Ethnicity, Race, and Nationalism

Nationalism as a Function of Race, Place, Lines, Ethni Genetics, and Colonialism

The first reading, the AAA statement on race, defines race as a convenient way in which past individuals and governments have attempted to ascribed meaning to certain groups – however scientific evidence has proven these measurements to be faulty at best and flat out wrong at worst. Genetics instead is what accounts for variability with up to 94% of all variability being exhibited within the race itself as opposed to outside of it (AAA, 1998). Therefore the crux of the matter as put forward by the authors is that it is foolish and inference cannot be properly drawn from the examination of data that relies on such erroneous preconceived notions regarding a simplistic view of the race.
The Census, the Map, and the Museum offers the reader a reflection of what the colonizers thought to be of import in the new realms they acquired. As such, these colonial interpretations of importance, definition, and terminology continue to affect our interpretation of the world as it exists today (Anderson, 1991). Take as an example the long-lived nature of the nation of Rhodesia, although the state was unrecognized by the national community for a number of years, it operated as an independent African country; still dependent on the colonizer’s definition of race and “otherness” to provide its identity. Only recently has Rhodesia ceased to exist as a nation; now going by the name Zimbabwe. In this way, the very true effects of how the colonizers had left a profound impact on the understanding of nation ship, and national lines of demarcation can be clearly and adequately seen.

With regards to the piece that centers around defining nationalism, the piece found that nationalism is a host of things; however, the most important definition concerning nationalism inferred from the reading is what nationalism defines as “other” and how those generalizations are made. With respect to what defines the “other”, this is perhaps the most important question that is raised as it not only helps to define what the nationalism stands for but what it is inherently against. Unfortunately, it is through this exclusionary type of nationalism that racist regimes such as the Third Reich are able to spring into existence.

All of these readings tie into the central idea that humankind desires to conveniently classify even complex issues of race, ethnicity and national boundaries into easily digestible facts and figures. However, this fact is not specifically related. Only a thorough and thoughtful reading of these pieces leads to the unspoken realization that what was not discussed in enough length is the fact that humans have an inborn desire to classify, categorize, and simplify complex situations in conveniently understood figures and statistics. This practice has resulted in countless wars, famines, and unlawful division of lands due to the simple fact that the practitioners who have re-written the maps or determined what group belongs on what side of the border based on a biased set of information

Works Cited
AAA statement on race. (1998). American Anthropologist, 100(3), 713.
Anderson, B. “Census, Map, Museum,” pp. 163-185 in Imagined Communities New York: Routledge 1991

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