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Do you look like your race?
June 8, 2005 9:36 PM   Subscribe

Face Analyzer Just upload a picture of your face and get feedback on what ethnicity you most resemble and a physiognomatic breakdown of your personality.
posted by BuddhaInABucket (73 comments total)

 
No way!! Then they can find me.
posted by Balisong at 9:38 PM on June 8, 2005


I uploaded a few pictures I had on hand, and got some interesting results. The first picture listed me as 72% southern european, which is false, but which I get mistaken for probably 72% of the time. Another listed me as 95% eastern european, which is just wrong. But then I actually followed the instructions, took a dead-on picture of myself without smiling or showing any expressions, and received confirmation that I am, indeed, middle eastern.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:40 PM on June 8, 2005


The first thing I did was find out which female face ranks as the most promiscuous; according to the celebmatch feature, Jennifer Garner's a slut!
posted by Paddle to Sea at 9:44 PM on June 8, 2005


I like how they brag their software can determine gender 87% of the time - it's teh genius.
I wonder how well it would do on All Look Same?
posted by birdsquared at 10:02 PM on June 8, 2005


the celebmatch just kills me!
posted by troybob at 10:03 PM on June 8, 2005


Just what I was going to say, birdsquared.

They also say their technology is based on evolutionary psychology, which makes me weep for a well-intenioned science.
posted by mowglisambo at 10:05 PM on June 8, 2005


...the Race Analysis describes the racial features that are inherent in that face. Generally, people of a particular race will have racial features from many races.

that statement, like the idea behind this website, is so confused. this qualification makes the problem with evolutionary psychology obvious -- "racial" characteristics don't break down neatly along "race" lines because there is nothing biologically "inherent" about them.
posted by katherine at 10:05 PM on June 8, 2005


Boy, my straightforward picture completely ate the race analysis up. It scored me as 97% Middle Eastern, when I'm nothing but European mutt. Maybe beards throw it off?
posted by droob at 10:12 PM on June 8, 2005


I like how they brag their software can determine gender 87% of the time - it's teh genius.

Well, its not good enough! Fuckers...
posted by c13 at 10:22 PM on June 8, 2005


Out of curiosity, I uploaded a series of ten black and ten asian faces taken from stock photos.

The lowest asian score in ambition was higher than the highest black score, and only two black intelligence scores topped the lowest asian.

Yyyyyyeah.
posted by Simon! at 10:22 PM on June 8, 2005


katherine wrote: "racial" characteristics don't break down neatly along "race" lines because there is nothing biologically "inherent" about them.

Um, the algorithm is only trying to do something we already do with our eyes. Or aren't you able to spot an African from a European by sight?

Designing a program that uses facial features to make accurate guesses about a person's race or sex in principle is a sane (if perhaps nuanced and complex) goal to set, since we already know it can be done (in fact, the face is almost exclusively the cue we use to answer these questions about people we meet on a day-to-day basis). The personality characteristics goal, however, is suspect because there's not much evidence the face even contains that information to be analyzed (especially for the traits they list-- promiscuity reads in a face? what what?).
posted by mowglisambo at 10:30 PM on June 8, 2005


"racial" characteristics don't break down neatly along "race" lines because there is nothing biologically "inherent" about them.

Apologies if I'm not understanding something fundamental about what you're trying to say, but do you mean to contend that there is no genetic basis for race? As in it's just coincidence that people from Europe has different features and skin colors than people from Africa, than people from Asia, than Native Americans?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:34 PM on June 8, 2005


by submitting your photograph and/or any personal information, you thereby waive any privacy expectations you have with respect to our use of your likeness or personal information provided to us

piss off.
posted by reflection at 10:45 PM on June 8, 2005


Apologies if I'm not understanding something fundamental about what you're trying to say, but do you mean to contend that there is no genetic basis for race? As in it's just coincidence that people from Europe has different features and skin colors than people from Africa, than people from Asia, than Native Americans?

Yes, it is my understanding from recent news reports and anthropologists that I know. Given a genetic sample, you can't tell me the race.
posted by teece at 11:07 PM on June 8, 2005


teece writes "Given a genetic sample, you can't tell me the race."
Can you cite something? Even so, facial features are the products of genetics. They are biologically inherent. What other paradigm is there to explain geohistorical differences in appearance? Intelligent design perhaps?
posted by peacay at 11:15 PM on June 8, 2005


of course skin color, facial features, etc., are genetic. but the distinct racial categories that this website offers are not genetic facts; there are no pure "races," so of course "people of a particular race will have racial features from many races."

