View Poll Results: Is American an Ethnicity?

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Thread: Is American an Ethnicity?

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Most Americans originate from western Europe, so we are, ethnically speaking, western European. Then it delineates from there into sub-categories. Nordic, Germanic, Anglo, etc.

    American Indians could be called American though, if we use our name for this continent.

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    That's the way it's traditionally defined in Anglophonic countries like yours and mine, but it's not necessarily how people everywhere in the world view ethnicity. There isn't one objectively correct way to define it, considering that how you look is just as arbitrary as where you were born.
    They can use whatever method they want to identify ethnicity. I don't see why US should adopt a system that would make it impossible to identify different ethnicities, just because someone else does it differently.

    I would have reformed it. Ethnicity should be measured through DNA, not through a self-survey.


    No, they'd probably START calling themselves black, because that's how their adopted European culture would view them. I bet that most Africans don't even think of themselves as "black" - defining ethnicity by one's skin color is mostly a Eurasian concept. I would suggest that Africans would be far more likely to define themselves by their tribe or their nationality than by their skin color. In fact, Africa is the most heterogeneous place on earth, with far more diversity than the rest of the world combined.
    They may have a lot of names for themselves, but can you quantify that there is a larger difference in DNA. For me, it seems like there is just as large difference between people from Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, as there are between European people.

    And again, ethnicity has nothing to do with what you call yourself. That is called cultural heritage.

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
    Then perhaps I have no ethnicity at all.

    Surely I have more in common with someone who likes “Country and Western” music, or with someone who prefers “Blues” music, or with “a black guy whose family has been in America since the 1500's”; than I have with any European.
    I don't know, which European are you referring to? There are as much variation in Europe as there are in America. There could be a European who likes "Country and Western" or "Blues" music, and hamburger or whatever you like. And there are Americans with preferences that you identify with European, whose ancestry date back as far, if not further, in America as yours.

    Your comparison if very narrow, if you look at the wide range of human cultures, you have much more in common with Europeans than a traditional Mongolian, Eskimo, or African. If we look at the history of humanity, the 200 or so years your ancestors have been in America is barely visible on the timeline.
    Quote Originally Posted by Free_Radical View Post

    And I wasn't making an appeal to authority, I was making an appeal to the philosophical body of work of the founders, the worth and content of which should be well-known to anyone with a cursory understanding of basic history and philosophy.

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
    What would be messy about all of us identifying ourselves as “American”?
    A little bit hard to quantify demographics and who are living here without measuring demographics. It will make demoghraphics study much more difficult, because they have to use alternative methods to figure it out.

    How would you describe white flight, if white people doesn't exists.

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Camlon View Post
    They are no such thing as Italian or Brazilian ethnicity. Ethnicity is a description on how you look, not what you call yourself. Ethnicity is used for statistical purposes.

    If a black person moves from Africa to Europe, will his children stop calling themselves black?

    Your confusing ethnicity with race...a black person would not stop calling themselves black because that is their race...

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenvilleGrows View Post
    I'm pretty sure "black" isn't an ethnicity. I'm also pretty sure that no one actually looks "black". I know a lot of people in varying degrees of brown, some reddish/brown, some tan, and a lot of peach. I know a whole lot who are red on their neck, brown on their arms and face, and just about the color of vanilla ice cream under their shirts (their wives are sometimes sorta orange), but I'm not sure I'd say they "look" ethnic to me. If an Indian, Pakistani, and Brazilian look the same, does that make them the same ethnicity?
    Are you trying to be difficult. It is just a name. Not every name have to be perfect. Should we stop using colour entirely, because we can never identify the perfect colour?

    Yes if a Indian, Pakistani, and Brazilian look the same, then they do have the same ethnicity.

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by lpast View Post
    Your confusing ethnicity with race...a black person would not stop calling themselves black because that is their race...
    You are not allowed to say race anymore, so ethnicity has replaced it.

    Except ethnicity only relates to how you look, and not other kind of genes.
    Last edited by Camlon; 09-25-11 at 06:21 AM.

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    First of all, I'd like to say people seem to be confusing ethnicity and race, which are two distinct concepts, ethnicity is race, combined with culture and history.

    Secondly:
    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Ethnicity is nothing more than a social construct......In some parts of the world, it's very common for people to identify their ethnicity and their nationality as one and the same (i.e. China, Japan). In other parts of the world - especially in "melting pot" countries like the US - ethnicity is more often defined based on superficial traits like skin color and hair color.
    Ethnicity is a social construct, that doesn't make it any less relevant, also there are thousands of different ethnicities in China, the Chinese, or Han, are just the majority, a similar situation exists in Japan, with the Yamato people being a dominant ethnic group, but native Japanese also include the Ainu and Ruykyuan peoples. You'd be hard pressed to find a place in the world that doesn't have a few ethnicities, except isolated areas like Australia, the Pacific Island and New Zealand tend to be limited to the one ethnic population (Aborigines, Islander and Maori respectively).
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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Camlon View Post
    They can use whatever method they want to identify ethnicity. I don't see why US should adopt a system that would make it impossible to identify different ethnicities, just because someone else does it differently.
    I'm not saying the US should or shouldn't adopt any specific system (since there are plenty of lingering civil rights issues to resolve). I'm just talking about how to think about ethnicity in general.

    I would have reformed it. Ethnicity should be measured through DNA, not through a self-survey.
    If that's the case, then we would need to throw out nearly all of the labels we often use to define ethnic groups...because "black" has more genetic diversity WITHIN it than all the others have BETWEEN them, and "Native American" and "Pacific Islander" have almost no diversity and are essentially just offshoots of "Asian." If we were serious about classifying people by DNA, it might look like this: Khoisan, African "Pygmy" tribes, other African, White, Asian, New Guinean, Aboriginal Australian. Based on the DNA evidence, those categories would offer the most diversity.

    They may have a lot of names for themselves, but can you quantify that there is a larger difference in DNA. For me, it seems like there is just as large difference between people from Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, as there are between European people.
    The human species originated in Africa, which naturally means it has more genetic diversity. This is because humans have had longer to diverge from one another in Africa than elsewhere. Compare it to a relatively young "race" like Native Americans...which have existed for only 12,000 years and which have almost no genetic diversity.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/s...diversity.html

    And again, ethnicity has nothing to do with what you call yourself. That is called cultural heritage.
    Then where do the categories come from? What makes a Libyan and an Italian different ethnicities, if not culture? They're from the same part of the world, have similar ancestral roots, and look pretty much the same.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 09-25-11 at 06:26 AM.
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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
    What would be messy about all of us identifying ourselves as “American”?
    Defining themselves as "American" in nationality won't be a problem, but being an "American" as in ethnicity overgeneralizes and leaves much confusion as to whether the person is African, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, Arab, or any other types of ethnicities.
    Don't you understand?
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