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Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

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Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

Postby JR8 » Thu, 28 Jan 2016 8:54 pm

Another poster was writing elsewhere today about someone who [IIRC] is 'local Chinese', as in Singaporean Chinese. And it got me wondering about how people in SG define themselves by historic connections to another country.

For example back home people don't define themselves as British-Indian, or British-Caribbean, and it would sound curious if they did. Perhaps something a new arrival might do if he hadn't quite had time to shake his homeland out of his system to the extent he had to go to the lengths of telling you what would likely be visually quite obvious anyway.

So... :-k what does 'Singaporean Chinese' [SGn-CNese] mean? Chinese is not a race, but most Chinese are of Mongoloid race. And not all 'Chinese' hail from the PRC which is a country simply defined and delineated by a historic geographical border. So should SGn-CNese more correctly be Singaporean Mongoloid? And would a SGn citizen whose roots went back to post-war Taiwan, would he be SGn-CNese? I'm not sure he would be quite at ease with such a label.

I realise race is a big thing in SG, with the various elements actively managed so as to remain at 'the desired balance'. Is it that ongoing categorisation that means people perpetually identify themselves by race AND nationality? And is there any point in time where a SC stops doing such, and simply defines themselves as 'Singaporean'?

-----
Don't know, just something I was thinking about this morning. So I was Googling on who are defined by the term 'Chinese'. The below is something that came up:

'Q. Is Chinese considered a race, nationality, or both?'

'Best answer.
On its own the term "Chinese" is too vague to be a race, a nationality or an ethnic group. Sometimes the context will make it clear what sense is intended. For example in the statement "Xi Jinping is the new Chinese President", 'Chinese' clearly means the state called the People's Republic of China.

There are 2 Chinese countries: the People's Republic (PRC) and the Republic of China (Taiwan). Arguably, Singapore is a third Chinese country, since Chinese people are the majority.

The PRC has over 50 ethnic groups, so "Chinese" must be some other layer of identity. 90% of the population are Han Chinese, the rest is made of Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uyghur, Tibetans and many other peoples beside the Han. Tibetans, Miao and others define themselves as emphatically *not* Chinese; so the label does not encompass these groups.

Taiwan (Republic of China) has both Han Chinese and Taiwanese Aboriginals. So again, nationality and ethnic group is not coterminous.

I don't consider 'Chinese' to be a 'race' either. As you noted above, the whole idea of race has become difficult to define. The traditional categories of Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, etc was based on very superficial properties. As the 20th century progressed we have been able to look far deeper into the makeup of human populations than surface properties like skin colour or facial features; analysis of blood types, allozymes, immunoglobulins and since the 1980s DNA analysis has revealed a kaleidoscope of human variation. Based on DNA analysis, the number of possible races could be anything between 1 (all humans in 1 race) to 7 billion (every person their own race). Many modern race models don't map neatly on to the traditional or popular race groups. 'Chinese' or Han Chinese don't have a distinctive enough genetic profile to be a race of their own; they are an East Asian type which will include people from Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

In short, 'Chinese' can mean many things. Unqualified, it doesn't describe a race, a nationality or a specific ethnic group.'

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/inde ... 759AAqfNlM
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Re: Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

Postby JR8 » Fri, 29 Jan 2016 6:55 am

Hmmm. So what is the purpose of the entry of 'Race' on the NRIC?
Nationality (and not race), *perceived* historic kin-ship/affiliation.

If you google/Images on 'Singapore NRIC' you'll see images of cards identifying race as Malay, Javanese, Chinese, etc. But those are ethnicities and not races.
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Re: Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

Postby Primrose Hill » Fri, 29 Jan 2016 10:47 am

@JR8 actually back home do make a difference between race and ethnicity.
BBC? BBI?
British borned Chinese/british borned indian/british borned black/carribean etc.

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Re: Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

Postby Primrose Hill » Fri, 29 Jan 2016 10:50 am

look at youtube, there's a clip on what kind of Asian are you? Its really funny and actually really true. Sorry, I can't post youtube on my IE here

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Re: Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

Postby Barnsley » Fri, 29 Jan 2016 2:26 pm

Primrose Hill wrote:@JR8 actually back home do make a difference between race and ethnicity.
BBC? BBI?
British borned Chinese/british borned indian/british borned black/carribean etc.


Maybe its my lack of diversity in the folk I know from UK , but I dont know anyone who would describe themselves like that.
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Re: Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

Postby Primrose Hill » Fri, 29 Jan 2016 2:42 pm

Barnsley wrote:
Primrose Hill wrote:@JR8 actually back home do make a difference between race and ethnicity.
BBC? BBI?
British borned Chinese/british borned indian/british borned black/carribean etc.


Maybe its my lack of diversity in the folk I know from UK , but I dont know anyone who would describe themselves like that.


Really? It is done all the time. :D :D

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Re: Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

Postby JR8 » Fri, 29 Jan 2016 5:59 pm

Primrose Hill wrote:@JR8 actually back home do make a difference between race and ethnicity. BBC? BBI? British borned Chinese/british borned indian/british borned Black/carribean etc.


Agree with Barnsley. I worked in an office with 4,000 people of all nationalities/races, including plenty of BBC's and BBI's. Then as you know I've a branch of BBI's within my wider family. *But* I'd never heard of the term BBC/BBI and so on until I moved to Asia. No one it applies to would make that differentiation, why would they, they're simply British. I.e. IME there is no British equivalent of say 'African American'.

I have heard the term 'Afro-Caribbean', but think that might simply be a far more polite and respectful way of saying negro.

ps. PH. There are a few titled like that, do you mean this one?
'what kind of Asian are you?'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciQDpLbDgqY
:lol:
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Re: Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

Postby Primrose Hill » Sun, 31 Jan 2016 3:14 pm


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Re: Race vs ethnicity - what's in a name?

Postby JR8 » Sun, 31 Jan 2016 9:35 pm

Ah yes, the inadvertently extremely patronising attempt to 'connect'. That vid is spot on, which is why it's so amusing :)
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