The American Anthropological Association's statement on race makes the point very clearly.

and of course, this website is mostly silly, and does what we all have been trained to do unconsciously. but as racial categorization is so problematic, I think anything that tries to reify such arbitrary stereotypes (as Simon!'s comment shows) is worth comment.

On preview: here is a citation, peacay. and anthropology is pretty much the opposite of intelligent design.
posted by katherine at 11:22 PM on June 8, 2005


Indeed. 'Race' is a charged term of course. Our differences are slight and are being diluted by travel and mating outside of previously closed gene pools. I wonder what a sampling of humans in say 1000 years will look like?
posted by peacay at 11:36 PM on June 8, 2005


Given a genetic sample, you can't tell me the race.

That may or may not be true (a quick google turns up conflicting results), but an inability to tell race from DNA does not mean that race and DNA aren't related. It seems reasonably agreed-upon that "racial characteristics" (skintone, facial structure, bone structure, etc) are a small part of our DNA, but they are still encoded in DNA.

"Race" may be primarily a social construct, but it does have a basis in biology. Your original point was that there is nothing inherent in biology that leads to race. That's not quite accurate. My skin color, facial structure, hair color, eye color, etc are all coded by my DNA and all make up racial identifying features. As peacay points out in 1000 years we'll all be cafe-au-lait and describe our ethnicity like Tiger, but in the meantime there are noticable differences rooted in biology.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:50 PM on June 8, 2005


peacay, I'm sorry I glossed over thedevildancedlightly's comment about coincidence.

Of course the things that make one "race" look different from another are genetic. But the number of genes that control the outwardly visible cues that people use to decide a person's race make up about 0.01% of the total genetic information in any given person. Of the genetic variation that one finds among people, somewhere around 6% of it varies by race, but 94% varies by individual. Further, the variation does not neatly line up into easy categories to tag someone as a member of a given race.

Hence the statement by biologists and anthropologists that race is a social construct, not a genetic one.

What this web site does with regards to determining race keeps within the common usage of what people mean by race. But what an anthropologist would call it is phenotype.

I don't have a cite, as I don't study this stuff. But I have heard this often enough, many of those times by a PhD whom I trust, that I know I am not generally wrong. A Google search on race and genetics or phenotype yields lots of cool stuff to read.

The bottom line is that the human species is too young to have sub-species. We're all the human race.

I would have liked to believe that the linked web site was doing something interesting in determining phenotype, but the crap they include about personality makes me think the whole thing is complete junk.

It's still a little bit fun, though.
posted by teece at 11:56 PM on June 8, 2005


Did anyone else get a message saying "no archetype found"? I find it hard to believe that I don't have any characteristics of any known races.
posted by cali at 12:07 AM on June 9, 2005


thedevildancedlightly wrote Your original point was that there is nothing inherent in biology that leads to race.

Nope, that's not my point, I just missed what you said about no biological basis.

Race is not a useful taxonomy, as it is subjective and pretty slipshod and rather fungible. Thus, there isn't any rock-solid, scientific way of saying a person is comprised of such-and-such racial components. Race (phenotype), is a subjective human construct. You can't run any test to say conclusively that a person is of a given race. You can only ask people's opinions.

Race is like genre in music or art. Many people may agree upon the genre of a lot of music or art, but there is no way to conclusively say something is of the Reggae-Punk genre, or even if such a genre exists. It's all fungible.

How much African heritage do you need to be black in America? The answer is, it depends entirely upon whom you ask. A geneticist would be of no use to you in helping to answer that question.
posted by teece at 12:09 AM on June 9, 2005


thedevildancedlightly wrote:
As peacay points out in 1000 years we'll all be cafe-au-lait and describe our ethnicity like Tiger, but in the meantime there are noticeable differences rooted in biology.

This statement is problematic because it assumes that there were, at some point, pure "races" in the past. Even with geographical boundaries, this has never been the case; people were never entirely separated from each other, but have always intermixed.

there are, of course, many biological differences among people -- and some of these differences are distinguished and set aside as race, while others are noted and largely ignored (like height). The fact that we group people by "racial" characteristics comes from history -- there is nothing in our genetic code that demands that we do it that way, and nothing that compels us to break down the various racial groups in the ways we do. thus, though we may distinguish "race" with biological characteristics, it is not "rooted" in biology, but in history.
posted by katherine at 12:35 AM on June 9, 2005


I uploaded a photo and got back: No archetype found!

