Mervyn Alleyne on Race and Ethnicity

Mervyn C. Alleyne is a Trinidadian sociolinguist.

Race, then, is the socialized perception of phenotypical characteristics. These phenotypical characteristics constitute only one of the features recognized and used for human classification. Behaviour and customs (language, clothing, foods, religion) constitute another set of features and, together with race, provide the basis for ethnicity.

Racism intersects with ethnocentrism. Racism is the belief that phenotypical or alleged genotypical characteristics are inherently indicative of certain behaviours and abilities, and it leads to invidious distinctions based on a hierarchical order. Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one’s own culture.

When a people come to believe that their assumed superiority is based on a superior genetic pool, it is a pathological case of racism and ethnocentrism combined.

Western European languages are full of metaphorical expressions showing this semantic development of colour terms. In at least some cases, the affective associations and the metaphorical usage are clear and consistent. Yellow, for example, has a rather consistent association with cowardice and other kinds of pejoration in English (cf. yellow-bellied, yellow streak, the yellow press). According to Ferguson (1954, 268), in the Renaissance, yellow was used to suggest jealousy, treason, deceit. The traitor Judas was frequently painted in a garment of dingy yellow. In the Middle Ages, heretics were obliged to wear yellow. In periods of plague, yellow crosses were used to identify contagious areas.

Alleyne, M. 2005. The Construction and Representation of Race and Ethnicity in the Caribbean and the World. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press. Kindle Edition.

Parenthood (2010)

Catherine Squires writes about the TV series:

Indeed, in a scene with Adam, we get a glimpse of Zeek’s old school framework when he tries to engage his eldest son with a story about his sexual adventures in Viet Nam.  When he was a soldier, Zeek tells Adam, he had an exciting sexual encounter with a Vietnamese woman.  Thus, Zeek casually invokes stereotypes of Asian women’s exotic sexuality, and reaffirms the ways U.S. soldiers were encouraged to see Asian women as temporary partners.  Adam, to his credit, reacts to the story with distaste and tries to stop his dad from going into detail, but the scene positions Zeek as someone with stereotypical understandings of at least one group of women of color.

From the transcript:

ZEEK: How’s the sex life?
ADAM: My sex life is fine. Why?
ZEEK: That’s not what I’m hearing.
ADAM: You learned to have sex in Vietnam?
ZEEK: Yeah, basically. Well, I was a kid, you know? I mean, gosh, those girls could teach you so much, you know. Just, I was ready to learn. She’s not having orgasms? So you were okay? It was all Kristina’s fault? ’cause the Bravermans, you know, the Braverman men, You know what I’m saying.

Notice how the issue is coached. A virgin Hebrewpean male goes to Vietnam and loses his virginity most likely to a Vietnamese prostitute. He goes back for more with other girls because they do unnatural sexual acts [the Easterners have secret/mystical sexual knowledge trope].

SOURCE:

Best, Craig. 2010. Rubber Ball Band Transcript. http://crazy-internet-people.com/site/parenthood/transcripts/s1/s01e08.html

Squires, Catherine. 2011. Post-racial Family?: Parenthood and the Politics of Interracial Relationships on TV. Draft document. Rhetorical Studies Reading Group. http://uirsrg.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/chapter_three_postracialmys.doc

Assessing Rushton and Bogaert (1987)

Rushton and Bogaert (1987) asserted:

“We averaged the ethnographic data on erect penis and found the means to approximate: Orientals, 4 to 5.5 in. in length and 1.25 in. in diameter; Caucasians, 5.5 to 6 in. in length and 1.5 in. in diameter; blacks, 6.25 to 8 in. in length and 2 in. in diameter.”

Let’s examine with new average self-reported data from Herbenick et al. (2014).

herb

Given that Herbenick’s study is more recent and rigorous, Rushton and Bogaert’s average values inflate African penile dimensions (erect length and girth) by over 23% while deflating East Asian penile dimensions by over 14% (assuming Herbenick is accurate) [1].

Contra European stereotypes, Herbenick et al. found ‘Asian’ penile length comparable to European (diff. = 0.04cm) and ‘Hispanic’ (diff. = 0.01 cm) lengths. For this and other reasons, there seems to be a lack of race realist commentary on this study.

There has been the usual racist assertion [2] that Herbenick’s average U.S. penile length value of 5.6″ (14.15 cm) is due to East Asian oversampling. A similar claim was made for Wessells, Lue & McAninch (1996), another U.S. study. Given that ‘Asians’ are a U.S. minority and not a priority sample in peer-reviewed studies, claims as these are unsustainable.

