Tag Archives: Racism

Roots of human family tree are shallow

The eerie mathematics of the family tree of humanity…

> Yet this was the ancestor of every person now living on Earth — the last person in history whose family tree branches out to touch all 6.5 billion people on the planet today. That means everybody on Earth descends from somebody who was around as recently as the reign of Tutankhamen, maybe even during the Golden Age of ancient Greece. There’s even a chance that our last shared ancestor lived at the time of Christ.

Roots of human family tree are shallow

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Sexual Racism or Discernment?

Some time ago, a character hopped onto the [Sexual Racism list](http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sexualracismsux/) I run at Yahoo groups with a fairly detailed rebuttal to some of the material on my [Sexual Racism Sux page](http://www.sexualracismsux.com). I decided to pull his posting to bits and [Andy](http://www.andyquan.com), bless him, put my argument up on his web page. I just went back and read it and… it’s not bad.

This is a very long post, so I’ll split it a little…

First, the original posting:

> Sexual attraction is shaped conciously by our mind through experience, preference and social conditioning of what is sexually desirable, but sexual magnetism is driven by chemical secretions generated from the frontal lobe cortex which controls sexual arousal and sexuality. Therefore sexual racism can not exist. There is only sexual discernment, which we are all entitled to. Sexual discernment is evident when our preferences(ie “I like waxed arses”) are motivated by sexual practices (ie “I like waxed arses because I love to rim”). There is a rational thought process that links physical attraction with certain sex acts. That’s fine. But racism only occurs when sexual attraction is only aroused through misheld beliefs and stereotypes (ie “I only have sex with Asian/hispanic men because they have smooth arses and I love to rim.” OR “I don’t have sex with Asians because I’m a bottom boy and nips have little dicks.”) Which, of course, is not necessarily true. It is ignorant to exclude a race out of false beliefs – ” I am not attracted to Asian men because they are effeminate and bottom”. But this isn’t sexual racism, it’s just racism. Period. You can’t train your synaptic nerve response in your cerebral cortex to force yourself to be sexually attracted to a certain racial group… Funnily enough, most racism felt by young Asian men in the gay community comes from Asians themselves. Asian men who have ‘white’ lovers or life partners feel superior to Asian men without Anglo lovers or friends. These Asian men use ‘white’ Australian lovers as a status symbol to boost their sexual desireability amoungst members of their own race or cultural group. At the end of the day, nobody is going to have sex with people they are not attracted to. I am not going to have sex with an Asian guy based on the philosophy of multicultural inclusion just to improve the Asian mans’ self-esteem. I don’t sleep with men out of pity.

My responses “after the jump” as they say at Gawker…

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Continue reading

On victimhood, White Privilege and brokenness

Something I posted to [one of my lists](http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sexualracismsux) this morning that I enjoyed writing a great deal.

On 22/01/2006 Craig wrote:
> Many people have a hard time accepting the concept of White Priviledge, and get hostile about it. When people of color are rejected or ignored, race might be a factor. You can never tell. White people never have that extra burden on them, or the same sets of negative stereotypes they have to wade through.

Accepting this aspect of the current environment might be my key to understanding why I feel such hostility to so many of Ashley’s early postings and why it drives me nuts when “kindly” white friends advise friends of colour to “just get over it” or to stop accepting a “victim mentality”.

The early stages of a rights movement – suffrage for women, civil rights for black folks in the US, suffrage and land rights for indigenous Australians, gay rights – the consciousness-raising part, begins with the people who find themselves in the under-privileged part of the System (the social-practice-media-industry-power-holding-and-wielding-hegemonic-structure that is enacted and re-enacted daily by each of us, the Patriarchy, the White Society, the racialised gay community) gaining a consciousness that they *are* oppressed, that to just keep living life as though the System were normal and natural is *wrong*, that it is *broken*, that *we* are all *broken*.

This can be agonising! Some people of the oppressed group who can distance themselves from their fellows by their talent or their looks or their ability to acquire money do so and accuse the others of not working hard enough, of being victims. Many members of the over-privileged group or class do likewise. Because to change the System is traumatic – we fear it might break or worse that our privilege will be over-turned and we will find ourselves victims. So we oppose a critique of the System.