So, of course this means I'm super duper unique and NOBODY CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME!!! yay!
posted by Boydrop at 1:12 AM on June 9, 2005


Let's not have the race is a social construct conversation for the umpeenth time; those of you who have your doubts can use the search feature, or maybe take an anthropology class.
posted by mek at 1:43 AM on June 9, 2005


Image hosted by Photobucket.com
posted by nylon at 3:25 AM on June 9, 2005


Let's not have the race is a social construct conversation for the umpeenth time; those of you who have your doubts can use the search feature, or maybe take an anthropology class.

Yes, let's not. The site doesn't pretend to be definitive or authoritative, just that it uses a certain technology based on certain trends to get its results. Take it for what it is, an online quiz, just like any other. Highly entertaining, but results are usually hooey and best applied in comparison to other quiz-takers.

Does anyone seriously think any algorithm can tell how promiscuous or gay you are based on a picture? Or detect race without being confused by angles or lighting? No, but it's fun to see what it thinks! That's all. Fun. Save the grand arguments for something with actual scientific basis.
posted by Lush at 3:36 AM on June 9, 2005


That's all. Fun.

Yeah, well, just so long as everyone realizes that one of the most common ways the unscientific concept of race is kept alive is through 'fun' stuff like this.
posted by mediareport at 5:03 AM on June 9, 2005


p.s. nylon, you made my morning.
posted by mediareport at 5:05 AM on June 9, 2005


nylon, that was awesome.
posted by spazzm at 5:15 AM on June 9, 2005


Yeah, um, it was pretty sure (100%) I'm an Eastern-European boy, but I'm a very Anglo-Saxon girl. It also said my archetype was "Beta Boss", a power-driven risk-taker. If this is what most people are seeing when they look at my face, well, that makes me very sad indeed.
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:59 AM on June 9, 2005


Actually the Celebmatch tends to work pretty well, though I was surprised that Ellen Degeneres was given a gay factor of 1.0 on a scale of 10.
posted by haasim at 6:01 AM on June 9, 2005


Is there anyone else besides me who can't access this site?
posted by orange swan at 6:11 AM on June 9, 2005


According to the site I'm a Southern European man. Last time I checked I was an Eastern European woman.

Orange Swan, I can't get in either.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:14 AM on June 9, 2005


Simon! writes "The lowest asian score in ambition was higher than the highest black score, and only two black intelligence scores topped the lowest asian."

Gotta love that. Just fun here, nothing else.
posted by OmieWise at 6:24 AM on June 9, 2005


You can't run any test to say conclusively that a person is of a given race.

The people at AncestryByDna would beg to differ. They offer a test, for those who are curious.

"BioGeographical Ancestry admixture is the heritable component of what we commonly refer to as "race", and AncestryByDNA is a genome-based test for determining your BioGeographical Ancestry admixture percentages. The test is the first of its kind ever developed. It reports proportional European, Western sub-Saharan African (African), East Asian and Native American ancestry. For example, one person may obtain a result of 80% European 20% Native American while another may type as 33% African, 22% Native American and 22% European.

...

Ancestry cannot be determined by any genetics test in a black/white litmus test fashion. Instead, the results are reported as statistical estimates, and are qualified with confidence intervals. From over 6,000 tests so far performed, and extensive mathematical simulation, we know that the test is accurate to from 4-8% and sensitive enough to detect, for many customers, a single (100%) African or European great great grandparent, or a single (100%) Native American or East Asian great grandparent.

posted by beth at 6:27 AM on June 9, 2005


Apologies if I'm not understanding something fundamental about what you're trying to say, but do you mean to contend that there is no genetic basis for race? As in it's just coincidence that people from Europe has different features and skin colors than people from Africa, than people from Asia, than Native Americans?

I was told in an anthropolgy class that there is more genetic variation within a single "race" group than there is between races. Makes sense to me. I mean, race is a social concept, not a biological one. We're all homo sapiens, if there were significant biological differences between races, wouldn't people of different races also belong to different species?
posted by Crushinator at 6:37 AM on June 9, 2005


I was told in an anthropolgy class that there is more genetic variation within a single "race" group than there is between races.

