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Re: Miranda's Post on Overdetermination: A Response

Posted by blue_flower on December 16, 2001 at 10:50:07:

In Reply to: Re: Miranda's Post on Overdetermination: A Response posted by miranda on December 15, 2001 at 14:25:26:

i agree that this was a really amazing essay. when i read the part about the girl who was forced by threat of retention (suspension?) to wear a dress instead of pants it really hit home. we really do live in an environment where lots of social processes are used, including coercion, to reinforce these stereotypes, whether it is race or gender. so miranda, i completely agree that these stereotypes are overdetermined, shaped by all kinds of social processes and the social processes end up reshaping nature. women do all sorts of things to their bodies just to look "feminine" and now plastic surgery is becoming really popular, so the ability to meet stereotypical expectations is even more open to commodity exchange. you can buy feminitity.


: Point well taken. I was careless with words. I was trying to point out that even though people may look alike, we shouldn't assume they have anything in common. But you are right about taking it all the way, we shouldn't even assume that people look alike. By making assumptions about physical characteristics, we are still repeating the same pattern of generalizing and stereotyping. Thanks for pointing that out.

: : First of all, this is a very well written essay. I'm very impressed by how carefully and logically it is argued.

: : There is one point I want to clarify in it. You indicate that "Yes, some people of the same genetic origin or phenotype may share a culture or religion." Isn't the point that phenotype is really a fiction. In other words, no two people really looks alike, except identical twins, and we make up stuff about people looking alike. We are taught to look at people and ask ourselves, what is this person? Is this person black? Is this person Chinese? We practice it when we're kids because our parents and peers teach us to practice it, to look for certain visual cues to race. But its all a fantasy. Skin color doesn't come in black and white. Nor do noses come in two types or ears or eyes come in brown and blue. We ignore the diversity in looking for race. I guess that's the irony. We talk about diversity by talking about a fiction called race and we completely miss that the real diversity is in each individual human being. We are not alike. Yet each of us is human. I think that's the real point of the article that the doctor and geneticist from Stanford wrote. He was saying that there really is no race at all and this means there are not these phenotypes at all. There are no black people. There are no white people. And as long as we look at people and let our programming click on and we ask What is she? then we're still trapped in racism.



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