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It is a common description of the United States as a "melting pot" of diverse cultural and ethnic sources, and to a great extent that it true - Joe Biden recently noted that we are a country bound by an "idea", rather than an ethnicity - although some have described it more as akin to a "gumbo", because
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Assimilation assumes the melting away of the specific characteristics that define ethnic identity, and begs the emergence of a ‘standardized’ American culture. We’re far too contrary as a nation, however, to paint such a simple and homogenous picture, and when we look closely at American culture, the strains of each of the individual ethnic groups that contribute to our collective noise remain apparent, however deeply buried they may have become over the years.
As Lin-Manuel Miranda recently put it, when describing the term "Latinx": “What you run up against are the limits of defining 32 different ****ing countries with one world,” Miranda said. “Literally, no word is going to make everyone happy.” Lin-Manuel Miranda on ‘Latinx’ ...rent F*cking Countries with One Word’ (IndieWire). Anyone who has spent any time in a mixed-heritage community understands this. It was that combination of ideas, and the furor over the 1619 Project (NY Times) that prompted this thought: What we are experiencing, around the world, but particularly in the United States, is the friction between commonality, diversity and amalgamation. Here's what I mean:

I am about as "white" as one can imagine, and have roots in this country going back to 1609. Yet, according to my DNA test, I still have ~1% "Cameroon, Congo & Western Bantu Peoples" in my heritage. Where it comes from, no one knows, but knowing American history (and genealogy) as I do, I have my suspicions. Forms use the more socially acceptable term, "Caucasian" (but as far as I know, I have no Slavic ancestry). wink The point being, of course, that we should all be suspicious of claims of "purity" or "superiority".

It is often noted that in alloys, strength comes from the mix: "Alloys are a mixture of a number of different metals and other elements, each lending their own properties to the compound." So alloys are, for example, generally harder than pure metals. "They are made up of atoms of different sizes, rather than being uniform. This means that the layers of atoms cannot slide over each other easily, making the whole alloy much stronger than any of the pure metals that the alloy contains in isolation." They are also less susceptible to corrosion. They are less brittle. These are good things, and generally applicable to peoples as well. And the reality is, the "typical American" is becoming more "multiracial" (even if they don't always know it). "Multiracial Americans are at the cutting edge of social and demographic change in the U.S.—young, proud, tolerant and growing at a rate three times as fast as the population as a whole." according to a Pew study published in 2015. That Pew study also found, like Lin-Manuel, that "While multiracial adults share some things in common, they cannot be easily categorized. Their experiences and attitudes differ significantly depending on the races that make up their background and how the world sees them."

I have often said that "Black History" is "American History". They cannot be separated. So too "Native American" history, "Mexican" history, and "Asian" History. American is not American without all of those contributions. In that regard, I think it is imperative to understand those contributions, rather than dismiss or demean them, to understand what it means to be American, whether that is in the form of "critical race theory" or particular heritage museums as exist on our national mall. We all grew up together, whether we were all together or not during the process. I literally cannot understand who I am if I don't understand who you are.

Last edited by NW Ponderer; 05/30/21 10:17 PM. Reason: Fixing links

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What happens when there are too many ingredients in the pot, and they are melting ?
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As a high schooler growing up in a small town in eastern China, Li Xiaoming dreamed of moving to a big city where he could have a better life.

Now 24, Li just wants to take a rest.

Across the country, young people like Li — who requested to be referred to by that pseudonym because he fears career and political repercussions for his views — are getting tired of the fierce competition for college and jobs, and the relentless rat race once they get hired.

They're now embracing a new philosophy they've called "tang ping," or "lying flat."


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
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Sometimes when the pot is too hot, one should turn down the heat.

China has interesting problems, more severe than many because of the extreme contrast between the rural and urban populations, and the vastness of territory and population, but those contrasts exist in almost every developing nation. Even the United States is evolving along that line, and is having the same conflicts. That, I think, is the most profound basis of conflict in our nation the rural-urban divide. It influences or undergirds almost every other conflict - racial, ethnic, economic, political, religious - that we experience.

I think the way to turn down the temperature is to approach resolutions as human endeavors and as a single country. Infrastructure affects everyone, but in different ways. For example, both urban and rural denizens have transportation problems, but mass transit works in cities, while better roads are needed to get rural produce to market. Schools are poor in inner cities and in rural enclaves, so our funding processes need overhaul to address both. These are national issues that need national solutions but with local applications. China needs to do the same, but its new cultural revolution is following the opposite path of its first.


A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich
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Do you consider overpopulation to be a part of the problem?


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
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I really should stop only checking the Caucasian box on forms: I am 1/8th Chinese. My wife is half Caucasian and half Japanese. Strange thing: Our next door neighbors are also a mixed race Caucasian and Asian couple.

Strange thing about "LatinX", and about "Hispanic", too: They are not a race. Those words describe people who speak Spanish (or Portuguese). Yet they keep on being included on forms in the race categories. If we are going to do that, there a lot of Black, and Asian people who speak French! Lots of Asians in Peru who speak Spanish. Lots of mixed race folks in rural Louisiana who speak French. At least a person's primary language is easy to determine. Race is a continuum.


We're flying electric helicopters on Mars yet you can't turn on your clothes dryer in Texas. That's because scientists are in charge of Mars, and Republicans are in charge of Texas.
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Originally Posted by NW Ponderer
I have often said that "Black History" is "American History". They cannot be separated. So too "Native American" history, "Mexican" history, and "Asian" History. American is not American without all of those contributions. In that regard, I think it is imperative to understand those contributions, rather than dismiss or demean them, to understand what it means to be American...
I recently read the book "Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World", by Jack Weatherford, 1988. It was a real eye-opener for me. The list of basic elements of modern life that came from the Native Americans is astounding, especially in light of the fact that we generally aren't aware of hardly any of them (at least that is true for me). Food, government, architecture, medicine, agriculture, capitalism, corporations, drugs, transportation networks...

