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Is Asia/Asian meaningful?

 
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2015 11:57 pm
People consider Indians to be Asian; why? If it's just because the land masses are contiguous, so is France, but we don't call the French "Asian." And India is actually on a separate tectonic plate, the same one as Australia.
 
Butrflynet
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 12:09 am
@Banana Breath,

This might be informative for you.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Asia
Banana Breath
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 12:37 am
@Butrflynet,
It gives no rationale for calling this South Asia or even part of Asia... it could as easily be called the "India zone" or something. And further, quoting from your reference:

Quote:
"Although there's a distinct core of countries, all formerly part of the British Empire, in defining the South Asia, there is much variation as to which (if any) other countries are included."

So it seems to come down to arbitrary naming of a zone of arbitrarily included regions around India.
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Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 01:15 am
I'm afraid I don't understand your problem.

The so-called Indian sub-continent is a part of that portion of the Eurasian continent which has been designated as Asia. This is the land east of the Ural Mountain range which separates Europe from Asia. Therefore the people of India are considered Asian.

Again, what's the problem?
fresco
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 01:58 am
@Banana Breath,
Is this a rhetorical question ?
Your profile indicates you have a good grasp of semantics, which implies that you are aware that all usage is contextual rather than absolute. "Asian" can be used in contrast to "white"....as a geographical term relative to "European"....etc.
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Banana Breath
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 08:28 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
I'm afraid I don't understand your problem.

The term "Asian" is usually used (particularly in the USA) as a racial term indicating the peoples previously known as oriental. Thus Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc.
In recent years however the term has been used (or "South Asian") to refer to Indians, Pakistanis, Iranians, Afghans, and others.
This categorization fails in my opinion on a number of fronts:
1) Racial: These are different ethnic groups, primarily caucazoid.
2) Geographic: Contiguous land mass doesn't separate Asia from Europe so the division is apparently arbitrary.
3) Plate tectonics: India is on a separate plate from the rest of Europe and what was previously known as Asia; it's on the Indo-Australian plate; with respect to plate tectonics you could even call it a separate continent that just happens to be jammed into Eurasia.

I think it would be clearer and more consistent to speak of the ethnicities as being Asian and Indian (separated) rather than collectively Asian and to refer to the geography as "Asia and the Indian Subcontinent."
Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 04:12 pm
@Banana Breath,
I see. You're thinking of 'Asian' as being primarily an ethnic adjective. But that's not the intention at all when we speak of Indians or Pakistanis or Iranians etc. as being 'Asia.' All it means is that they are native to the continent we call Asia. Siberians, too, are Asian, as are Afghans.

You'll notice, also, that there are major differences between the several groups that you are willing to characterize as 'Asian'. And tectonic plates have absolutely nothing to do with any of it.
chai2
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 04:45 pm
@Banana Breath,
Banana Breath wrote:


2) Geographic: Contiguous land mass doesn't separate Asia from Europe so the division is apparently arbitrary.



Cananda, the U.S.A, Central America and South America are all one land mass too.

A continent doesn't have to be separate land masses.

What's your point?
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contrex
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 05:34 pm
In Britain, we say "Asian" or "South Asian" to mean people of Indian/Pakistani/Sri Lankan/Nepalese origin. To call a British Asian of Pakistani origin "Indian" would be devastatingly stupid and ignorant.

By the way, there are also Mongolian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Thai, Laotian, Cambodian, Korean etc people in London. And more. Described thus. By themselves and others.


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Banana Breath
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2015 06:38 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
I see. You're thinking of 'Asian' as being primarily an ethnic adjective. But that's not the intention at all when we speak of Indians or Pakistanis or Iranians etc. as being 'Asia.' All it means is that they are native to the continent we call Asia. Siberians, too, are Asian, as are Afghans.

You'll notice, also, that there are major differences between the several groups that you are willing to characterize as 'Asian'. And tectonic plates have absolutely nothing to do with any of it.


Ethnicity is one meaning of "Asian," Tectonics is another... however the term isn't used consistently or meaningfully in any of the domains. As an example, scientists try to determine testing proclivities, IQ and school effectiveness by correlating test scores with racial identification and home addresses. Thus you get statements such as:
Quote:
The average score for Asian Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders on the SAT I math was 32 points higher than that for whites.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/sats/etc/gap.html

But by jumbling so many cultures, countries, ethnicities, and tectonic plates together, the studies are meaningless. Practices common in Japan, China, Korea and Singapore are NOT common in Afghanistan and Iran. Nor are their genetics, diets, religions, languages, cultures or other factors in any way closely related.

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