I don't see how this means "race does not exist". I have never seen anyone who believes race exists claim that the difference between races must be greater than the difference among a single race.

I think race exists, it's just a small set of genes that controls what we can see, and what we can't see. Those differences can be ferreted out with DNA tests. Pretending they don't exist doesn't make them go away.
posted by beth at 6:43 AM on June 9, 2005


what we can see, and what we can't see

Oops I phrased this badly. I mean a few traits we can see, and a few traits we can't see. Clearly it doesn't control everything. My bad.
posted by beth at 6:44 AM on June 9, 2005


Two nearly identical photos, taken seconds apart, give the following results:

The one where I have a slight smile shows me as an intelligent, risk-taking East Indian / Anglo Saxon Alpha Charmer who makes $50-100K / yr.

The deer-in-headlights one makes me out to be a risk-averse, average intelligence, 74% Eastern European, White Collar drone who "operates best when there is a set power structure," and doesn't like my job "but does it without complaining."

But seriously, the 2 photos are nearly indistinguishable. I can post them if people are curious.

BTW - the 74% Eastern European bit in picture 2 is pretty close - I just hope the rest of that analysis isn't right.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:46 AM on June 9, 2005


Quoting from the AAA statement on race:

...physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them. Today scholars in many fields argue that "race" as it is understood in the United States of America was a social mechanism invented during the 18th century to refer to those populations brought together in colonial America: the English and other European settlers, the conquered Indian peoples, and those peoples of Africa brought in to provide slave labor.
posted by sciurus at 6:48 AM on June 9, 2005


I am so going to be J-Lo's next rebound guy.
posted by sourwookie at 6:50 AM on June 9, 2005


beth: The sole purpose of the site you link to is to sell a home ancestry testing kit. If this is the most reputable source you could find to represent your point of view, I think that says something.

Also, there is a difference between race and ethnicity and I think your site confuses the two.

I don't see how this means "race does not exist". I have never seen anyone who believes race exists claim that the difference between races must be greater than the difference among a single race.

I wouldn't expect them to make this claim because it is subtle and may take a minute to understand. The point is that what we call "race" can't be separated from normal variation among people.

I other words, what teece said.
posted by Crushinator at 6:59 AM on June 9, 2005


Quote from the faq for the site beth links to to prove her point:

The medical significance of BGA estimate is negligible.

BGA="BioGeographical Ancestry" (i.e. some made-up junk)
posted by Crushinator at 7:04 AM on June 9, 2005


The point is that what we call "race" can't be separated from normal variation among people.

This seems to me to deny basic obvious facts. We separate some of those variations every day with our eyes. You can say that they're not *important*, or that they aren't a worthwhile basis for denying anyone's rights or misallocating resources, but why act as though there aren't different groups at all?

Is race so odious a concept that it has to be redefined into nothingness? Is it that toxic? Admitting that it exists doesn't require people to be treated unfairly.
posted by beth at 7:05 AM on June 9, 2005


haha! thom yorke is gay! i always thought he and bill murray should hook up......
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 7:06 AM on June 9, 2005


You can say that they're not *important*, or that they aren't a worthwhile basis for denying anyone's rights or misallocating resources, but why act as though there aren't different groups at all?

Just because race is not biological doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Even if it is an ambiguous social concept, the continuing importance of race should be obvious to anyone and is certainly clear to me. My point is that race is not a biological reality, not that race is unimportant.
posted by Crushinator at 7:12 AM on June 9, 2005


Just because race is not biological doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Let me get this straight. You are claiming that the differences in, say, melanin levels in the skin of someone from European ancestry and someone from African ancestry aren't.... biological?

I can't imagine what on earth else they could be, except for a particularly persistent collective hallucination.
posted by beth at 7:23 AM on June 9, 2005


You can say that they're not *important*, or that they aren't a worthwhile basis for denying anyone's rights or misallocating resources, but why act as though there aren't different groups at all?

You're saying it yourself, beth. We don't just use "what we can see" to determine various races, we *decide* a priori *which* of the characteristics that we can see are important and therefore "racial." Those assumptions of importance are the crucial area of misunderstanding in how the average person understands race. Why don't we use height, as someone mentioned above? Or any number of other observable differences? Instead, we use skin color - a relatively superficial trait based on relatively trivial genetic differences - as the primary foundation of a hugely important social and psychological classification system. It's silly, and certainly not based in science.

