Loving Day

This Sunday, June 12, is Loving Day; and celebrations and commemorative events will take place around the nation. Loving Day is the 44th Anniversary of the 1967 unanimous Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, striking down anti-miscegenation laws.

Understanding the Race Concept Cross-Culturally

There is little understanding of, many misconceptions regarding, and many false implicit assumptions concerning the race concept.

Black In Latin America on PBS—Two Out of Three

The PBS series Black In Latin America showed that the concept of race varies from one culture to another, and that people’s race changes when they travel to a country with a different set of cultural categories.

The Malleability of Ethnicity

The number of Native Americans has been increasing faster than can be accounted for by the birth rate. Sound impossible? This is just one of many surprises that emerge when you look at ethnicity up close.

What Do Names Tell Us? Part V—Gender

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. For example some names are used by both girls and boys. This discussion of what names tell us about gender is the fifth in a five part series.

What Do Names Tell Us? Part IV—Social Class

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. This discussion of what names tell us about social class is the fourth in a five part series.

What Do Names Tell Us? Part III—Race and Religion

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. This discussion of what names tell us about race and religion is the third in a five part series.

What Do Names Tell Us? Part II--Last Names

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. This discussion of last names and the cultural information they may (or may not) convey is the second of a five part series, "What Do Names Tell Us?"

What Do Names Tell Us? Part I--Popular Names

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. This discussion of popular names is the first of a five part series "What Do Names Tell Us?"

Is Barack Obama Black or Mixed?

Barack Obama's election as President symbolized for many a triumph over prejudice. But for some the question remains--is he black? As with all such questions, it depends on what you mean by black. 

How to Raise Smart Kids Chinese-Style

Many people believe that Asians are smarter than average, and that intelligence is a form of innate potential that cannot be altered. The Chinese style of child rearing suggests otherwise.

How Should Racism Be Defined?

The word racism has been used to refer to hostile acts, antagonistic emotions, negative attitudes, and specific beliefs. An anthropological definition offers conceptual clarity. 

Is Anthropology Scientific? Beats Me.

 As I tried to figure out whether or not anthropology was scientific, I was reminded of Lewis Carroll's Through The Looking Glass.

Which Is In A Bigger Mess Over Culture—Psych. or Anthro. ?

I was dismayed, if not surprised, by Alice Dreger's post, No Science, Please. We're Anthropologists. The removal of references to "science" from the American Anthropological Association (AAA) mission statement pulled the rug out from under cross-cultural psychologists. 

The Trouble With Double-Blind Placebo Studies

Double-blind placebo studies have been called the gold standard for testing medications, especially psychiatric ones. Unfortunately, there are significant problems with double-blind placebo studies.

Who Is Asian?

 An Iranian immigrant to the US described to me his first contact with American racial concepts. He had to fill out a form and label himself with one of the listed options. When he chose Asian, he was told "You aren't Asian."

Leave Marijuana Regulation to the States

There are striking parallels between alcohol prohibition during the Great Depression and marijuana prohibition during our current Great Recession. The lessons learned from the repeal of Prohibition have a lot to tell us about the marijuana policy choices that we now confront.

Why Isn't There A French Race?

 There are all kinds of Latinos from all kinds of places...and there are also all kinds of French speakers and their descendants in the United States. But there is no folk term like Latino to group the French into a "racial" category. Why not?

Are American Friendships Materialistic?

In response to my last post, an immigrant from Eastern Europe expressed the view that Americans do not see others as "human beings with whom they can form deep and real relationships;" and the comment placed primary responsibility on "the materialist culture and some form of deep selfishness formed as a result."

Are American Friendships Superficial?

A German woman living in the United States was describing her likes and dislikes about the U.S.On the positive side, she was enthusiastic about the opportunities for work and advancement. On the negative side, however, she complained that American friendships are superficial.

The Census and Race—Part VI—Trends and Lessons Learned

Looking over the "race" questions on the censuses from 1790 through 2010--variously labeled as (a) free white/other free/slave (b) color (c) color or race (d) is this person (e) race--and the widely varied options for answering them, it is easy to see that they have varied greatly over time. Several trends are evident in these variations.

The Census and Race—Part V—Recent Censuses

1990 census, as well as the two subsequent ones, used only the term "race"--thereby insisting on this category definition. It allowed individuals to choose only one of six races.

The Census and Race—Part IV— Civil Rights and the Cold War

The end of de jure segregation and racial discrimination led to changes in American culture that were accompanied by changes in the "racial" categories and concepts used by the census. The 1950 census was the first to use the term "race" as the sole descriptor.

The Census and Race—Part III— Jim Crow

The 1890 census terms mulatto, quadroon, and octoroon reify the non-scientific American folk concept of blood. Blood is a biological entity, and many people inaccurately believe that it is the same as genes. The following explanation shows why they are wrong.

The Census and Race—Part II—Slavery (1790-1860)

The government's official census website justifies asking individuals to list their race by saying that the question has been "Asked since 1790." This is not an accurate statement.

The Census and Race—Part I--Key Issues

The 2010 Census is well on its way to completion. Its controversial questions about race have raised many issues that deserve to be explored in depth. This is the first post in a multi-part series dealing with the census's race questions and what we can learn from them about science, politics, and American culture. 

New Perspectives on the Science vs. Religion Debate

How does what psychology and the social sciences have to say about the science vs. religion debate differ from the perspectives of the physical and biological sciences? And in what ways has science contributed to anti-science?

Why Twin Studies Don't Separate Genes and Environment

Many claims have been made about the degree to which genes and environment affect personality, intelligence, and various forms of behavior. A key source of evidence is provided by twin studies.

Surprising Facts about Races

How can you say there are no races, when people from Norway, Nigeria, and Japan look so different from one another? And how can you explain the existence of racism, if races don't exist? 

Cultural Misunderstandings

At a psychology conference in England years ago, a woman said to me "I'll knock you up in the morning." I was initially taken aback by her bizarre suggestion, but it did occur to me that I might not understand her intent.

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