The small African sample size (n = 38) may have been due to the study controls which minimized self-reported penile measurement inflation.

This race/history/evolution notes post looks into more of Rushton’s claims.

[1.] Granted Rushton is making a claim about ‘Orientals’ and the ‘Asian’ data from Herbenick may contain South Asians. Rushton does however, conveniently classify African Americans (Afro-Europeans) as ‘black’.

[2.] For example, a commenter claimed: ” …. I bet asians drag down the average overall. Take asians out of the equation and I bet the average is 7 inches.”

References

Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Schick, V., and S. Sanders. 2014. Erect Penile Length and Circumference Dimensions of 1,661 Sexually Active Men in the United States. The Journal of Sexual Medicine 11(1): 93–101.

Rushton, J., and A. Bogaert. 1987. Race differences in sexual behavior: Testing an evolutionary hypothesis. Journal of Research in Personality 21(4): 529-551.

Wessells, H. Lue T., and J. McAninch. 1996. Penile length in the flaccid and erect states: guidelines for penile augmentation. The Journal of Urology 156(3): 995-997.

Steven Spielberg speaks out against Hollywood racism

From Fallout Central:

LOS ANGELES — In an effort to fend off accusations of hypocrisy, film producer and director Steven Spielberg has spoken out against the systemic racism and racial discrimination of Hollywood.

Spielberg, who resigned in February from his role as advisor to the 2008 Beijing Olympics over the Chinese government’s role in the Darfur genocide, asked his colleagues, “How can we expect the Chinese government to do its part to end human rights abuses in Darfur, while we perpetuate racist stereotypes through our own diversity-negligent productions?”

“We must lead by example and do our part to eliminate our own human rights abuses here in Hollywood. It’s the logical next step to take,” Spielberg said from his Pacific Palisades home.

The critically-acclaimed director called on his colleagues to step up to the challenge: “As a modern component of American culture, we have a responsibility to eliminate the psychosocial causes of bigotry and genocide here at home.” He continued to lash out at what he called “limousine liberals” who adopt African children, call for Tibetan liberation, drive hybrid vehicles, yet do nothing to provide solutions to the systemic racism in their own multi-billion dollar industry.

Spielberg cited the marginalization of Asian-Americans in the media as an example of his industry’s human rights abuses, since it does not honor the right to fully participate in culture. “The trans-racial whitewashing of the recently-released movie 21 is the most egregious example of our industry’s human rights abuses,” Spielberg declared. “And to think that such blatant racism could occur in our industry in the 21st Century makes me ashamed to call the producers my colleagues!”

“It doesn’t matter whether or not we are personally racist,” Spielberg continued, “because by being a part of the marginalizing process or being apathetic to discriminatory casting, we have been condoning racist acts all along.”

Spielberg even went on to criticize Asian filmmakers who, instead of pursuing the distribution of their films for the American market, allowed their works to be re-shot with white actors. One example of such a film was The Departed which won four Oscars last year, while the original Hong Kong film upon which it was based Infernal Affairs received no theatrical release in the U.S. “Why do we keep throwing out the egg yolks, and replacing them with whites? Is our cultural cholesterol really that bad?”

The director has vowed to go on the offensive to stamp out systemic racism in the film and television industry. “I know that this is a multi-billion-dollar industry,” Spielberg said, “but it is immoral for us to continue to profit from such blatant institutional racism. We are no better than slave-owning antebellum plantation owners or Nazi slave profiteers.”

He then unveiled a controversial initiative to eliminate systemic racism at the source. Details of his initiative include:

  • Organization of sit-ins at limited casting calls
  • Economic sabotage of diversity-negligent films
  • Donation to youth-oriented, diversity-empowerment causes

April Fools

JAG Season I

JAGTV series synopsis: US military imperialism, European masculinization, non-European feminization

S01E01: The Serbians are referred to as “camel jockeys”, as in they can’t fly jets as good as U.S. Europeans (righhht).

beater

My Thai husband regularly beats me and sexes the maid!

S01E05: European Harm (David Elliott) had a Vietnamese love interest killed by Laotian soldiers, Thai ambassador’s wife Angelique Sonsiri (Vivian Wu) seems romantically interested in Harm, she then asks a European male lieutenant to drop her home (not diplomatic protocol) and he ends up dead, Thai ambassador Sonsiri (Michael Paul Chan) regularly beats his wife who states that he and his chief of security Colonel Patano (Dom Magwili) are “used to doing what they want without any consequences,” ambassador Sonsiri sexes the maid, Harm kisses Angelique, Harm shoots Patano, Patano loves Angelique, Angelique is the love child of a Vietnamese woman and a run-away European lieutenant hence she killed three European lieutenants and her father. Angelique’s mother was savagely gang raped by Vietnamese soldiers after they learned that she had a European lover.

