In Which We Ask an Honest Question

Can anyone explain to me how to tell the difference between a “black” person and a “white” person?

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8 comments on “In Which We Ask an Honest Question

  1. timu says:

    By the skin color, duh. Gosh, Ben.

  2. huh. that creates some interesting definitional dilemmas.
    and, out of curiosity, i just have to ask: do you believe in Gosh?

  3. in all seriousness, i find the concept of “race” (as opposed to “ethnicity” or “national origin” to be highly suspect as a legitimate classification of people. my question was a little unfair, as all definitional distinctions fall apart at some level, but “race” in particular seems to be conceptually a social construct whose purpose is not to make language more functionally clear (the purpose of definitions) but to further a particular social philosophy or agenda which has no basis in historical fact or theological truth.

  4. jason says:

    black people are faster than white people.

  5. timu says:

    I’d agree that the terms “black” and “white” are often terms used to further a social philosophy/agenda. But I think they also might be simplifications/hyperbolizations of the normal phonotype associated with the 3 major craniofacial-antropometrical groupings (‘Mongoloid, Negroid, Caucasoid’). So, like, there’s “White”, “Black”, but also “Yellow.” You sometimes hear red, etc. but these are used with much less frequency. The association of the skin color with the skull structure breaks down really fast, though, because I’ve seen plenty of really tan Caucasians and that have darker skin than “black” people. And you normally don’t see an Indian person called a black person.

  6. timu says:

    “Phenotype” not “phonotype.”

  7. Indians were more commonly called black during British colonial rule…at least among Brits. When the story Little Black Sambo made it to the States, it was assumed to be about Africa, but it was really set in India.

  8. which proves my point: the terms have little to nothing to do with an over-simplification of phenotypes for the purpose of easier communication and everything to do with a social agenda (cue sinister music).

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