No one's denying that observable differences exist; that's stupid. What we're pointing out is that the importance folks place on only certain of them is anything but scientific, and thus the concept of "race" is social rather than biological. It's not hard to understand, once you let go of the need for the concept of race in the first place.

Go ahead. Let go.
posted by mediareport at 7:25 AM on June 9, 2005


melanin levels in the skin of someone from European ancestry and someone from African ancestry

Why are differences in melanin levels important? Why do they determine "race" for you? Why do you need the term "race" in that instance, when it's clear that humans have a broad spectrum of melanin-related differences, and that melanin levels differ at least as much among "white people" as they do between "white people" and "brown people."

These are the questions that poke holes in the need for a category like "race," beth. You don't need it. Melanin level differences are easily discussed - and better understood - without it.
posted by mediareport at 7:28 AM on June 9, 2005


No one's denying that observable differences exist; that's stupid. What we're pointing out is that the importance folks place on only certain of them is anything but scientific, and thus the concept of "race" is social rather than biological.

I wasn't talking about the *importance*. I was just noting that they existed, that they aren't a fabrication of imagination. I'm getting the sense that some people commingle the social *responses* to racial differences with the concept of race itself. They are two very, very separate things in my mind.

melanin levels differ at least as much among "white people" as they do between "white people" and "brown people."

Uhhh..... that seems rather farfetched to me, but I still say your average person whose family has been in Europe for the past ten generations is going to have lighter skin than the average person whose family has been in Africa for the past ten generations.

I still think race is a useful concept, and exists in biological reality. This isn't about "needing" the concept. It's about noting some genetic differences between populations, that's all.
posted by beth at 7:47 AM on June 9, 2005


I still think race is a useful concept, and exists in biological reality. This isn't about "needing" the concept. It's about noting some genetic differences between populations, that's all.

...despite all evidence to the contrary and despite your inability to provide any science to back up what you claim is a biological fact. You hold on to a concept based on nothing more than blind faith very strongly for someone who claims not to need this concept.
posted by Crushinator at 8:10 AM on June 9, 2005


I still think race is a useful concept, and exists in biological reality.

Welp, it's no skin off my nose if you prefer to keep sticking your head in the sand, but most modern biologists disagree with you. Ask yourself, beth, why "race" is not a term biologists bother with when they describe populations in non-human species. Could it be they don't use it because, ahem, it's not a useful scientific concept? What exactly is it about humans that requires the concept "race" when it's not used for other species on the planet? Do our biological differences somehow operate differently from those in other species?

No. They just *mean* differently.

This isn't about "needing" the concept. It's about noting some genetic differences between populations, that's all.

Those of us questioning race note them as well. Where the heck are you finding all these comments that say biological differences among human populations are "a fabrication of imagination?" That's quite a straw woman you've got going there. And since you don't mention *why* you need "race" to understand simple differences in melanin levels, and then go on to enshrine those differences in ridiculously vague categories that biologists themselves do not use, we're left back where we started: For some reason, you really like - and I'm becoming convinced you probably need - the category of race to understand the world.

It serves no scientific purpose, beth. Biologists don't use it because it's a cultural construct. There's really not much more to say than that.
posted by mediareport at 8:15 AM on June 9, 2005


beth wrote: I still think race is a useful concept, and exists in biological reality. This isn't about "needing" the concept. It's about noting some genetic differences between populations, that's all.

except that isn't all, not if you look at the way race has been used throughout history. even a superficial look at history -- at slavery, at the holocaust, at many, many other examples -- shows that whatever abstract "usefulness" race as a category has is far overshadowed by the harm that its use has caused.
posted by katherine at 8:15 AM on June 9, 2005


This seems to me to deny basic obvious facts. We separate some of those variations every day with our eyes. You can say that they're not *important*, or that they aren't a worthwhile basis for denying anyone's rights or misallocating resources, but why act as though there aren't different groups at all?

Think about it this way beth. People used to believe in phlogiston, ether, phrenology, that the earth was flat, and in different races of humans. All of those things were based on non-scientific observations.

If you burn something, it usually weighs less then it did when you started. The Phlogiston is gone! You can see this with your own eyes, and yet, we know phlogiston doesn't exist.

Yes, obviously skin color is based on genetics. But so is breast size, height, hair color, eye color. Why aren't blonds considered a different race then brunettes?

