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Old 04-26-2017, 03:27 PM
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What would be the smallest amout of general ethnic groups that would encompass everyone?


Looking at a list of world ethnicities there are dozens but if we narrowed it down to broader categories how many would we need?
-European
-Asian
-African
-American indigenous
-Australian indigenous
Would everyone fall under one of these categories?
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Old 04-26-2017, 03:31 PM
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Latin Americans are going to be problematic since they are a blend of so many other ethnicities. But I'm not sure I understand your question. You could start out with Africans and non-Africans and then go from there.
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Old 04-26-2017, 03:35 PM
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Human?
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Old 04-26-2017, 04:09 PM
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Depends on the range. Where do Polynesians fall in those categories? Andaman Islanders (who appear to have been isolated for millennia). Are Arabs "Asians" or "Africans"? What are Filipinos? Are Turks Asians or Europeans - does this depend on which side of the Bosporus they live?

Last edited by md2000; 04-26-2017 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 04-26-2017, 04:18 PM
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Most people recognize several different ethnic groups that are often bunched together as Africans. The Bantu, the Nilotes, and the Khoisan are as distinct from each other as they are from Asians or Caucasians. And the indigenous inhabitants of Madagascar are more connected to the native people in Australia than those in Africa.
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Old 04-26-2017, 04:38 PM
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Once you get out of very closely-related cultures there's no accepted consistent or meaningful way of categorizing ethnic groups into super-groups, and our standard societal classifications of ethnic groups have almost no correlation to the biological relatedness of the groups in question, so I think this is kind of a fool's errand. Maybe if you are willing to accept classifications in which any one group may fall into more than one super-groups, but even then the question of "how many super-groups are there" has no clear answer.
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Old 04-26-2017, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
Looking at a list of world ethnicities there are dozens but if we narrowed it down to broader categories how many would we need?
-European
-Asian
-African
-American indigenous
-Australian indigenous
Would everyone fall under one of these categories?
You can use those, but they're meaningless and arbitrary. Where do the various peoples that live in the Middle East fall and why? How about the Indian sub-continent? You can call them Asian, but how closely are they related to the Han Chinese? Would you call them European and why?

You first have to explain what the categories represent before you can classify people into them. What does it mean to be African in this context? Why would Berbers and Tutsi be considered in the same category? If you dislike that classification, lumping Berbers and the Sami together in European is just as bad.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:17 PM
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Bushmen ...

Quote:
Mitochondrial DNA studies also provide evidence that the San carry high frequencies of the earliest haplogroup branches in the human mitochondrial DNA tree. This DNA is inherited only from one's mother. The most divergent (oldest) mitochondrial haplogroup, L0d, has been identified at its highest frequencies in the southern African San groups.

In a study published in March 2011, Brenna Henn and colleagues found that the ǂKhomani San, as well as the Sandawe and Hadza peoples of Tanzania, were the most genetically diverse of any living humans studied. This high degree of genetic diversity hints at the origin of anatomically modern humans.
See Wikipedia article San People ...
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:25 PM
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Ethnicity is a social construct, and as others above have noted, its pretty arbitrary. If Serbs and Croats can identify themselves as different ethnic groups, then we are not far short of separating Mormons and Mennonites or ... [just forgot the other good alliterative one].

We tend to put skin colour, language and religion high on the list of factors we separate ethnicity on, but in largely homogenous societies it can fall on other factors - like 3rd gen Koreans in Japan being 'ethnic', but primarily because they are excluded from mainstream society as not quite Japanese enough.

Usually ethnicity is part self-identity paired with separation and othering from another group. Which came first is debatable.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
Looking at a list of world ethnicities there are dozens but if we narrowed it down to broader categories how many would we need?
-European
-Asian
-African
-American indigenous
-Australian indigenous
Would everyone fall under one of these categories?
Caucasian
African
Asian

I think those would be the smallest groups you could break people down into?
That encompasses everyone.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Weisshund View Post
Caucasian
African
Asian

I think those would be the smallest groups you could break people down into?
That encompasses everyone.
Australia's Aboriginal people, among others, just gave you a withering look of contempt.
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Weisshund View Post
Caucasian
African
Asian

I think those would be the smallest groups you could break people down into?
That encompasses everyone.
So are Egyptians African or Caucasian? Are Indians Asian or Caucasian? Are Australians and New Guineans Asians? Are Turks Asians or Caucasians? Are Native Amiercans Asians? Are San Africans?

Sure, we can categorize people by the continent they live on, or the continent their ancestors lived on, but continents aren't reproductively isolated populations, as the demographic changes in the Americas over the past 500 years have shown. And those sorts of demographic changes happened in the further past, they just aren't nearly as well documented.
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:44 PM
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Three main genetic clusters are Eastern (subdivided into Australian-Papuan, East Asian, Native American), Eurasian, and (Subsaharan) African. Three small outliers (Bushman, Pygmy, Hadza) may be separated from African. Of course "hybrids" occur, e.g. Cape Mixed Ancestry with genome roughly between Eurasian and African.
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:59 PM
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Genetic clusters aren't ethnic groups. As ill-defined as the original question is, OldGuy has provided the best factual answer you are going to get.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Three main genetic clusters are Eastern (subdivided into Australian-Papuan, East Asian, Native American), Eurasian, and (Subsaharan) African. Three small outliers (Bushman, Pygmy, Hadza) may be separated from African. Of course "hybrids" occur, e.g. Cape Mixed Ancestry with genome roughly between Eurasian and African.
Again, most of Latin America is not going to fit into that classification scheme. That's a lot of people. You have some small number of pure Native Americas, pure Europeans, pure East Asians, but mostly every mix of those you can imagine with a whole bunch of sub-Saharan African thrown in for good measure.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Are Indians Asian or Caucasian?
Per Wikipedia, North Indians are definitely Caucasians while South Indians are uncertain (Dravidians)

Link - See map under classification https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_race
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by am77494 View Post
Per Wikipedia, North Indians are definitely Caucasians while South Indians are uncertain (Dravidians)

Link - See map under classification https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_race
That's also per "19th century classification", if you read the article. Not very useful, even in the not-useful world of race characterization.
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:09 PM
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Human?
Does that include Neanderthals and Denisovans?

