There are differences between races. Maybe some ARE better lovers, for whatever reason. Maybe one nationality DOES have a lower average intelligence. If that's the case, that's how it is. The problem, my frustration specifically, arises from people assuming that all races and ethnic genetic lines are on an even keel, both physically AND otherwise.
I think this is a dangerous thing to say without further nuance and I think you're beginning to mix your terms.
Nationality is not the same as race is not the same as ancestry/descent. I am of the Caucasian race of English/Scottish/German descent, but I am American by nationality. Of course certain nationalities can have lower average intelligence rates due to factors such as emphasis on proper education in that nation, but speaks nothing to any race's 'advantage' over another.
Thusfar, I'm not even sure that there has
been any proof that states certain races have a greater capacity for intelligence or the like over another (if I'm wrong about this, do provide me with some research and I'll happily retract this) -- most things that seem racial end up being more socio-economic than anything, and is reflective of the society at large rather than any flaw in someone's race. Even the generalized difference of physical qualities are marginal, at best, and unreliable to boot; Inuits tend to be shorter and stockier, on average, due to a heritage dwelling in colder climates where heat and energy reserves must be conserved, and northern Europeans tend to be taller and more fair-skinned, et cetera., but I think those things are greatly overplayed, especially as people have more and more mixed descent and due to the fact that physical variations occur even within
races, which makes the whole point of generalization pretty moot. There are short Dutch people, weak and slow African people, and dark-skinned Northern Europeans (black Irish, anyone?)
Some ethnic genetic lines are smart, some are creative, some are master athletes, some are great laborers, some have larger builds, some are all of these, some none, and all of them mixed and matched. The differences are small, are inconsequential overall due to the extreme natural variety of human individuals, but they are there, and they shouldn't be condemned.
Err, could you perhaps provide some research on this claim? Intelligence is largely (if not completely) a product of the way a person was raised, their own natural curiosity, and environmental influences that do or don't predispose them to a quality education. The idea that one race is inherently smarter than another is a pretty antiquated idea that dates way back even before the Civil Rights era, and in fact, was heavily touted by white supremacists (even to this day) as a justification to treat minorities like crap. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's what you're doing here (especially because your next paragraph is well-meaning), and I may have you all wrong on this, but I have seen absolutely no evidence to suggest that any race is more inclined than others to become laborers or geniuses or fast runners or artists. For example, suggesting that more Hispanics were meant to be laborers because you see them working hard labor jobs is not a racial difference -- It largely stems from where they stand in society right now; mostly poor, low-class people, often immigrants, who are not educated and need a job to feed their family, not to mention deeply-embedded racial prejudices against them as being dirty foreigners who can't speak our language and accusations of being illegal. Boom
HOWEVER, here-in lies the dilemma and misunderstanding: it's easy to assume that "Oh, they have better runners on average than us, thus they are superior to us." That's not the case, and I think believing that to be true to be ignorant of the big picture. Overall, no one ethnicity is greater or overall "better" than any other (to think that, along with believing that all individuals of one race are equally represented by stereotypes or even RL trends, is my definition of racist imho), but it would be silly to ignore their differences, their strengths and weaknesses, their contributions both great and small. We may not need celebrate or even acknowledge that these differences even exist, but I think we (we being the cultural zeitgeist, for lack of a better term) should treat them as good things, not racist undercurrents, when they do present themselves.
I think you're very well-meaning here, I really do. Your underlying message is a good one, that we should all treat each other with respect and dignity, but I really do think you're overplaying these so-called "differences". I think it would be wise to do more research into the idea of genetic superiority regarding race and things like creativity or intelligence.
Beyond basic survival things that I would argue are no longer terribly relevant (darker skin means no sun-blindness/terrible sunburns in places closer to the equator, fair-skinned people surviving for thousands of years in colder climates, blah blah...We have sunglasses and coats now, thank you very much), there really isn't much difference between the races at all -- at least none that are politically worth mentioning.
Your comment on native African is true; that could be taken extremely offensively. My point, though, is people need to stop being so self-entitled and think for just a moment I was referring to something else and not negatively claiming that all Africans have broad noses. I know, I know, that's what I literally SAID, thus it should not be poor conduct to take it literally, but all I ask is that the offended person think a little bit. Did I say it with intent to harm? Not at all. In fact, when I used that example, I was narrow-mindedly thinking of only native African tribes in the sense of the Zulu and so forth, not literally ALL native Africans; my mistake. I didn't realize the "harm" it could have if taken the wrong way. Once you pointed it out though, I was quick to re-affirm that I meant no offense.
Again, I think you're well-meaning here. I think you've got a good attitude in regards to listening to others when they point out to you why what you've said may not be appropriate, but I still think there are a few misplaced opinions here.
You're right that sometimes pointing out someone's race/heritage is nothing more than observation; pointing out that someone has brown eyes and that it's common for, say, people of African descent to have brown eyes isn't making any kind of statement as to whether or not it's a good or bad thing. It just is. I don't think there's anything harmful about that necessarily. Asking if someone with red hair is Irish isn't speaking to any kind of superior or inferior quality of red hair, it just is.
I can't really speak to a person's touchiness when it comes to talking about race, especially in that context, but I am inclined to agree that sometimes people can be quick to misinterpret you or come to the wrong conclusion and the best thing to do is stay calm, apologize, and ensure them you meant no harm. It is frustrating to make an apparent gaffe and not know why, but I think most people appreciate when you express interest in understanding why what you said offended them so you can learn from it and move on. Anyone who still acts like a dick probably isn't worth your time anyway.
I guess what my point boils down to is this: people need thicker skins and slower minds. THINK before you cry racist. "Has he ever made a racist comment before, or been mean to me in the past, or even come across as ill-tempered and irrational? No? Then he probably just had an internal syntax error, so I should get off my high horse and stop taking offense whenever I read too far into things."
Aughh, I'm so torn on this. I've been doing a lot of reading into the subject of privilege lately and am still having trouble formulating an opinion on it. I just have to warn you that a lot
of people will tear you apart for saying something like that. Many people want to be taken at their word that if they it's racist/sexist/whatever, then it must be -- I've run into this before when trying to discuss and learn more about racism and have been thoroughly ripped a new asshole many times, so it's a subject you have to tread lightly on. I will tentatively say that I think you're right; both parties needs to stop, slow down, and think very carefully about the situation from as clear of a viewpoint as they can and try not to blow off the handle about it. If all else fails, ask someone to clarify their intent. Obviously saying "LOL WHAT UP GOOK" is more blatantly offensive than someone who means well pointing out some kind of difference.
tl;dr - Racism is tricky, I'm still not sure how and to what extent using privilege works/is a valid excuse to stop someone from being skeptical of your claims, and I hope that this doesn't turn into a flamewar :(