S01E07: European corporal David Parr (Scott Coffey) sexes a Peruvian female Tienna Escamilla (Marta Martin) who turns out to be a Shining Path terrorist pretending to be pregnant for him.

S01E08: The so-called Aryan Nation tries to get military weapons.

I feel like raping when I have my scimitar!

Having a scimitar in hand puts me in a raping good mood!

S01E09: Iraqi Colonel Ahmad Al-Barzan (Nicholas Kadi) wants to rape Nordic female Lt. Meg Austin (Tracey Needham), five Arab males killed in the process. Pro-feminist theme where the female JAG officer is intellectually superior to the male JAG officer and is so dedicated to her work that she is willing to sacrifice her bodies to be raped. The Arab males are portrayed as violent, sadistic, patriarchal, proud, ethnocentric and rapists.

S01E10: Hebrew/European male Major Klein (John Finn) is married to a Latina female, Sgt. Gonzales (Jenny Gago).

S01E11: Latino drug dealers, with guns!gang

S01E12: Affirmative action Afropean medical doctor Lt. Sanford (Marjean Holden), African drug gang, only way for African gang males to be reformed is to join the marines. European Harm stares down African gang-banger leader, who calls Harm “Top Gun”.

cuban

I wish I were Cuban

S01E14: European female Commander Alison Krennick propositions Lt. Cmdr. Harm, after being denied entry into Cuba, Harm flies a non-military jet into their country even though they are threatened with being shot down [the masculine risk-taking non-conformist European 'Rambo' theme]. Captain Fuente (Bernard White, a Sri Lankan) wants to sex Lt. Austin (Tracey Needham). Iranians help Cubans steal US technology. Harm apparently sleeps with a Spaniard woman he met previously.

S01E17: Colombian drug peddlers.

tang

Don’t hate me, hate the system

S01E19: Chinese government use spending cuts to plant a mole in the US shuttle program. Includes the obvious token East Asian Captain Tang (Stan Egi).

S01E20: Harm goes to Hong Kong with his Spaniard sexmate and is kidnapped by the Chinese. He is interrogated by Captain Lishi (Page Leong), an agent who is tasked to find out if the US will react to the Chinese invasion of Quemoy and JAG 1-21Matsu. Colonel Yang Chee (Aki Aleong) defects to the US. Good, token Hong Kong inspector Chang (Tzi Ma).

S01E21: US European male insists that he needs to see a Japanese Okinawan female who he is in ‘love’ with … he ends up dead. Harms gets on a plane and

JAG 1-21-0

Me luv u long time!

instantly chats up Japanese female Kira (Saemi Nakamura) who is eager for his company. Lieutenant Commander Gino Campisano (Tim Lounibos), says his mother is Korean and father, Italian. Campisano is actually a North Korean spy who took the identity of the real Eurasian Campisano.

So in review …

Romantic Pairings

  • European male and East Asian girlfriend (S01E05)
  • European male and Eurasian female (S01E05)
  • European male and Eurasian female (S01E05)
  • European male and Eurasian female (S01E05)
  • European male (Harm) and Eurasian female (S01E05)
  • East Asian female and European serviceman (S01E05)
  • European male and Peruvian female (S01E07)
  • Euro/Hebrew male and Euro/American [Latina] (S01E10)
  • US serviceman and Japanese female (S01E21)
  • Eurasian male: Korean mother, European father (S01E21)
  • European male and Japanese female (S01E21)

Poor East Asian Male Portrayals

  • Murdering soldiers
  • A serial wife beater
  • An adulterer (with the maid)
  • Violent ex-soldiers turned diplomats
  • Gang rapists
  • Tokens to offset racism charges
  • Sadistic communist interrogators
  • Angry Okinawan protestors
  • Premeditated murderers
  • A North Korean spy/impersonator/murderer

Poor non-European Male Portrayals

  • Anti-American Peruvian terrorists
  • An (almost) Arab rapist
  • Sadistic and patriarchal Arab guards
  • Violent Latino drug dealers
  • Cocky (U.S.) African drug lord and his lackeys
  • Uptight high ranking (U.S.) African marine
  • Cuban pilot who desires to sex Nordic female
  • Iranians who steal U.S. technology
  • Cubans who aid Iranians in stealing U.S. technology
  • Colombian drug lords