As things progress it becomes necessary, I believe, for the over-privileged group to understand – not just their role and power in this, but their *victimhood* in this. That these Systems that divide us according to looks or belief or origin or behaviour into Us and Them hurt all of us as a human people.

For white people to accept the role of [White Privilege](http://www.whiteprivilege.com/definition/) is to accept an invitation to brokenness. To understand with your mind and then start to see, just as the early rights movement had to, that the System is neither normal not natural, this it is wrong, that it is broken, that we are all broken.

… and to go through that to find the energy to act and advocate and work through the healing of these terrible, open wounds in the body of the human People; to collectively build an understanding that They *are* Us and that when you keep down children of colour – you are keep Us down and that when you bomb villages in a far away country you are bombing Us.

And that’s how the ending of all this begins.

Or that’s what I believe.

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Busy, busy, busy

Sorry for the break, I’ve been busy shifting things to WordPress 2.0, which makes a surprisingly nice mini-CMS.

First I [shifted this blog](http://www.timbomb.net/blog/2006/01/12/just-about-to-roll-over-to-wp-20) and then I moved my [Sexual Racism Sux](http://www.sexualracismsux.com) project over.

Finally, I got around to starting my new fitness blog project, which I haven’t launched yet. I’ll announce it here when I do.

In amongst all that I’ve been trying to find time to help out the [iSalons](http://www.isalons.net) guys with choosing some good infrastructure software, getting [my Integral group](http://www.sydneyintegral.org) kicked off for the new year with a Integral Practice planning session and some plotting for an Intro to Integral Theory seminar for the [Ken Wilber Meetup](http://kenwilber.meetup.com/264/).

… and various other plans and schemes. Unemployment is very tiring!

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The Face of Tomorrow

I love facial blend projects. I saw a lovely project that blended faces from different suburbs in Brisbane to make average faces from places like Inala and Redcliffe. The artist (whose name I tragically can’t recall) researched the demographics in each place: gender balance, proportions from different ethnic backgrounds, age curve and then picked a set of a hundred people which matched the demographics. The faces were beautiful and oddly affecting, as I’ve discovered facial average portraits usually are, and since they were prints about 2.5 metres tall the effect was entrancing.
This guy took a whole Greek soccer team and blended them to make the average Greek face.


… which looks like a Greek statue, so you think big deal… then you see the pics that he averaged to get the image most of whom look a long way from a Greek statue…
So today, I found this project called, “Face of Tomorrow” which is taking the idea on a more global scale. This guy called Mike Mike, based in Istanbul but born in South Africa, goes to different cities, photographs a hundred people and makes his view of an average male and female face for that city. It’s art not science, so it records Mike’s impressions rather than strict demographics. Here’s the male face of Sydney:


Mike says:

The project has now taken on a life of its own, like a computer code or virus, and at present there are people in Colombia, Japan, Germany and Holland working on the project independently of Mike.

So if anyone knows about other projects like this, let me know and I’ll update this page.

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On the topic of why some postmodern folk have problems with the notion of hierarchies of societies

From RACE – The Power of an Illusion . Background Readings | PBS:

From here we see the structuring of the ideological
components of “race.” The term “race,” which had been a classificatory
term like “type,” or “kind,” but with ambiguous meaning, became
more widely used in the eighteenth century, and crystallized into
a distinct reference for Africans, Indians and Europeans. By focusing
on the physical and status differences between the conquered and
enslaved peoples, and Europeans, the emerging ideology linked
the socio-political status and physical traits together and created
a new form of social identity. Proslavery leaders among the colonists
formulated a new ideology that merged all Europeans together,
rich and poor, and fashioned a social system of ranked physically
distinct groups. The model for “race” and “races” was the Great
Chain of Being or Scale of Nature (Scala Naturae), a semi-scientific
theory of a natural hierarchy of all living things, derived from
classical Greek writings. The physical features of different groups
became markers or symbols of their status on this scale, and thus
justified their positions within the social system. Race ideology
proclaimed that the social, spiritual, moral, and intellectual
inequality of different groups was, like their physical traits,
natural, innate, inherited, and unalterable.