Seriously, even the concept of distinct species breaks down when dealing with ring species or groups like closely related species of the Tanagers. The notion of clear distinctions in ethnic groups--a human invention governed as much by culture and linguistics as by genetics or cladistics--does not hold up to scrutiny under careful examination. Humans have been travelling, trading, and fucking since multiple groups left the plains of Africa for distant lands, and trying to divide the population into discrete groups will inevitably result in fuzzy boundaries. I defy you to tell me which group Rosario Dawson or Bruno Mars falls into, and I think Zo Kravitz transcends racial and species barriers to become the first transhuman by the force of shear allurement.

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Old 04-26-2017, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
Looking at a list of world ethnicities there are dozens but if we narrowed it down to broader categories how many would we need?

-European

-Asian

-African

-American indigenous

-Australian indigenous

Would everyone fall under one of these categories?


Exactly zero of these categories are "ethnic groups."
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
Humans have been travelling, trading, and fucking since multiple groups left the plains of Africa for distant lands, and trying to divide the population into discrete groups will inevitably result in fuzzy boundaries.
The fuzziness of these group definitions gives us a pretty good rule-of-thumb indicator: people who rely on them for drawing meaningful conclusions are at best naive, at worst nefarious.
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:02 AM
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Originally Posted by am77494 View Post
Per Wikipedia, North Indians are definitely Caucasians while South Indians are uncertain (Dravidians)

Link - See map under classification https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_race
Interesting to note that that map excludes Finns and Estonians from the Caucasian category.

I remember reading (probably here) about a court case in the USA where the question to be decided was whether Finns are white.
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
Looking at a list of world ethnicities there are dozens but if we narrowed it down to broader categories how many would we need?
-European
-Asian
-African
-American indigenous
-Australian indigenous
Would everyone fall under one of these categories?
Yes, all you have to do is assign every individual to one of the groups. But then the largest number of categories you need is human. I know this answer has already been given, but I'd like to ask the OP to start at the other end and suggest the rules we should use to subdivide humanity.
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
...Zo Kravitz...
google google... Jesus H. Christ on a Popsicle Stick! Thank you, Stranger.

(Apologies to my ravishing Dravidian wife)
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
google google... Jesus H. Christ on a Popsicle Stick! Thank you, Stranger.

(Apologies to my ravishing Dravidian wife)
She's related to Al Roper; what would you expect?
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Old 04-27-2017, 09:17 AM
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She's related to Al Roper; what would you expect?
google google... Heh.
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:44 AM
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Given the OP is based on a flawed premise, there is no real GQ answer. Let's move this to IMHO.

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Old 04-27-2017, 11:27 AM
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I'm hoping the OP will return to the thread, because I really think he understands more about this whole thing than you gather by just reading his post. Something is not quite right.
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:11 PM
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OP here.

This more came about as I was trying to give my 5th grader a frame of reference for what the world was like in 1500 and where the major population centers were.
(Learning about Ponce De Leon coming from Spain and finding Florida doesn't mean a whole lot unless he knows how desolate north america was.)
I wanted to be able to show him a world map and show where the population concentrations were and what kind of people lived there in the most broad generalizations.
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:33 PM
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OP: It's not "amou[n]t", it's "number".
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
I wanted to be able to show him a world map and show where the population concentrations were and what kind of people lived there in the most broad generalizations.
Bolding added. It all depends on your definition of kind. Anything other than calling everyone human is pretty arbitrary and depends on what you are trying to show. You can tailor your definition of kind to come up with just about any number you want.
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
OP here.

This more came about as I was trying to give my 5th grader a frame of reference for what the world was like in 1500 and where the major population centers were.
(Learning about Ponce De Leon coming from Spain and finding Florida doesn't mean a whole lot unless he knows how desolate north america was.)
I wanted to be able to show him a world map and show where the population concentrations were and what kind of people lived there in the most broad generalizations.
Here's some world maps showing population densities through time, including 1500 AD.

At that time, major populations were found in Europe, India, East Asia, parts of Africa, Mesoamerica, and Andean South America. (North America was not "desolate," although populations became severely reduced after contact with Europeans.

The problem with the premise of the OP is that human populations are not distinct but are a continuum. Different groups branched off at different times. Some populations represent a mixture of different lineages.

Among the oldest branches are the Pygmies and the San peoples of southern Africa. Although they are "African," they are no more closely related to other Africans than they are to non-Africans.

All non (sub-Saharan) Africans are more closely related to each other than they are to Africans. Among other characters, they have Neanderthal (and sometimes Denisovian genes) lacking in Africans.

One of the earliest branches among non-Africans is that that lead to the Austronesians, including Australian Aborigines, Papuans, and Melanesians. But there are also small groups scattered across southern Asia that belong to this group, including "negritos" and Andaman Islanders.

I have seen various relationships postulated between Europeans (Caucasians) and Asians (North Asians, South Asians, and Southeast Asians all being somewhat distinct).

Native Americans are descended from Asians but are often considered distinct, as are Polynesians.

So how many groups you come up with would depend on where you draw the line.
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