Re: Ethnic

Gil Hardwick (
Wed, 26 Apr 1995 05:00:59 GMT

In article <3nfil4$>, ralph ambrose ( writes:
>I think Vincenzo has a lagitimate question here. My social
>anthropology instructor couldn't give me much of an answere when I
>asked a similar question years ago. The lack of a serious response may
>be due to the fact that "race" and "ethnicity" are often poorly
>defined. Even when they are well defind it is hard to abandon the same
>groupings of people- we simply rename them in a slightly less
>offensive, but no more accurate manner. I feel that these terms still
>deserve serious reflection and critical evaluation of how they are
>currently used.

The reason your instructor was unable to give you much of an answer
is because all your definitions will come unstuck in a big way the
moment you venture forth into the real world to do your fieldwork.

We fail to take such questions seriously for good reason; it is the
work of anthropology to observe the dynamic process of creating and
changing labels to reflect the dynamics of the society, rather than to
ponder the labels as such. That an immigrant Italian is progressively
refered to by an "old" (Anglo) Australian as a bloody reffo, a wog, a
dago, an ethnic, or finally Luigi how ya goin' old mate, for example,
is very much of interest.

To wit; we are anthropologists, not etymologists. Maybe the query can
be posted to a more relevant newsgroup if you want a serious argument
over words.

He who refuses to qualify data is doomed to rant.
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