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Old 11 August 2017, 04:45 AM
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Icon07 The Ancient Mediterranean Was Diverse. Why Do Some Get So Upset When We Talk About It

The Ancient Mediterranean Was Diverse. Why Do Some People Get So Upset When We Talk About It?

https://rfkclassics.blogspot.jp/2017...verse.html?m=1

At this point, anyone who reads about things classical on the internet knows of the dust up over the BBC video on Roman Britain and its inclusion of a Roman soldier of African origin. If you need a quick refresher, you can check out a short article at Indy 100 (from the Independent) and another at The Atlantic. Then you can appraise yourself of the subsequent internet abuse heaped on historian Mary Beard when she involved herself in the discussion.
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Old 11 August 2017, 12:37 PM
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Yes, it's a really stupid argument, especially as one of the sources for the BBC video in question (and evidence for the diversity of the Roman military) was an actual contemporary Roman anecdote about an actual dark-skinned soldier on Hadrian's Wall. By the logic of some of the objectors, the Romans must have made that story up because they were trying to conform to early-21st century standards of "politically correct" propaganda...
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Old 11 August 2017, 03:08 PM
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And a century ago, most of the people who are throwing a fit about this wouldn't even have accepted Italians as being "white."
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Old 11 August 2017, 10:22 PM
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One of the arguments that really irks me is "where did those genes go". This is why I'm basically opposed to the whole 23-and-me type genetics tests. They make this completely unfounded claims of "x % African" or whatever. These percentages are based not on sound evidence of migration patterns or anything historical but on genetic groups as they are now. As such they ignore the fact that the vast majority of all gene groups are spread throughout the world and it's only a few specific sets of genes that may have ended up isolated. The reason for that possible isolation can be anything. There's not enough information to know with any kind of accuracy that it means a person with a certain amount of those genes has a certain amount of that group's genetic material in total.

But by pretending to know, companies like 23 and Me give people a false (sense of) knowledge about their own genetics, one that the science does not merit (and, IMO, there's no reason to do either unless there's some specific question to be answered such as Are You My Mother? etc). This has contributed to this burgoening alt-rightish neo-racism — despite the fact that even these bogus genetic tests do actually assign some "Sub-Saharan African" genes to people from the British Isles. Yet any tiny amount of knowledge no matter how wrong or even contradictory is enough to confirm peoples' biases.

The Atlantic article talks about this issue but not much about the role of the misleading results of these genetic horoscopes.
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Old 11 August 2017, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
This is why I'm basically opposed to the whole 23-and-me type genetics tests. They make this completely unfounded claims of "x % African" or whatever. These percentages are based not on sound evidence of migration patterns or anything historical but on genetic groups as they are now.
Thank you. I've tried to make this point several times when my wife tries to figure out which one of her ancestors comes from Greece because she has a significant portion of "Greek" DNA.
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Old 11 August 2017, 11:03 PM
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Well, it was my own family members dabbling in it that made me wonder about the science behind those numbers, which pretty much evaporates with the slightest investigation. Even though they seem to take it all with a grain of salt, just for fun and maybe finding some lost cousins, etc, and they tend to be very scientifically literate, I still think they came away with the impression that those claims had some significance. I just feel like science can't win at all if the scientists themselves are so eagerly producing nonsense of a high enough quality that it fools even scientifically literate people. It's way way worse than bad papers being published in Science or Nature.
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Old 12 August 2017, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Yes, it's a really stupid argument, especially as one of the sources for the BBC video in question (and evidence for the diversity of the Roman military) was an actual contemporary Roman anecdote about an actual dark-skinned soldier on Hadrian's Wall. By the logic of some of the objectors, the Romans must have made that story up because they were trying to conform to early-21st century standards of "politically correct" propaganda...
And it's not like the African continent isn't located anywhere near the Med sea, nor is the continent surrounded by a massive wall that only came down when White People wanted to come through. And for the love of whatever, is it so hard to believe that Black people may have been capable of, y'know, building a boat and sailing it. Ever hear of the Phoenicians? They were spread across North Africa and were well-known for their ship-building and navigating skills. It's believed that they may have sailed as far south down the African cost to the Gulf of Guinea. Why would it be so hard to believe that they might have sailed to Rome and, y'know, other parts of Europe?
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Old 12 August 2017, 01:50 AM
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I assume a lot of it comes from pop culture osmosis. Pop culture depictions (themselves informed by historical accounts filtered through racist mindsets) of various eras of the past depicted it as all white for ages, and that's stuck in people's heads as being "true" and anything else is "political correctness."
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Old 12 August 2017, 07:17 AM
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And it's not like the African continent isn't located anywhere near the Med sea, nor is the continent surrounded by a massive wall that only came down when White People wanted to come through.
I have a map of the world on my wall above my computer and Italy is very close to the African continent. Even if the map is not to scale (It is a bit no traditional in that it doesn't go from international date line in the mid pacific but divides in the Atlantic to put Australia more in the centre.*)


But you must understand, something isn't discovered until a white man does it. And by white man I mean a man of northern European descendent.


*Not my first choice but I was looking for a world map for my wall, it was what I found after checking out a few shops and I didn't want to spend a lot of time looking for one. It does give you a different view of the world though.
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Old 12 August 2017, 03:04 PM
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This is an interesting article about people of colour in Tudor England.
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Old 12 August 2017, 04:15 PM
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That is an excellent article, queen of the caramels. Thank you for the link.
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Old 12 August 2017, 04:39 PM
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Yes thank you for this article. I argue for this all the time. I've loved watching "Will" because of the diverse crowd scenes (I'm way behind though.)
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Old 14 August 2017, 12:51 AM
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To further contribute to the discussion, Medieval PoC has a whole tumblr devoted to shattering the myth of a lily-white (at least until slavery somehow became thing) history.
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Old 14 August 2017, 01:51 AM
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Thank you Mouse.
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Old 14 August 2017, 02:02 AM
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Yeah, that's pretty cool. I'm going to have to remember to set aside some time to archive binge that.
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