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View Diary: Anti-Chechen Racism Unbridled (152 comments)

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  •  The Chechens aren't any more or less white (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical, kyril

    than the Persians, Turks, Israelis, or semitic Arabs. Don't be too taken with the Caucasian terminology, the Chechnyans were overrun during the Middle Ages by the Mongols and Tamerlane (the Turkic conqueror who brought Islam to the region). So if you're thinking pastey white Euro-American=Chechny Caucasian, not really.  

    I never liked you and I always will.

    by Ray Blake on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:51:10 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  white is a social construct (4+ / 0-)

      What matters is whether they looked "white"

      •  It's a construct that becomes ambiguous (6+ / 0-)

        when it comes to the Middle East. The Turks, Persians and semitic Arabs are very similar in appearance to the Chechnyans. They're all white people. Who decides if they conform to the construct? Tamerlane Tsarnaev (named for the Turkic conqueror) could easily pass as Israeli, Persian or Turkish. Perhaps even southern Italian. Does he look white? Compared to Barack Obama, sure. But to Justin Bieber? White is a very broad category.

        I never liked you and I always will.

        by Ray Blake on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:38:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which is my point (11+ / 0-)

          White is an artificial construct. Why exactly are Persians, Arabs, Israelis "white" or not "white" ? Who polices these boundaries?

          •  Reminds me (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OllieGarkey, kyril

            I was a public reference librarian back when the country was gearing up for war with Iraq.

            An older woman came in to ask me what "color" Iraqis were.

            I knew where she was going with this.

            I was flabbergasted.  As a public librarian, there were lots of times people that I didn't agree with came to ask me for answers I didn't want to give.  But I did so.

            This one, however--well what do you say?

            Just because the government keeps a record of real property transfers, it doesn't mean that the government wants to confiscate your home.

            by NCJan on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 09:18:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Race is completely useless as an (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Blake

            "identity" marker, for many reasons, but especially because there is wide variation in physical appearance across any "racial" population and genetic clustering around many different poles-- so some Chechens will look Semitic, some Turkic, some European. Some studies have found close genetic congruence between the Chechens and the Basques-- good luck trying to explain THAT in terms of historical destiny.

            Ethnos, based on shared language and culture-- i.e., based on behavior and conscious affiliation rather than on genes-- is a somewhat fairer and more useful identity marker-- but even there one cannot speak of a pure ethnicity, given that there's plenty of linguistic and cultural variation within an ethnos.

            This is why it is absolutely insane to seek a racially or ethnically pure state-- it would require the purging of all the elements that don't fit the idealized type. And this is why the Chechen nationalist project was from the start bound to provoke violence: there have been 500 years of Russian, Persian, Turkish, Crimean Tatar, Kabardan, Avar, Chechen, Georgian intermixing within the same small area in the Caucasus.

            Greater Serbia, Greater Israel, Greater Chechnya-- these are all absurd and destructive projects.

      •  Partially... but not exactly totally true... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OllieGarkey, Be Skeptical, Ray Blake

        Archeologists can dig up bones and say... "African", "mixed", "European"... "Asian"... "Amerindian" etc. and even sub groupings within those general categories... and then DNA analysis.. they can say "White", "Black" etc. just from just a few markers. While it is true that statistically from a genetic point of view we are all the same "race"... all descended from a very small group who survived a population bottleneck 70,000 years ago... we did apparently settle into the loose approximations of "racial" groups since then... and with recent technology traveled and mixed a lot more and a lot faster than the previous epochs when distance and speed of travel kept populations separate and surface physical differences, cultural and linguistic differences became additional barriers of a sort.

        So the visual but shallow "Skin deep" identity is more noticeable than the small number of genetic differences that collectively tend to be linked to those superficial characteristics... and there is of course zero basis for "ranking" any group as somehow inferior or superior and the border regions between the roughly defined areas where each race is predominant are full of every possible blend of people to the  point where you could say there are more "in between" people than "purely" White", "Black", "Yellow" or "Red"... especially when there are actually few people who are really really white... more peach or pink at the most... and the blackest Black is just very dark brown and as for yellow and red... well those descriptions are even more of a stretch... and the palette of humanity does not have so few hues but has continual and extensive variety.

        So while "Race" has most often been misused as a tool to define the "other" to separate populations, justify mistreatment, conquest and lower or higher status far too often exalting or lowering visually distinctive groups relative to each other and beyond that via language, cultural and religious differences... "Race" or something close to that can still be "detected" fairly clearly via genetic and morphological science... the real issue is that the differences are meaningless for anything that might be tied to civil rights, rights of association, alleged inherent qualities or deficiencies...

        So it is not exactly correct to say there are zero differences linked to Race that have a scientific basis and can be used to identify origin and describe what a person would have looked like just from DNA or study of their bones since these are all facts... and while as a Superficial visual and also genetic and morphological description Race exists to some degree, what does not exist are any real differences between any humans regardless of what they look like superficially... you can see this when the 19th century anthropologists tried to describe each new tribe or ethnic group and the contortions and assumptions they resorted to in order to try and place them neatly into one or the other category or grouping... which only shows that people are not stereotypically and easily pigeon-holed beyond a few superficial tags or labels... and these Victorian era scientists had to make up all sorts of sub racial groups and sub-sub groups and try to describe what made a typical member belong to that group and argued endlessly over their arbitrary labels.

        And beyond that there are more important differences genetically speaking linked to becoming adapted to local diet and climate... and within each group are exceptions who would do better elsewhere eating different things in a different climate or even altitude... or ability to resist local diseases... many individuals of each "race" do not fit well with whatever grouping they are supposed to be a member of and are more at home and do better with a different group... Diversity! And migration! good for societies and good for individuals...

        And as for Chechens... in a crossroads area of Asia... they would long ago have continually been a very "mixed" grouping with more diversity added from many different heritages more often than a lot of other places on earth... invaders, migrants, traders... it was not exactly a place with no mixing (the whole history of Chechnya has been one of continually resisting invasions over and over and over again century after century and yet being open to outsiders becoming Chechnyan.)...

        So it might be hard to dig up some bones and say they were typically "Chechen" though they did have a tight clan identity they also had a history of accepting outsiders and allowing them to merge and become Chechen...  perhaps genetic markers might add some light but probably they would be identified as central Asian and probably narrowed down to the general Caucasus region... but not much narrower than that...  

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 08:32:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Race is farcity"-Albert Einstein (8+ / 0-)

      If you go back far enough, you can make connections between all mankind. There is no such isolated pure race in the world today other than in our minds.

      Turks, for example, are a highly mixed ethnicity. Among all, Chechens, Turks, Israelis and whatnot, you will find great diversity, some being "pasty white" while others more on the brown side.

      Finns, for example, have a history of Turkic migrations settling in the area. And Turks have Polish immigrants (long ago) that have mixed with them. There is also a history of Turkish Gaul mixing in Anatolia (historical fact) going back to a few thousand years.

      That is because of the mixed nature of human groups going back to millions of years.

      So, I will be careful when claiming clean cut separations among the "races" of the mankind. There is none.

      "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

      by zenox on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 05:09:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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