Gene Expression

Race as a function of name

i-6917d0ad218e7e3990f49809acdef339-mrname.jpgDienekes has a interesting, if not surprising, post on how names can mold how we perceive people. I’ve posted on this before. The most extreme illustration of this tendency I’ve ever read is the fact that during segregation some southern hotels allowed international travelers from African countries with obvious black ancestry to check-in. I believe it is important to study and properly define the nature of the social construction of ethnic and racial identity, because it is just as important as the biological reality of race and ethnicity.

i-4de157bcf8239150fb986bef9f437a2b-blackwhite.jpgOf these two members of congress, one is a member of the congressional black caucus, while the other was rejected from membership because he wasn’t black (though he does represent a black majority district).


  1. #1 bioIgnoramus
    October 29, 2008

    Do you remember that experiment at school where you settle one tiny drop of oil on the surface of a basin of water, let it spread, and then deduce the size of a molecule? Why am I reminded of that?

  2. #2 quidnunc
    October 29, 2008

    I’ve been told many times that I look like my “father” when I offer the incidental association that my step-father is “dad”. I’m a foot taller than him, have a different body type, face, really the only fixed similarity is that we don’t look drastically different as in a completely different race or whatever, and unfixed similarities like we both wear glasses and have our hair parted in the middle. Some facts seem to prime the pattern generation for a strong confirmation bias.

  3. #3 Steve Sailer
    October 30, 2008

    When a new baby is born, the mother’s relatives immediately start assuring their in-law, the husband, how much the child looks like him.

    Happens every time.

  4. #4 Steve Sailer
    October 30, 2008

    Before looking at the names under the two pictures of the young fellow, I figured he was Filipino, with some Spanish as well as indigenous ancestors.

  5. #5 Steve Sailer
    October 30, 2008

    That is pretty funny about Congressman Butterfield belonging to the Black Caucus.

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