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Eurasians in the Sportlight
Can an ethnic mix be trendy? At the moment, Eurasians are enjoying an unprecedented high profile in the news, in advertising, and in the entertainment industry. People of numerous cultures have embraced Eurasians like actresses Karen Mok and Maggie Q, not to mention superstar golf player Tiger Woods. Modeling agencies are scrambling for women with mixed blood, while Eurasians are becoming the darlings of music stations MTV and Channel V.
Eurasians have not always basked in the warm glow of public attention. Historically, there has been a lot of deep-seated prejudice against ethnically mixed people. In countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, such offspring were seen as negative reminders of Western male colonizers and Eastern female war victims and opportunists. For decades, Eurasian children have had to challenge negative stereotypes and fight for their rights.
Does this current prominence of Eurasians represent a new acceptance, or is it merely a marketing twist on old racial biases? Many of the VJs on Channel V and MTV look racially mixed only because they have had plastic surgery to change their features. They say they feel pressured to look mixed because Western beauty is still the ideal to many people. Hopefully, in the future, this admiration and acceptance of those with multicultural heritages will deepen, and people will appreciate others, and themselves, regardless of their ethnic background.
Race has always had a huge impact on history, society, and culture. But according to many scientists, the concept of race has no biological basis; it is merely a social construct.
The American Anthropological Association has stated that race simply cannot be tested or proven scientifically. Because humans have been around for a relatively short time by evolutionary standards, scientists say that there is not enough genetic diversity in humans to allow us to be divided into neat, racial cubbyholes or subspecies. . It is generally believed that humans originated in Africa about two hundred thousand years ago and migrated to other continents one hundred thousand years later. Although environmental variations have produced the physical differences in hair and skin we see today, underneath the surface there has been little change.
Systems of racial categorization, first developed in the eighteenth century, have divided people into three, nine, twenty-six, and as many as three hundred races. Scientists reject such thinking as myth. They say that geographic patterns of sets of genes show that people have been migrating and merging from the start; race may be heavily tied to culture and how people see one another, but it is something we have created.
Scientists know this may be difficult for some people to accept. As summed up by Jonathan Marks, a University of California at Berkeley anthropologist, "Teaching that racial categories lack biological validity can be as much of a challenge as teaching in the seventeenth century that the earth goes around the sun."