just found this map about global pollution:
it uses as measurement unit the Air Quality Index (AQI)
(how much it's reliable as source is debatable)
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Posted 31 March 2017 - 04:06 AM
Race versus EthnicityStephen Cornell and Douglas Hartmann (1998) provide a helpful discussion of the differences between the concepts of race and ethnicity. Relying on social constructivism, they define race as “a human group defined by itself or others as distinct by virtue of perceived common physical characteristics that are held to be inherent…Determining which characteristics constitute the race…is a choice human beings make. Neither markers nor categories are predetermined by any biological factors” (Cornell and Hartmann 1998, 24).Ethnicity, conversely, is defined as a sense of common ancestry based on cultural attachments, past linguistic heritage, religious affiliations, claimed kinship, or some physical traits (1998, 19). Racial identities are typically thought of as encompassing multiple ethnic identities (Cornell and Hartmann 1998, 26). Thus, people who are racially categorized as black may possess a variety of ethnic identities based either on African national or cultural markers (e.g., Kenyan, Igbo, Zulu) or the newer national, sub-national, or trans-national identities created through the mixing of enslaved populations in the Americas (e.g., African American, Haitian, West Indian).Cornell and Hartmann outline five additional characteristics that distinguish race from ethnicity: racial identity is typically externally imposed by outsiders, as when whites created the negro race to homogenize the multiple ethnic groups they conquered in Africa or brought as slaves to America; race is a result of early globalization, when European explorers “discovered” and then conquered peoples with radically different phenotypical traits; race typically involves power relations, from the basic power to define the race of others to the more expansive power to deprive certain racial groups of social, economic, or political benefits; racial identities are typically hierarchical, with certain races being perceived as superior to others; and racial identity is perceived as inherent, something individuals are born with (1998, 27–29).Race and ethnicity differ strongly in the level of agency that individuals exercise in choosing their identity. Individuals rarely have any choice over their racial identity, due to the immediate visual impact of the physical traits associated with race. Individuals are thought to exercise more choice over ethnic identification, since the physical differences between ethnic groups are typically less striking, and since individuals can choose whether or not to express the cultural practices associated with ethnicity. So an individual who phenotypically appears white with ancestors from Ireland can more readily choose whether to assert their Irish identity (by celebrating St. Patrick’s Day) than whether to choose their white identity (Cornell and Hartmann 1998, 29–30). Moreover, Mary Waters (1990) argues that the high level of intermarriage among white Americans from various national ancestries grants their children significant “ethnic options” in choosing with which of their multiple heritages to identify. Waters (1999) and Philip Kasinitz (1992) document how phenotypically black West Indian immigrants exercise agency in asserting their ethnic identity in order to differentiate themselves from native-born African Americans, but discrimination and violence aimed at all Blacks, regardless of ethnicity, strongly constrains such agency.The greater constraints on racial identity stem from the role of informal perceptions, discriminatory social action, and formal laws imposing racial identity, such as Census categorization (Nobles 2000), the infamous “hypodescent” laws, which defined people as black if they had one drop of African blood (Davis 1991), and judicial decisions such as the “prerequisite cases,” which determined whether specific immigrants could be classified as white and thus eligible for naturalized citizenship (Lopez 1996).The line between race and ethnicity gets blurred in the case of Asians and Latinos in the United States. Yen Le Espiritu (1992) notes that Asian American racial identity, which of course encompasses a remarkable level of ethnic diversity, results from a combination of external assignment and agency, as when Asians actively respond to anti-Asian discrimination or violence through political action and a sense of shared fate. Consequently, Espiritu uses the term “panethnicity” to describe Asian American identity, a concept which has racial connotations, given the role of “racial lumping” together of members of diverse Asian ethnicities into a single racial group defined by phenotypical traits. Thus, she declares that “African Americans [are] the earliest and most developed pan-ethnic group in the United States” (1992, 174). Hispanic or Latino identity exhibits traits similar to pan-ethnicity. Indeed, unlike Asian identity, Hispanic identity is not even a formal racial identity under the Census. However, informal perceptions, formal laws, and discrimination based on physical appearance nevertheless tend to lump together various nationalities and ethnicities that share some connection to Latin America (Rodriquez 2000). Moreover, scholars have noted that Jews (Brodkin 1998) and the Irish (Ignatiev 1995) were once were considered distinct, non-white races but are now considered to be racially white ethnic groups, partly by exercising agency in distancing themselves from African Americans exercising political power. Thus, it is conceivable that groups today considered to be sociological racial groups could transform into something more like an ethnic group. For this reason, Blum describes Hispanics and Asians as incompletely racialized groups (Blum 2002, 149–155).A robust philosophical debate has emerged regarding the status of Hispanic or Latino identity. Jorge Gracia (2000) defends the utility of Hispanic ethnic identity as grounded primarily in the shared, linguistic culture that can be traced to the Iberian peninsula. Jorge Garcia (2001, 2006) challenges this approach, arguing that the diversity of individual experiences undermines the use of Hispanic ethnicity as a meaningful form of collective identity. Linda Martin Alcoff (2006) develops a “realist” defense of Latino identity against charges of essentialism and views it as a category of solidarity that develops in reaction to white privilege. Christina Beltran (2010), on the other hand, does not try to paper over the diversity within Latinidad, which she instead portrays as a pluralistic, fragmented, and agonistic for of political action.