Yes, no one is denying that certain attributes are 'clustered' geographical in some places (and not clustered in others, like the US).

But those original clustering are a coincidence. It's not a coincidence people from Africa have dark skin and curly hair, but it is a coincidence that people in Africa developed both of those traits to begin with.

You can use those phenotypic markers, or even genotypic markers (what they look like, and their DNA) to tell you something about where they came from, but not what "race" they are in. Geography is real "race" is not.
posted by delmoi at 8:37 AM on June 9, 2005


Let me get this straight. You are claiming that the differences in, say, melanin levels in the skin of someone from European ancestry and someone from African ancestry aren't.... biological?

Well, if you consider India to be part of Europe, then yes. But "racialy" people from India are Caucasians. Other then skin color, they share all other phenotypic traits we normally assign to Europeans. That alone should be enough to disprove race, it elevates one single difference (skin color) above all others, yet skin color is no more meaningful a measure then hair color.

If you saw someone who would look European aside from having dark skin, then you could guess they were from India. But that's their location, or their parents location, not their "race"
posted by delmoi at 8:43 AM on June 9, 2005


I have never seen anyone who believes race exists claim that the difference between races must be greater than the difference among a single race.

i have. and historically, this has been what the ppl most interested in treating people a certain way based on race have argued -- that even the "best" member of race x is "lower" than the "worst" member of race y.

average person whose family has been in Europe for the past ten generations is going to have lighter skin than the average person whose family has been in Africa for the past ten generations.

what's an average person? i could probably show you some people in northern africa with families that've been there for 10 generations who have lighter skin than people in: 1) western europe for 10 generations; 2) sub-saharan africa for 10 generations ; and 3) northern africa for 10 generations. what does that prove?

i'm black, and my own skin color has changed since i moved from south florida 14 years ago, to the point where people who've known me all my life have remarked on it. the reason? i don't spend as much time in the sun. so what's my natural skin color and what can we prove with it? i've met people from india with skin darker than mine. i've seen people who can claim only western european ancestry with broader noses. i've known people with only sub-saharan african ancestry with narrower noses than mine.

like others here, i'm not arguing that there's no such thing as race, but put me very solidly in the camp of those who claim there's no (or very little) biological grounding for it. if we were all blind, i highly doubt there'd be such a thing as race.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:48 AM on June 9, 2005



Uhhh..... that seems rather farfetched to me, but I still say your average person whose family has been in Europe for the past ten generations is going to have lighter skin than the average person whose family has been in Africa for the past ten generations.


So if a bunch of white people moved to say, South Africa in the 1700's, all of their decendants would be black now? There are some white south africans who would dissagree with you on that, I think.

I still think race is a useful concept, and exists in biological reality. This isn't about "needing" the concept. It's about noting some genetic differences between populations, that's all.

Well, what is it "useful" for? What utility is there in being able to put people into racial groups?

No one is claming that historically, different places have had diffrent looking people. But those attirbutes change smoothly over geographic location. There are no "walls" there are not "hard catagories" that you can split everyone up into in any kind of meaningfull way.

It's easy to tell the difference between an African and a European, but it's not so easy to tell a European from a middle easterner, or an African from another middle easterner. You could never devise a test that could reliably tell the difference. That is what makes race a non-scientific concept. In order for something to be scientifically real it needs to be 100% measurable. Race is not. That's why Race is not science.
posted by delmoi at 9:01 AM on June 9, 2005


we'd hate eachother based on odor.

Apparently, I'm Al Pacino. I'm also a white collar middle easterner, though. I guess I better get used to long waits at the airport.
posted by jonmc at 9:02 AM on June 9, 2005


beth, I wonder if we're getting stuck on semantics. Of course there is some kind of biological basis for what people mean when they say race, as it's based on outward appearance, which has at least some genetic origin (although it is not purely genetic, as some part of phenotype is environmental).

But it is not a meaningful scientific principle to anthropologists. Some biologists still like the idea, but from what I have read their reasoning is deeply flawed (mainly because they assume race exists to begin with. If they dropped that assumption, they could not neatly create races that align with what people mean by race). It's not scientific because it is arbitrary.

There is no test to run to determine a race (your link is bunk). If you accept race as a wholly valid construct, they you admit that there is such at thing as a blonde race. I am a member of the red-head race, but every year my membership in that race diminishes as my hair is getting less red as I grow old. There is such a thing as the short race and the tall race. If your A-OK with these statements, then we're on the same page. If you're not OK with these statements, you need to re-think your race position.

