Tag Archives: color

Lengthy Post: Races, Historical and Modern

Race, a controversial topic, has been the reason for hate crime, genocide, discrimination, disenfranchisement and other atrocities. But what is race really? Race appears to be a human method for classifying other groups of humans, distinguishing “us” from “them”. Most determinants of race are outward physical traits, namely facial features, build and skin color. The last feature, skin color, is a prominent distinguishing feature of the races, which have been separated in color groups. Historically, the Caucasian peoples have been associated with white, East Asian peoples with yellow, North African, Middle Eastern and South Asian peoples with brown, Sub-Saharan and Australian Aboriginal peoples with black and Amerindian peoples with red. Still another racial definition is based on ancestral homelands. Caucasian people from Europe, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Central and South Asia, Negroid people (these are historical terms, you can expect racism) from Sub-Saharan Africa and Australia, Mongoloid people from East, South East, North, and Central Asia, the Americas, the Arctic and some Pacific islands. Recent genetic research has uncovered some evidence of separate races, but based on adaptations to a homeland while retaining inter-race breeding capability (every different race is still part of the same species). A 1994 study set up 9 potential races: African, New Guinean & Australian, Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian, Amerindian, Arctic Northeast Asian, Northeast Asian, European Caucasoid and Non-European Caucasoid. Racial studies continue to be controversial, but perhaps through studying race we might learn it doesn’t exist.

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Filed under Biology, Culture, Science

Qualia

Qualia refers to a quality, hence the name, of one persons subjective experience. Try describing, without analogy, exactly what red looks like, what chocolate tastes like, what pain feels like, or what a violin sounds like. You can’t do it because people’s connotations of the words you use to describe something are tied to their perceptions. If you say “red is the color of blood” you would be right because blood reflects light in the “red” end of the color spectrum, but your red might be another person’s purple which may be yet another person’s green. Although the philosophical debate about whether or not qualia is a real thing, whether or not someone’s perceptions of color, taste, pain or sound are inherent qualities of objects, or ascribed to such objects by the mind.

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Filed under Philosophy