Race and Ethnicity

1) I did not perform well in this exercise as my answers were wrong on three questions, that is numbers 1,5 and 7. I thought that skin color determined race, that one could also determine race if they knew the gene structure of the person and that experiencing racism could not affect ones health. Otherwise I was pleased that I answered correctly as many questions as I did.

2).During this exercise at first I felt confident that I would  answer all the questions correctly. Then I was shocked that three of my answers were wrong. After the exercise I felt embarrassed about my lack of knowledge as I considered myself to be reasonably well educated. I couldnt believe that my long held assumptions were false. The exercise shows that I shouldnt be overconfident about my knowledge and that I must be humble enough to accept being corrected when I am proven wrong.

3). The point of this exercise I think was to show that not only is everyone similar on the inside but on the outside as well. To make a bad pun the differences are skin deep and the difference in skin color of different groups of people, so called races, are caused by adaptation to their geographic environment rather than by inherent DNA or genetic differences. The exercise is a real eye opener and makes you think. It shows you cant be overconfident about what you think you know.

 Race and Ethnicity (Part II)
1). In Australia and Canada I would be classified first as not aboriginal. But then in Australia I would be categorized as English and other ancestry whereas in Canada I would be white. In Brazil, Guam and the United States I would also be of the white race. In England my ethnic group would be any other white background but in Bulgaria I would be simply other ethnic group. In South Africa I would be a member of the white population group. It is amazing the variety of classifications I have for just one person.

2) This tells us that there is no consistent notion of race throughout the world. It is very confusing as I had thought race was intended to denote skin color whereas ethnic group was to describe specific  cultures within people of the same skin color. However the English census avoids the term race altogether for example describes blacks as an ethnic group. The South Africa census also avoids using the word race , instead preferring  population groups. It appears race is a politically incorrect word throughout much of the world,  possibly because of conflicts with visible minorities Perhaps the word should be abandoned altogether as it is not based on genetic differences, but rather skin color .

3).The value of using constructs race and ethnicity  to organize people even when countries differ on their classifications  is because the data obtained  is normally used only domestically within the country involved. Therefore it doesnt matter for example that Australia and the United States have different classifications, because the data collected in Australia is only used to set government policy there and the same is the case for the United States. All that matters is that the classifications are understood and agreed upon within the respective countries However if it is deemed necessary to have world wide data for population and ecology research there should be universally accepted  common terminology


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