Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ethnic affinity

The essence of ethnic affinity:

“We have never met before, but I instantly know him. One look, one phrase, and I know where he grew up, how he grew up, where he got his drive and his sense of humor. He is New York. He is Jewish. He looks like my uncle Louis, his voice is my uncle Sam. I feel we’ve been together at countless weddings, bar mitzvahs, and funerals. I know his genetic structure. I’m certain that within the last five hundred years—perhaps even more recently—we shared the same ancestor.”

--- Robert Reich, Clinton administration Secretary of Labor, on his first face-to-face meeting with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan

I chose this quote, not to focus on Jews in particular, but because Reich writes so well and truly. It would be the same for me and another Asian-American, or two white guys meeting in Cairo, or for me and another American (of any color) meeting in some foreign country. Reich is obviously quite self-aware, but the same effect is there even if entirely subconscious.

17 comments:

anon said...

By saying 'asian-american' rather than asian, aren't you saying that it's not ethnic affinity but cultural affinity that simply happens to map onto ethnicities?

Steve Hsu said...

You are correct -- part of it is shared cultural experience, part of it is sheer physical resemblance (e.g., the guy looks like my cousin Fred).

anon said...

"or two white guys meeting in Cairo, or for me and another American (of any color) meeting in some foreign country"

Speak for yourself Sarah Palin Hsu.

My world view and opinion of Americans is much closer to most Egyptians' than to Americans'.

You aren't following your "Be a scientist" BS.

Dave Backus said...

Interesting thought. Reich's comment includes both ethnicity and cultural background. Which is more important? I recall a story about Brazilians of Japanese decent immigrating to Japan, but never managed to integrate into Japanese society. I find it easy to relate to Steelers' fans. Which is it? Has anyone done any serious work on this that goes beyond the anecdotal?

anon said...

It is interesting how Steve uses "Asian-American" to mean Mongoloid.

He doesn't mean Indian or Middle Eastern.

He certainly doesn't mean Turkish. Asia was an ancient part of Turkey or Asia Minor.

Yet more proof that Steve is an idiot.

rollman said...

Two earthlings meeting on the moon feel instant rapport; passing each other in a shopping mall they are complete strangers, no matter how much alike they appear.

The real test of accurately reading affinities occurs when any woman meets any man, anywhere.

Altyn said...

Dave Backus:

I recall a story about Brazilians of Japanese decent immigrating to Japan, but never managed to integrate into Japanese society.

Often glossed over in the popular press but important to consider is the fact that a substantial portion of "Japanese Brazilians" (by now, the majority of the youngest generation) have non-Japanese ancestry. The same, I would expect, holds true of the subset who chose to "return to the homeland" (to a homeland?) and probably cements their perception as aliens.

M said...

*** anon said...
It is interesting how Steve uses "Asian-American" to mean Mongoloid.

He doesn't mean Indian or Middle Eastern.

He certainly doesn't mean Turkish. Asia was an ancient part of Turkey or Asia Minor.

Yet more proof that Steve is an idiot.***

Anon, posts like this do not reflect well on you. You realise this right?

Dave Backus,

***Reich's comment includes both ethnicity and cultural background. Which is more important?***

Ultimately I think cultural background.

anon said...

Who's doing the reflecting M? You?

I'll repeat what I said.

Steve is an idiot.

Anyone who uses the term "Asian-American" is an idiot.

M, you are an idiot.

M said...

"Anyone who uses the term "Asian-American" is an idiot."

What's wrong with using it in the context of this discussion about Reich's quotation? What do you find so objectionable about it?

It seems Reich is recognising J Philippe Rushton's theory of genetic similarity? Wasn't this an issue for Obama - he was raised in a white household, but clearly he felt affinity to those who looked like him?

Obviously, in an ideal world this wouldn't be the case.

Sam said...

This ethnic affinity is one of the reasons Israel gets more foreign aid from America than any other country, in addition to the religious beliefs of most Americans which is a contributing factor.

anon said...

"Asian-American" is a term like "African-American". It was invented to replace the supposedly pejorized "oriental" which itself replaced "yellow" or "Mongoloid" both of which were more accurate descriptions and both of which have fewer syllables.

Someone who uses either term does so either thinking previous terms should offend or that they offend some even though they shouldn't and that the new term should be used to play along.

Those who play along are idiots and cowards.

The "-American" has no significance. Touring Europe seeing fat,loud, blowsy Americans what the f do I have in common with these people?

The whole post could only have come from someone who does not think, who cannot think, someone who calls the f-ing NYTs "The Times" for f-s sake.

M said...

***Those who play along are idiots and cowards.***

Right, but who wants the hassle of offending people when it can be avoided?

***The "-American" has no significance. Touring Europe seeing fat,loud, blowsy Americans what the f do I have in common with these people?***

Well, it depends which Americans you bump into (which I guess is your point - they're not homogenous). I'm a Kiwi, but when touring overseas I tend to find I have a lot in common with Australians.

planetgrok said...

What Sam said. And this ethnic affinity is also a strong case for limiting the number of high-performing minorities at our elite universities, Steve's own pet peeve.

Like Steve Sailer has said, if half of the high IQ government officials had names like Gupta, Prishkan, Jain, and Patel, and these same officials decided to start sending billions of dollars to India and make plans to invade Pakistan - don't you think the public would bat an eye?

Well now replace those names with Bernstein, Bernanke, Emanuel, Steinberg, etc, and what do we see?

anon said...

Good on ya planetgrok.

The Jews have managed to blind most people in the US to their absurd overrepresentation in govt, academia, the Frobes 400, media, etc.

As Hoess predicted, the Holocaust has helped them get closer to their goal.

planetgrok said...

No, I'm not going to veer off into Jewspiracy land, anon. I'm just saying that what may appear to be just the prejudiced, unfair practices of our ancestors can be looked at under a different light when you consider that different ethnic groups 1) have different IQ's and 2) tend to act in their own interest.

anon said...

I don't believe in conspiracy theories. Those who do lack subtlety. Those who accuse others of such beliefs lack subtlety too.

Ethic affinity and ethnocentrism has the same effect as conspiracy.

The Nazis, including Hoess, understood this yet today are compared to Art Bell conspiracy theory morons. The comparison is most often made by those who benefit most from the comparison.

Nazis didn't hate Jews because they were engaged in a grand criminal conspiracy. The Holocaust wasn't a punishment for crimes. The men who carried out the exterminations hated their jobs and understood that they were killing innocent people. But they thought it was the right thing to do anyway.

Steve denies he is a Chinese supremacist or racist, but no one who wasn't would have his interests.

Your comment on IQ differences in ethnic groups again shows your lack of subtlety.

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