As an aside, and coming from the ‘race’ context of my previous post, go download this and have a look.
White, European, Western, Caucasian, or what? Inappropriate labeling in research on race, ethnicity, and health. – R Bhopal and L Donaldson
The request for scientifically appropriate terminology in research on race, ethnicity, and health has largely bypassed the term White. This and other words, such as Caucasian, are embedded in clinical and epidemiological discourse, yet they are rarely defined. This commentary analyzes the issue from the perspective of the epidemiology of the health of minority ethnic and racial groups in Europe and the United States. Minority groups are usually compared with populations described as White, Caucasian, European, Europid, Western, Occidental, indigenous, native, and majority. Such populations are heterogeneous, the labels nonspecific, and the comparisons misleading. Terminology that reflects the research purpose-for examples, reference, control, or comparison–is better (unlike White, these terms imply no norm, allowing neither writers nor readers to make stereotyped assumptions about the comparison populations. This paper widens the debate on nomenclature for racial and ethnic groups. Many issues need exploration, including whether there is a shared understanding among the international research community of the terms discussed.
I’m finding this intresting for two reasons. One is that it makes me aware of how ‘white’ is not subject to the same kind of scrutiny as other terms for race / ethnicity. It’s a kind of cultural blindness that ‘white’ people (inverted commas used, because apparantly people from the middle-east are classified as white by the US cencus……. bonkers……) themselves endorse. We don’t *have* to examine our roots, where we come from, what we look like, how other people refer to us, you know? We’re just white! Easy.
Lay ay ay zee.
I also find it intresting because it proves how the concept of a ‘white race’, which is problematic for several reasons including the obvious use by neo-nazi types, is bullshit. I wonder if exploding that would provide tools for ‘white’ people to actually engage in conversations about racial and ethnic priveldge without coming across as idiots. After all, if you’re applying a narrow homogenaic term to your own broad and hetrogenous race, if you’re fuzzy on where *you* stand, then how can you expect to begin to engage in discussion about other races or ethnicities without offending other people and then getting, rightly or wrongly, burned yourself?
There are problems of poverty and excess disease in subgroups of the White population, which cannot be unearthed and tackled by using the label White. For example, the Irish-born and Scottish-born residents of England and Wales have recently been shown to have the highest standardized mortality ratios in England and Wales, higher than those of racial and ethnic minorities born in countries of the Caribbean and South Asia. Clearly, there are subgroups within the White community with special needs. The argument that the focus of race and ethnicity statistics should be on those with adverse health outcomes is a sound one. Clearly, it is not only ethnic groups of color who are in this position.
It also shows that I fucked up with my use of the term ‘caucasian’ in my previous post. Oh well.