Poor Female Portrayals

  • Crazed Eurasian serial murderer who baits European men with her sexuality
  • Vietnamese woman raped because she sexed a European male
  • Young Vietnamese woman killed by Laotian soldiers
  • Possibly gold-digging Thai maid
  • Conniving Peruvian terrorist pretending to be pregnant with a European man’s child
  • Intelligent, dragon-lady communist interrogator who gets shot
  • Japanese female who is easily infatuated with a European male

Book Review: The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning (Part II)

tfoftA ‘review’ of Victor Stenger’s 2011 book The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is Not Designed For Us. Stenger is emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

CHAPTER ONE: SCIENCE & GOD

Section 1.1 NOMA

A widespread belief exists that science has nothing to say about God—one way or another. I must have heard it said a thousand times that “science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God.”

Strawman and non-sequitur. [This is the first sentence of the first chapter of his book].

Atheists look at the world around them, with their naked eyes and with the instruments of science, and see no sign of God.

This is a lie, atheists do not interpret the same data available to everyone as indicative of a God. [Recall, this guy is a philosophy professor at a major secular US university].

Even the most devout theist must admit that the existence of God is not an accepted scientific fact in the same way as, for example, the existence of quarks or black holes.

Because they would be making the category error that you are making Prof. Stenger. Also, there are no accepted scientific facts, there is provisional scientific consensus, liable to change with additional information.

As is the case with God, no one has directly observed these objects.

Someone has not been reading his bible.

Now, the theist will retort that this does not prove that God does not exist. If she is a Christian, she will of course be thinking of the Christian God. But the argument also does not prove that Zeus and Vishnu do not exist, nor Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

Bad theology squared.

Still, one can easily imagine scientific experiments to test for the existence of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Just post lookouts on rooftops around the world on Christmas Eve, and at the bedsides of children who just lost baby teeth.

Category error. The existence of Santa and the tooth fairy is not solely predicated on their stereotypical actions.

… but the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God is surprisingly easy to test for by virtue of his assumed participation in every event in the universe, from atomic transitions in distant galaxies to keeping watch that evolution on Earth does not stray from his divine plan.

Bad theology straw-man. Who exactly assumes that the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God participates in every event?

While the majority of scientists in Western and non-Islamic nations do not believe in God, …

Argumentum ad populum, argumentum ab auctoritat and how does he know that?

Gould, an avowed atheist,…

Gould was a self-described agnostic.

Section 1.2 Natural Theology

This was important because every one of the endless series of “proofs” of the existence of God that has been proposed, from antiquity to the present day, is automatically a failure because, as I have mentioned, a logical deduction tells you nothing that is not already embedded in its premises.

A proof is not supposed to offer more than its logical deduction. [Recall yet again, this guy is a philosophy professor at a major secular US university].

There is only one reliable way that humans have discovered so far to obtain knowledge they do not already possess—observation.

Paging all education ministries, throw away all teachers! Only observation is reliable. [This from a teacher himself].

And science is the methodical collecting of observations and the building and testing of models to describe those observation.

That’s what is called a simplification if there ever was one.

In 1859, he published On the Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, which demonstrated how, over great lengths of time, complex life-forms evolve by a combination of random mutations and natural selection.

Assuming the conclusion. Stenger also runs from explaining Darwin’s obvious European based racism.

Section 1.3 Darwinism

Living organisms not only develop without the need for the intervention of an intelligent designer but also provide ample evidence for the lack of such divine action.

Non-sequitur and bad theology.

While heroic attempts have been made by theists and atheists alike to show that evolution need not conflict with traditional beliefs, the fact remains that the majority of believers in the United States refuse to accept a scientific theory that is as well established as the theory of gravity because of its gross conflict with the biblical account of the creation of life.

Source? Bait and switch, special pleading and extrapolation beyond the evidence.

Only the 14 percent of Americans who accept that God had no part in the process can be said to believe in the theory of evolution as the vast majority of biologists and other scientists understand it today.

Argumentum ab auctoritat. [No definition of who exactly is a scientist].

That opinion sharply disagrees with that of the vast majority of biologists.

Argumentum ab auctoritat. [I doubt he can help himself].

In the theory of evolution accepted by an almost unanimous consensus of scientists, humans with fully material bodies evolved by accident and natural selection only, with no further mechanisms or agents involved, and simply were not designed by God or natural law.

Argumentum ab auctoritat. [He definitely can't help himself]. This is also a lie. We have never had a census of ALL scientists on their view of evolution. We have problematic data from some science subsets from certain countries. [Hint: the USA is not the world].

