Lets have an honest thread on the topic of race. Just share honest thoughts. Don't overly censor yourself, but don't make a joke of this either. I want us to have a serious and honest conversation on the subject.

I do accept that race is a biological reality, not just a cultural construct. I do not posit the idea of one master race, as there have been worthy societies produced by multiple races, such as the civilizations of Europe and of Asia, when considered together. I however, view with immense doubt and skepticism the claim that all races, on average, have the same level of intellect. But, I don't support any nature of social system based on de jure racial stratification, because there are always outliers in any population, and its hard to measure these things in a manner that would enable simple categorization. I'm not about sterilizing someone over an IQ test.

I want thoughts.

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"The 1996 Task Force investigation on Intelligence sponsored by the American Psychological Association concluded that there are significant variations in IQ across races.[8] The problem of determining the causes underlying this variation relates to the question of the contributions of "nature and nurture" to IQ. Psychologists such as Alan S. Kaufman[130] and Nathan Brody[131] and statisticians such as Bernie Devlin[132] argue that there are insufficient data to conclude that this is because of genetic influences. A review article published in 2012 by leading scholars on human intelligence concluded, after reviewing the prior research literature, that group differences in IQ are best understood as environmental in origin.[133]"


This discussion, such as it is, is hamstrung by the fact that very few active AOM members are persons of color. 

I never understood that term persons of colour. It seems to be used by those who want to be politically correct yet it's anything but. It argues that the world can be divided up between whites in one group (and whites being European white and not Arab, Persian, paler Indians, etc) and everyone one else grouped as non-white.

The repeating change of terms (my earlier post on this is longer) is driven by the sense some have that there's something wrong with being nonwhite, who therefore feel a need for euphemism.  That particular term is especially ironic, since it means "colored person," a term that was ditched some 50-60 years ago as offensive.  

A better solution would be to realize there is nothing wrong with being black, nonwhite, whatever.  

Realizing there is nothing wrong with being black, etc... is not the same thing as addressing concerns of multiple groups (persons of color includes many, rather than having to enumerate them, and risk leaving some out) - or providing space for individual groups within the larger collection to decide how they wish to refer to themselves. 

FWIW, the reason Non-white is not preferred was explained to me as defining a group in relation to another, rather than to themselves. You wouldn't, for instance, refer to women as "non-males." And a German would much rather be called German than merely "non-American." 

Similarly, that's why a lot of grocery stores have dropped the "ethnic food" signs and opted for something like "international foods" for that special aisle. Ethnic made is sound like it was in opposition to non-ethnic or white. Since white people also have ethnicities, and since it didn't make sense to promote an "us VS them" within the realm of buying food, and since it's actually simpler and more accurate, "international" seems to be the way to go these days.

If there weren't the continuing cycle of change, I could believe the justification of changing any one term.

If it really were about the one term... "nonwhite" defines a group, or set of groups, in relation to whites, but so does "persons of color." The problem with "persons of color" is that it suggesting that they all collectively have some feature in common -- nonwhiteness.  Surely it is less honoring to suggest their not being us is a characteristic they have!  It's like calling nonwhites "ethnic," as Joe mentions.  

I don't know if "collective" was part of the problem, but if so, "person of color" is fully as collective, and blurring of national identity, as "nonwhite."

Yes, but it's a positive statement (of something), rather than defined as a lack of something. 


I think ultimately it still comes down to letting groups decide how they wish to be referred to, taking back some power to define themselves. The changing nature of it, reflecting perhaps changes in the balances of power and primary concerns of each period. 

Yeah, I'll refer to people from the Orient as Asian now if I must, because some use it themselves.  But I'm more likely to refer to them as Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.

If it can ultimately come down to _that_, that's better than this cycle of euphemism we have now.  I note African-Americans using the term African-American a lot, so I've adopted it.

I agree with letting groups define themselves yet I find terms like "persons of colour" are usually defined by western white liberals in a never ending battle to not offend others.

Nick, you certainly will find POCs using the term POC very frequently. It's not some white, liberal moniker. It's a term that doesn't limit us to one minority in terms of either race or gender.

Interesting that labels change only when they carry a real or perceived emotional load. White people have been white people for hundreds of years. 

However, the crippled and lame became the handicapped then disabled and are now challenged.

The insane became the mentally ill.

When my father was in high school, negro was the polite term for black people.

I think once the word becomes firmly associated with it's meaning, it makes some people uncomfortable


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