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I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Some things really are social constructs.

Like race. Really.
Between different races, there are some very small genetic differences. Like skin color, hair color, hair texture, eye colors, sometimes average heights, that tendency for sickle-cell anemia to be way more common in groups from areas where malaria is prevalent. That much is genetics.
What we do with it? Not so much.
None of the tiny genetic differences we've found explain race dynamics. How would darker or lighter skin make you inherently smarter or stronger or better educated or anything besides better adapted to an area that gets more or less sun when sun is the way you get Vitamin D? Simple: It doesn't.
Since race dynamics are clearly not based in science, it's time to look elsewhere.
The idea that it is a social/economic/political thing holds up.
Europeans (white people) went to other areas, like Africa, and for religious reasons, felt that they were superior and needed to civilize the people there. That would be social. They came to the conclusion that having a different religion and a different way of life made people inherently less. That would also be social. They came up with systems which were highly oppressive under the guise of civilizing/helping these "savages," but which mostly seemed like a way to exploit these people. That would be economics saying it's good for them, politics and social systems backing it up. They deprived people of education and then turned around and called them too stupid to learn. That's social and political there. They made sure people were too poor to go to school. That's social and economic. Bit by bit- each thing is social, economic, political, or a combination.
So yes, the race dynamics of today are a social construct. That doesn't make the effects any less real. Oppressions are nearly always social constructs, and they're ALL REAL. Calling it a social construct is not the same as saying it doesn't exist. It's the same as saying "There is no scientific reason that it needs to be this way," so far as I can tell. And maybe it's a hint that it SHOULDN'T be that way.

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