Race, Ethnicity, and Multiculturalism
Similar debates in philosophy of race highlight the contingent and historical nature of “race” as a category of identity. Despite a complex history of biological essentialism in the presentation of racial typologies, the notion of a genetic basis to racial difference has been largely discredited; the criteria different societies (at different times) use to organize and hierarchize “racial formations” are political and contingent (Omi and Winant 1986). While skin color, appearance of facial features, or hair type are in some trivial sense genetically determined, the grouping of different persons into races does not pick out any patterned biological difference (although see the debate “Is Race Real?” in the internet resources. What it does pick out is a set of social meanings with political ramifications (Alcoff 1997, 2006). The most notorious example of an attempt to rationalize racial difference as biological is the) U.S. “one-drop rule”, under which an individual was characterized as Black if they had “one drop” or more of “Black blood.”Adrian Piper points out that not only does this belief persist into contemporary readings of racial identity, it also implies that given the prolonged history of racial mixing in the US—both coerced and voluntary—very significant numbers of nominally “white” people in the U.S. today should be re-classified as “Black” (Piper 1996). In those countries that have had official racial classifications, individuals' struggles to be re-classified (almost always as a member of a more privileged racial group) are often invoked to highlight the contingency of race, especially at the borders of its categories. And a number of histories of racial groups that have apparently changed their racial identification—Jews, Italians, or the Irish, for example—also illustrate social constructionist theses (Ignatiev 1995). The claim that race is “socially constructed”, however, does not in itself mark out a specific identity politics. Indeed, the very contingency of race and its lack of correlation with categories that have more meaning in everyday life (such as ethnicity or culture) may circumscribe its political usefulness: just as feminists have found the limits of appeals to “women's identity”, so Asian-Americans may find with ethnicities and cultures as diverse as Chinese, Indian, or Vietnamese that their racial designation itself provides little common ground. That a US citizen of both Norwegian and Ashkenazi Jewish heritage will check that they are “white” on a census form says relatively little (although nonetheless something) about their experience of their identity, or indeed of their very different relationship to anti-Semitism. Tropes of separatism and the search for forms of authentic self-expression are related to race via ethno-cultural understandings of identity: for example, the U.S. Afro-centric movement appeals to the cultural significance of African heritage for Black Americans (Asante 2000).Racial categories are perhaps most politically significant in their contested relation to racism. Racism attempts to reduce members of social groups to their racial features, drawing on a complex history of racial stereotypes to do so. Racism is arguably analogous to other forms of oppression in being both overt and institutionalized, manifested both as deliberate acts by individuals and as unplanned systemic outcomes. The specific direction of US discussion of the categories of race has been around color-blind versus color-conscious public policy (Appiah and Gutmann 1996). Color-blindness—that is, the view that race should be ignored in public policy and everyday exchange—has hegemony in popular discourse. Drawing attention to race—whether in a personal description or in university admissions procedures—is unfair and racist. Advocates of color-consciousness, on the other hand, argue that racism will not disappear without proactive efforts, which require the invocation of race. Thus affirmative action, for example, requires statistics about the numbers of members of oppressed racial groups employed in certain contexts, which in turn requires racial identification and categorization. Thus those working against racism face a paradox familiar in identity politics: the very identity they aim to dispel must be invoked to make their case.The literature on multiculturalism takes up questions of race, ethnicity, and cultural diversity in relation to the liberal state. Some multicultural states—notably Canada—allegedly aim to permit the various cultural identities of their residents to be preserved rather than assimilated, despite the concern that the over-arching liberal aims of such states may be at odds with the values of those they claim to protect. For example, Susan Moller Okin argues that multiculturalism is sometimes bad for women, especially when it works to preserve patriarchal values in minority cultures. If multiculturalism implies a form of cultural relativism that prevents judgment of or interference with the “private” practices of minorities, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, compulsory veiling, or being deprived of education may be the consequence. Okin's critics counter that she falsely portrays culture as static, internally homogeneous, and defined by men's values, allowing liberalism to represent a culturally unmarked medium for the defense of individual rights (Okin et al. 1999). For many commentators on multiculturalism this is the nub of the issue: is there an inconsistency between defending the rights of minority cultures, while prohibiting those (allegedly) cultural practices that the state judges illiberal (Eisenberg and Spinner-Halev 2005; Phillips 2007)? Can liberalism sustain the cultural and value-neutrality that some commentators still ascribe to it, or to what extent should it embrace its own cultural specificity (Taylor 1994; Habermas 1994; Foster and Herzog 1994; Kymlicka 1995; Deveaux 2000)? Defenders of the right to cultural expression of minorities in multicultural states thus practice forms of identity politics that are both made possible by liberalism and sometimes in tension with it (see Laden and Owen 2007).
Posted 09 February 2019 - 10:33 AM
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