The evolution of mind is currently more contentious, but the evidence piles up daily that mind is also purely the product of the same natural processes with no need to introduce anything beyond matter.

Where does this evidence pile up daily?

Section 1.4 Intelligent Design

Evolutionary biologists, of whom Behe is not one, easily demonstrated the flaw in this argument.

It is irrelevant if Behe is a biochemist or an evolutionary biologist. Evolution (and all of science) is more about chemistry than about biology.

In 1999, theologian William Dembski published a book called …

Dembski is not (foremost and only) a theologian, he is more accurately described as a mathematician/philosopher. Dembski has a PhD in both fields but only an MDiv in theology. This is akin to describing Stenger as an electrical engineer from his undergraduate training.

On the empirical side, many examples can be given of physical systems creating information. A spinning compass needle provides no information on direction. When it slows to a stop, it “creates” the information of the direction North.

That is not information creation or even information “creation”. Rather it is information deduction from a device designed for a specific type of information detection.

Book Review: The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning (Part I)

tfoftA ‘review’ of Victor Stenger’s 2011 book The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is Not Designed For Us. Stenger is emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

PREFACE:

Carry the story back in time, generation by generation, species by species, until we reach that primordial accident that resulted in the origin of life, and you will realize how lucky each of us is to be here.

Assuming the conclusion.

Our current understanding of physics and cosmology allows us to describe the fundamental physical properties of our universe back to as early as a trillionth of a second after it began.

Describe fully?

Clearly, according to the proponents, it has to be an entity outside the universe, and such an entity is what most people identify as the creator God.

Bad theology, at least for Christianity.

As a physicist, I cannot go wherever I want to but wherever the data take me.

How does being a physicist absolutely prevent him from being biased?

… the observations of science and our naked senses not only show no evidence for God but also provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that a God that plays such an important, everyday role in the universe such as the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God does not exist.

Category error and bad theology.

I will devote most of this book to showing why the evidence does not require the existence of a creator of the universe who has designed it specifically for humanity.

Non-sequitur, possible conflation of necessity and contingency.

… that shows it to be very likely that some form of life would have occurred in most universes that could be described by the same physical models as ours, with parameters whose values vary over ranges consistent with those models.

Irrelevant to the fine-tuning of the present universe.

Plausible natural explanations can be found for those parameters that are the most crucial for life.

Irrelevant to the fine-tuning of the present universe.

I will show that the universe looks just like it should if it were not fine-tuned for humanity.

Stenger will try to show… and even then it is still irrelevant to the fine-tuning of the present universe.

Their [cosmologists] current models strongly suggest that ours is not the only universe but part of a multiverse containing an unlimited number of individual universes extending an unlimited distance in all directions and for an unlimited time in the past and future.

A strong suggestion from theoretical cosmology that an infinity of infinities exist and that there is negative infinite time is even more miraculous that a talking snake.

If that’s the case, we just happen to live in that universe which is suited for our kind of life.

Non-sequitur.

In fact, a multiverse is more scientific and parsimonious than hypothesizing an unobservable creating spirit and a single universe.

Infinity is not scientific (experimentally) nor is it in any form, parsimonious.

… major misinterpretations of science by theologians, Christian apologists, and the many layperson authors who are part of the great, richly financed Christian media machine in the United States that promulgates much misinformation about science to the masses.

Isn’t your salary paid by taxing those said people Prof. Stenger?

I regard my task as a devil’s advocate to simply find a plausible explanation within existing knowledge for the parameters having the values they do.

Plausible != probable, you need to combine the two.

I will refute this by showing that some form of life would be possible for a wide range of parameters inside a finite volume of phase space.

Some form of life? Is that the fine-tuning argument?

… I think he still exhibits some of the misunderstandings and narrow vision that we will see are common among the proponents of fine-tuning.

Like your repeated muddling of theology, history and philosophy?

Having spent a lifetime looking at observational data, you can expect my arguments to be based on science and not philosophical disputation.

Observational data like big-bangs, abiogenesis and macro-evolution? And science is a form of philosophy, you know, like that doctorate in philosophy you have.

On the other hand, it is possible to logically disprove the existence of gods with certain attributes, by showing an inconsistency between those attributes and either the definition of the god or other established facts.

Non-sequitur. Even if all the present god formulations can be philosophically dismissed (and they can’t despite Stenger’s assertion to the contrary), that does not affect fine-tuning by some yet unknown god/God/designer/force or combination thereof.