is a better concept than race. But there are visible characteristics that people do inherit and that were, for a very long time, distinct to genetically linked groups. It is silly to give them much weight and it's just as silly to deny them.
Geoff ... I stumbled across a book review site on the Internet where one of the people posting tried to define the Amish as an "ethnicity" because the Amish community lives separately from the rest of Americans and observes certain rules the rest of us civilians don't. That sounded absurd to me , since Amish, or Episcopalian, or Methodist, or Greek Orthodox are religious affiliations, not "ethnicities."
There are black Americans, Caucasian Americans, Asian Americans, and so on. All of them are Americans. That's a citizenship affiliation. You can postulate members of an Amish group as being of more than one race, although the original religious affiliation began in Germany.
Having taken an Anthropology course in college, I assumed, as you do here, that ethnicity was an alternate term for defining racial identity [a term perhaps less annoying to some who feel that racial identity is too rude a term]. But when I looked it up in several of our dictionaries, including dictionary.com on the Internet, I found that most definitions of "ethnicity" included the sharing of common "cultural ties" Well, shucks, there you go. If you drag cultural ties into the definition, that blows it as an alternate term for "racial identity." Guess we're going to have to bite the bullet and call it racial identity after all.
Anthropologists have been trying to define "the races of the world" since I was a pup. Carlton Coon, the distinguished anthropologist on the Harvard faculty, wrote a book about it which caused a good deal of kerfuffle when it was published. It was a pioneering work, but some say it was flawed. Most pioneering works are. I had a black friend when I was in college who went to Africa for a term. She came back and said, "Boy, are those folks black! Really black -- much more than American blacks are." But even black Africans are mixed with some of the Mideastern races, like Egyptians, who are a mixed race themselves [take a look at some of the statues of the Pharoahs if you doubt me, and compare them with that glorious head of Nefertiti that is so famous].
So I think we had best go with mixed races. And eventually in a thousand years or so, we'll all be coffee-colored, and probably bald.
I'm glad I'm alive now. It's more fun, certainly, than being bald.
By the way, Bird Dog ... If you want to be an Indian, I think you should do exactly what you want, especially if there's some profit in it.
Ummm ... are you going to wear a feather head-dress? I'd give a lot to see that ....
BD, I always suspected there was something fishy about you . Now that I know you are Injun that explains your name, Bird Dog. I think you should go for it. "Build it and they will come." I think Whitey is still on the run, better use the word Anglos, ripping off Anglos. I have an Injun name too. Dago Muffin Ass.
D. Muffin Ass,
I think you have it. BD is no doubt an Indian. Indians name their offspring for the first thing they see at the time of birth. His parents must have seen a bird dog. Good thing he's not his brother, Two Dogs Fucking. I'm wondering what your parents saw.... some gruff Sicilian tossing dough and scratching his ass? It's cool to know there were pizza parlors in the wild west. I bet your Pa kept them brokeback cowboys out.
Sheesh. Can we keep the innuendos down to a family-friendly level?
Who put the Viagra in the Maggie's Farm water?
Who doctored the water? You should have seen the Indian jokes coming, BD. Heh heh. A revealing look at your commenters, eh?
Blame the Dago. I don't care. I have a new suit, and a nice runway job to boot! : )
Go for the Indian bit. I had a friend in the early nineties who was 15/16ths swede and 1/16th Indian. He decided he was an Indian and did the medicine thing and created "Indian" art. Unfortunately, he died before the casinos took off.
The Amish communities are based on a religious affilitation, as are Hutterites and some others. Numerically, these are small populations and they nearly always marry within their religious communities. Neither denomination does much proselityzing, so their gene pools are noticeably limited. Ten thousand people sounds like a lot of people until you trace the family trees and find that all are cousins at some level in recent generations because their communities are pretty insular.
Meta ... about that tradition that Indians name their babies after the first thing they see after the child's birth. I think you've got that confused with baby ducks, who fasten on the first being they see after they hatch as being their mommy, and follow her/him/it around faithfully. Isn't that sweet? I bet Muffin thinks so, don't you, Muffin?
ooh, Marianne. I think you're right. Imprinting. That's it! It is so sweet. Except if they fastened on a bird dog it might give new meaning to eating one's young. .... That's not nice. If they fastened on Bird Dog, he'd feed them corn and let them grow up before he ate them.
I wonder though.... if Muffin's mama was a catwalk queen?