Tuesday, June 05, 2007

There is no such thing as Race or Culture

Race

In order to define a ‘race’, it would be necessary to choose a list of genes and then make some decisions. Shall we suggest 10 such markers or, perhaps, 20? Shall we put a person in the box marked ‘the fast feet-waggling race’ if they have 6 out of ten markers (60%), or will we demand all 10? Which of the markers shall we choose? Exactly how ‘black’ must the skin be? Just how fast must they be able to waggle their feet? What if they have the fast foot-waggling gene, but through a life of chip and chocolate eating they weigh 150 kilos? Clearly, these earth-shattering decisions will require well-funded government committees of race technicians just to make sure there are no slip-ups.

Culture

You will see from the above, that similar techniques will be needed in order to define a ‘culture’. A list again will be required such as “does this person speak ‘English’?” Be aware that every person who speaks ‘English’ has a differing concept of the meaning of every word in ‘that’ language. Further, some users of English know a thousand or two thousand words, where others may know ten or twenty thousand words. Is each of these people to be regarded as ‘speaking English’? Will 5 words do? Or 367? Decisions decisions decisions!

Can they play cricket? Do they know the rules? Are they any good at cricket? Must they like cricket? How will you tell? What if they have one leg? Is it a square leg?

Do they like warm beer? Can they hold down 10 pints without throwing up? We must know.

How many items ticked off on the list are enough to qualify as a full-blooded English citizen? How many items are required on the list? Who is going to make the list? What about marginal cases where the aspiring member of the English club can only down 9 pints? Is there an allowance for weight or sex? What about requiring some ‘English’ genes?

From http://www.abelard.org/statistics.htm

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