Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Acting White: NPR News & Notes II

NPR’s News and Notes invited me to appear on their bloggers roundtable for the second time this past week. The link to the show is here. We discussed track Olympian Marion Jones and her troubles with the authorities related to her admission to the use of performance enhancing drugs. We also talked about the issues around using the term Hispanic versus Latino to described people of recent Central and South American origin. There was also a topic we did not get to, wherein a poll revealed that white kids are significantly happier than minority kids in their young lives.

Like my earlier blog, I came out recognizing that prohibiting drugs that authorities do not know exist is nonsensical. Going further, there are some who believe that inasmuch as the competitive arenas encourage athletes to place their bodies under extraordinary stress, they should not be denied enhancement. This is analogous to taking caffeine when your boss requests a double-shift.

The Hispanic versus Latino debate is more complex. Both terms are of European origin and preference is really dependent on age, socio-economic status, country of origin, and current locale. The reality is that the central and southern Americas were populated by people from around the globe who then intermixed, and there is no practical one-size-fits-all name that works. Oh well.

The topic we missed was, perhaps, the most interesting in that the very nature of a happiness disparity invites conclusions of wrongdoing, but I remain skeptical. Curiously the happiness disparity lines up with high school graduation disparities, test disparities, skills disparities, wage disparities, and health and longevity disparities. Sure, racism is a factor, but my research consistently reveals other factors as driving these disparities, largely pertaining to behaviors reaching back thousands of years to individual and group locations of ethnic origin (LEO). But this is a topic for a book.

James C. Collier


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Jazzylady said...

You might try asking those of the ethnic group what they'd like to be called. That might help.

James C. Collier said...

Jazzylady: On the show, I stated that I listen and follow the person's lead. Sometimes you can ask without it becoming a distraction.