After reading this marvelous book, the 'melting pot' concept of cultures blending seems pretty anemic and contrived - perhaps MP theory is at heart another exercise in self-delusion that humans are trending away from selfish bigotry?


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Of course black history, white history, Mexican history,Asian history, and women’s history can be separated; they have been for hundreds of years. Philosophically they don’t stand alone but in practical terms they’ve been excluded, leaving us with an understanding of history and sociology that is not incomplete but incorrect.

As for the “Latinx is not a race” issue - I remember this change; I was working in higher ed then and there were a lot of changes to forms and data bases. IIRC there was some very careful design of that question because of that issue - specifically because Latinx people do not belong to a single “race,” but do belong to a specific culture (for lack of the appropriate word) and needed to be identified accordingly. I haven’t seen that particular question for a while, or at least paid attention to it, but I’m sure tha5 forma5 is still there.

But then, race itself is an imaginary construct


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Originally Posted by pondering_it_all
I really should stop only checking the Caucasian box on forms: I am 1/8th Chinese. My wife is half Caucasian and half Japanese. Strange thing: Our next door neighbors are also a mixed race Caucasian and Asian couple.

Strange thing about "LatinX", and about "Hispanic", too: They are not a race. Those words describe people who speak Spanish (or Portuguese). Yet they keep on being included on forms in the race categories. If we are going to do that, there a lot of Black, and Asian people who speak French! Lots of Asians in Peru who speak Spanish. Lots of mixed race folks in rural Louisiana who speak French. At least a person's primary language is easy to determine. Race is a continuum.
The Census, at least, distinguishes between race and ethnicity - explicitly. It notes that "Hispanic" can apply to people of any "race". It is frequently media outlets and advocates who conflate the two. As Lin Manuel Miranda pointed out “What you run up against are the limits of defining 32 different [censored] countries with one world,” Miranda said in a recent interview with IndieWire. “Literally, no word is going to make everyone happy.”

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In conversation, Miranda often defaults to describing himself and others as Latinos, the most natural term for native Spanish speakers. However, Miranda noted that the debate over “Latino” predates the existence of “Latinx” and variants thereof. “When I was in high school, every week, the Latino club would debate ‘Latino’ versus ‘Hispanic,’” he said. “Now ‘Hispanic’ has really fallen into the rearview, and it’s all these variations on the rear-end of the word.” These include not only “Latinx” but “Latiné,” the gender-neutral term more commonly used by people of Latin descent in the LGBTQ community. “Latiné is great because it’s Latino-created,” he said. “I’m cool with all of it. I use them interchangeably because I think the pie is still cooling and it will never be perfect, because it’s trying to capture too much stuff.”
IndieWire


A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich
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Originally Posted by pondering_it_all
I really should stop only checking the Caucasian box on forms: I am 1/8th Chinese. My wife is half Caucasian and half Japanese. Strange thing: Our next door neighbors are also a mixed race Caucasian and Asian couple.

Strange thing about "LatinX", and about "Hispanic", too: They are not a race. Those words describe people who speak Spanish (or Portuguese). Yet they keep on being included on forms in the race categories. If we are going to do that, there a lot of Black, and Asian people who speak French! Lots of Asians in Peru who speak Spanish. Lots of mixed race folks in rural Louisiana who speak French. At least a person's primary language is easy to determine. Race is a continuum.
If you ever walked into a PX or commissary on a military base, you'd be surprised at the number of mixed race couples along with kids. Even in retirement, living where I do that is more the norm than not. But what most of us have in common is the military. I'm white, retired army, married to a Thai. My neighbor on the left is black, retired Air Force married to a Korean.Our oldest daughter lives across the road, married to a Laotian. Dependent military. On my right is a Cambodian couple, next to them is a white retired army married to a black woman. Then another black who was a department of the army civilian for 35 years married to a German. one of my oldest daughter daughter, or grand daughter married a black. Then another grand daughter married a Filipino. Grandson married to a Chinese. But all of us somehow have the military in common.

All live within a half mile of each other.


It's high past time that we start electing Americans to congress and the presidency who put America first instead of their political party. For way too long we have been electing Republicans and Democrats who happen to be Americans instead of Americans who happen to be Republicans and Democrats.
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Originally Posted by perotista
If you ever walked into a PX or commissary on a military base, you'd be surprised at the number of mixed race couples along with kids. Even in retirement, living where I do that is more the norm than not. But what most of us have in common is the military. I'm white, retired army, married to a Thai. My neighbor on the left is black, retired Air Force married to a Korean.Our oldest daughter lives across the road, married to a Laotian. Dependent military. On my right is a Cambodian couple, next to them is a white retired army married to a black woman. Then another black who was a department of the army civilian for 35 years married to a German. one of my oldest daughter daughter, or grand daughter married a black. Then another grand daughter married a Filipino. Grandson married to a Chinese. But all of us somehow have the military in common.

All live within a half mile of each other.
My experience is nearly precisely the same. My next door neighbors are a mixed Puerto Rican/Cuban couple, and their children have all married different ethnicities/races - one a Filipino, another an African American that's 1/4 Samoan. Next up the street a white self-proclaimed redneck whose girlfriend has two mixed kids. Next up the street a White-Japanese couple, and next to them a Hispanic/Southeast Asian (I haven't asked which, yet, but I think Vietnamese)-white military couple, and their neighbors are Puerto Rican Americans. Ironically, the other side of the street are an African American retiree (ex military), and three all-white families in a row.

Last edited by NW Ponderer; 08/30/21 11:51 PM.

A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich
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