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Shifting racism

Commonly held stereotypes about Asian men include that they’re not masculine, that they’re small and that they have no beards or body hair. Street life in inner city Sydney has many examples of tough, macho, masculine looking and acting Asian guys, hairy and bearded Asian guys (including gay Asian men on the scene) and tall Asian guys.

If ones perceptions line up neatly with stereotypes about a certain ethnic group, I have found that it is prudent to view those perceptions with deep suspicion. Thirty years of cognitive psychology tells us that stereotypes constrain our perceptions so that we look for data that confirms what we already “know”.

We can try to deliberately test those perceptions by seeking out disconfirming data, experiences that are the opposite of what we assume. Sometimes when we do that we discover that we were blind to what was right in front of us. In the case of racial stereotypes we can come to realise that our perceptions were faulty, that our view of the world was broken and finally that our assumptions wound us just as they hurt the people they’re about.

… perhaps, since those common preconceptions about the “races” are generally a result of stereotypes being held onto rigidly in the face of all evidence to the contrary, it might be beside the point to offer more evidence.

If someone is convinced that it’s worth trying to dislodge their stereotypes, it’s quite effective to simply go to the part of town where folk of that ethnic stripe hang around, spend a few hours and open yourself up to the experience with an expansive mind and a compassionate heart. Simply witness what’s in front of you, without judging.

I submit that if someone is unwilling to try, argument is unlikely to shift those preconceptions… Hilarious coming from me, I know, but that’s what I’m feeling today.

If you even believe in “race”…

The notion that the species “homo sapiens” is divided into significant groupings called “races”, each of which is associated with certain cultural traits, distinguishable by certain superficial physical features (hair colour, skin colour, eye shape, body hair and so on) and more or less homogenous is accepted by most of us ordinary folk.

Among population biologists and anthropologists (in other words, the people with enough expertise to make an informed judgement) however this notion has been growing increasingly controversial since 1950 or so. Anthropologists tend to talk about “populations”, biologists about “clines” neither of which really line up with each other let alone with what most folks think of as the “races”.

Without denying that the social reality of races are the critical factor in discussing the experience of racism, I think it’s interesting to understand how arbitrary these apparent divisions really are. There’s little consensus about whether races exist, but that in itself is interesting.

If this sounds like nonsense to you, have a read of the long and very informative Wikipedia article on race.

Fortune Favours The Bold

Something that comes up from time to time is the odd belief, that many young men seem to harbour, that the other guy should approach them.

This turns up when people talk about cruising guys in bars, at sex clubs and at saunas. Guys complain that they must be unattractive because the guys they look at never come up and speak to them. Asian boys often complain that Caucasian guys won’t approach them (this is often attributed to racism, but that’s another column in itself).

Guys tell me this and I invariably ask: “So do you ever approach the other guy?” Often as not the answer is no. I really can’t help pointing out that the likelihood is, based on my lengthy anthropological studies of the issue, that the other guy is thinking exactly the same thing.

The consequence, of course, is the awful situation in many venues of many guys walking around and no-one talking to anyone. This is even more common in more reserved places like my old hometown, Brisbane, than it is here in overly-forward Sydney, but even here it’s a plague.

Everyone could be having a lot more fun if they adopted one of my current favourite principles, “Fortune favours the bold”. Face it, the main reason we don’t approach the other guy is a simple lack of courage: the fear that he’ll say No. But what’s worse? To get turned down occasionally or to miss the endless opportunities you fail to notice because you’re frightened of getting turned down?

The facts of rejection are that it’s really not so bad, especially if it’s balanced with a few successes. Getting rejected doesn’t mean you’re worthless, just that you aren’t his type (types and the attractiveness hierarchy are another topic for another day). The more you face up to it and shrug when it happens, the easier it gets.

So, next time you’re cruising some guy at a sauna and you’ve walked past twice and exchanged looks, loitered meaningfully for a few minutes and he hasn’t approached you – instead of assuming that he’s not really interested, assume that he’s even shyer than you and march on up, smile your most winning smile and say “Hi”. You may be pleasantly surprised.