Race, Ethnicity, & Culture


Race, Ethnicity, & Culture

Beliefs about race and ethnicity influence our cultures, politics, and relationships.  What is race?  What is ethnicity?  This group explores those concepts.

Location: Global
Members: 234
Latest Activity: Jun 26


Racism and the effects of ethnocentrism are alive and well in the 21st century.  Racism and humanism are incompatible by definition. 


The most human, and humane, thing that we can do is acknowledge and support the humanity of people who are different from ourselves.  Curiosity about what makes us human, by necessity, includes curiosity about our human ethnic heritage.


We are incredibly enriched by immersing ourselves in a diverse world.  We are intellectually and emotionally impoverished when we exclude others who are not our mirror image.


This discussion group includes many topics about race and ethnicity.  Feel free to comment to new threads, or resurrect old threads, if any spark your interest.


My 2 cents. Daniel W.


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Comment by The Flying Atheist on January 9, 2017 at 9:52pm

Comment by The Flying Atheist on January 9, 2017 at 12:34am

I just came across this Al Jazeera article about Daryl Davis, who was featured in the video Daniel posted below in December.

KKK members leave Klan after befriending black musician

From the article:  "I know that I have directly been the impetus for up to 40 Klan members leaving and indirectly for about 200 others.

I continue to get emails from those who I don't even know after they hear me speak or read my book.

The leader of the KKK's Maryland branch and I became friends. After he and his top members quit, their group fell apart here."

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 22, 2016 at 3:20am

Oh! Goodness me! I am a long way away from being able to sit down with white-supremacists. I can discuss ideas with people who have an interest in hearing different points of view, but not with those locked into dogma. 

All I have to do is sit outside on a clear night, look at the stars and imagine looking back at Earth and defining which race is superior, especially if I know the history of the development of civilization. I can't see any race that has a higher history. Yes, culture moved ahead in development at different stages.  Africans and mathematics, Asians and the development of the compass, gunpowder, paper, and printing, ancient Americans and architecture, old Australians and their stone masonry. 

Each culture, at different times and locations, revealed the potential of the human mind to explore, examine, experiment, and endure. Each has developed human potential. No one culture accomplished all these skills. We learn from each other. 

Present day humans have the ability to move beyond the magical, superstitious mind to a mind of care, the kind that Sam Harris urges people "to think about morality" regarding "human and animal well-being." Humans have the capacity to  view "the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a 'moral landscape.' Harris sees a "time when science will no longer limit itself to merely describing what people do in the name of 'morality'; in principle, science should be able to tell us what we ought to do to live the best lives possible."

Oh! I know! I am thinking with my utopian brain again but isn't that better than repeating the religious morality and violence that spring from the same source? 

Comment by The Flying Atheist on December 21, 2016 at 9:24pm

Wow!  That's a fascinating video and interview.  It takes a special person to do that kind of outreach.  Daryl Davis certainly has the personality and the disposition.  

Comment by Daniel W on December 21, 2016 at 8:34pm

Someone to emulate and admire.  I wish I was more like Daryl Davis but I don't have his charm and social skills.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on December 15, 2016 at 3:41pm

image source PBS

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on November 25, 2016 at 10:13pm

Tweet on media normalizing hate through language:


Comment by Daniel W on October 31, 2016 at 6:10am

BB I agree with you.  To some extent, I think of racism as a subset of tribalism.  People define themselves and others to some extent based on what tribe they belong to.  Maybe it's their race, or their religion, or the town or setting - rural or urban, collar color, when they or their family arrived on these shores, or whatever granfaloon you want to choose.  In the case of race, the stakes are higher, and it's harder to cross lines.  But when you do, it can open a person to a lot more interesting life. 

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on October 30, 2016 at 9:29pm

There's one thing I absolutely don't understand about racially based hatred. NOBODY has the slightest degree of say over who they are.

Existential philosophy has a concept of "throwness," a very basic and easy to comprehend notion. It holds that all humans are "thrown" into their particular situation with no rhyme, reason, plan or cause-and-effect. I don't see how anyone could deny that this is true.

To give one example, I never put in an order to be born dead in the middle of the 20th century, smack in the beefheart of the Midwestern USA, of an alcoholic "lapsing" [thank fsm] Catholic and a black sheep party girl off the farm.

No one has chosen to be who they are, so to fault anyone for who they are based on nothing else has got to be the height of ignorance.

Don't like the person you're looking at there? Well get over it. The fact that you're not that person is nothing more than happenstance.

How can anyone not get this?

Comment by Daniel W on October 30, 2016 at 7:48pm

BB thank you for posting.

I was naive for a while about race in the USA.   I was too busy in my own world.  It's weird, because for 4 years I lived and worked in the part of Chicago between the famous Cabrini Green housing project, and the Taylor Homes high rises.  I rode my bike through the Taylor projects every day on my way to work, with blinders on because if you don't focus on traffic, you become a pancake on the pavement. I never experienced any kind of negative behavior towards me as a strange white guy riding a bicycle through those areas.

The thing for me is that I viewed the situation as the last throes of historic poverty and racism, which would gradually dissipate as more recent education and economic mertitocracy homogenize success into something for all races, and also as dilution and generational laziness homogenized poverty into something for all races.  Which it is, but not uniformly distributed of course.

Of course, I could not have been more wrong.  In the workplace I was usually a minority and often a minority of one.  Again, I felt that as long as I treated people with the dignity and respect that they needed, they would respond in kind.  To be honest, they did.  A lot better than the mostly white people in my later career.

In subsequent years, this had a profound effect on me - I felt that minority folks were usually nicer, more fair, more gentle and less money grubbing than white people.  I'm not sure I've ever got over that assumption, which I know others will call racist.


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