That is what is meant by race being a social construct. Very few societies create a "brunette race" as it does not form a meaningful group of people to them. They form a "black race" because that does form a meaningful group of people. That's arbitrary.

(Interestingly, I have read that in Brazil, race really means appearance. Brazilians can, and do, identify three sisters from the same family as there different races.)

Which is all just to say that at best, the web-site's claim to determine racial characteristics by face is problematic at best.
posted by teece at 9:29 AM on June 9, 2005


"No archetype found."

I'll help the program out- I'm 100% Northern European. I'm white as white gets. There's really no mistake to be made here. I'm not even a full-fledged mutt! 25% Anglo-Saxon, 25% German, 50% Swedish.

Seems like I would have just shown up as "Anglo-Saxon" though, there's no distinction for us pasty Nordic types.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:26 AM on June 9, 2005


Can't believe nobody did this...Of course, I was tempted to Photoshop the results, but didn't have time.
Bush
posted by spacewrench at 10:33 AM on June 9, 2005



posted by QuestionableSwami at 11:26 AM on June 9, 2005


It's not a coincidence people from Africa have dark skin and curly hair, but it is a coincidence that people in Africa developed both of those traits to begin with.

This doesn't really affect your point, but doesn't skin tone in a human population tend to reflect the brightness and heat of the environment? That's adaptive, not arbitrary.
posted by abcde at 1:52 PM on June 9, 2005


Average intelligence, huh? Thanks a lot, FACEANALYZER.

It says I'm 100% Chinese, that I enjoy physical exercise, that I find academic types boring and uptight, and that I find artist types unrealistic and immature. It's hard to be wronger than that.
posted by willpie at 2:03 PM on June 9, 2005



posted by oats at 4:12 PM on June 9, 2005


It said I am a girl!
posted by ph00dz at 6:09 PM on June 9, 2005


Complete goofiness. I did about four and thet were all different. This one did give me a celeb match with my brother Dubya.
posted by Carbolic at 6:15 PM on June 9, 2005


Three times in a row i was a 100% chinese 'beta-academic' with very low promiscuity.

OMFG, besides the part about being chinese, IT TOTALLY NAILED ME!!! I ain't been nailed that hard since--well, last week, saturday i think it was...mmm, that was gr8.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:32 PM on June 9, 2005


It's funny that beth hasn't answered in a while. I'm aware there are lots of reasons she could be away from the thread for a day (I was until a few minutes ago), but a disappearing act at this point in the discussion is also classic online behavior for someone not able to refute an opponent's clearly difficult arguments, but unwilling to admit she's been misinformed or outright wrong on an issue.

I'll reserve judgment, of course, but hope her disappearance from the thread isn't simply a familiar, tired mechanism to avoid admitting she has something to learn here - a mechanism that allows her to continue to simply restate wrong-headed opinons as if she's never encountered detailed rebuttals of those opinions. That would be a shame (not to mention at odds with what I've heard from others about her Mefi presence). So, to help focus on the assumption beth will return to the thread shortly, I'll ask again for a response to 2 simple questions:

Why is "race" not a term biologists bother with when they describe populations in non-human species? Why is it that humans require the concept "race" when it's not used by biologists for other species on the planet?
posted by mediareport at 7:02 PM on June 9, 2005


Why is "race" not a term biologists bother with when they describe populations in non-human species? Why is it that humans require the concept "race" when it's not used by biologists for other species on the planet?

I don't think those questions are that hard to answer. "race" is simply something we use when talking about humans. For other animals we use "subspecies".

From a scientific standpoint race is not a real thing.
posted by delmoi at 8:50 PM on June 9, 2005


Among biologists, subspecies =/= race.
posted by mediareport at 5:48 AM on June 10, 2005


Wasn't it beautifully established in another thread (I'm too lazy to find it) that race is a cultural thing? That is, beyond the obvious differences in appearance.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:16 AM on June 10, 2005


To clarify: subspecies is a concept that is already being used for human animals - homo sapiens sapiens being the most obvious example. The use has absolutely nothing to do with "race" as it's understood by the nonscientific mainstream, and there's no biological sense in which the two terms are equivalent.
posted by mediareport at 12:45 AM on June 11, 2005


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