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Ethnicity Vs Religion

Should Sikh be.......

  • Ethnicity

    Votes: 1 4.5%
  • Religion

    Votes: 16 72.7%
  • Both (please explain in thread)

    Votes: 4 18.2%
  • Either (please explain in thread)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Not Sure!

    Votes: 1 4.5%

  • Total voters
    22

findingmyway

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The census is currently taking place in the UK and this has got me thinking about ethnicity vs religion. In the last US census Sikhs were encouraged to put Sikh down as their ethnicity rather than religion. Although I can understand the reasoning behind this argument I'm not sure I can agree with it. From a medical perspective Sikh is a religion as it is a set of beliefs that helps us determine how to treat a patient. Ethnicity relates to a person's genetic and physiological make up which is inherited and determines their susceptibility to certain diseases, eg. Indians are prone to diabetes, Caucasians have a high level of age-related macular degeneration, Chines are at high risk of closed angle glaucoma and Afro-Carribeans suffer from more Primary open angle glaucoma than other groups. From this perspective using Sikh as ethnicity is inappropriate as Sikhs can come from any background.
What do you think?
 

spnadmin

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findingmyway ji

I agree with you. The only thing I would add to ethnicity that you did not include is that ethnicity is bound by a common gene pool, plus a shared history, culture and often language.

Sikhs who are of Punjabi origin share genetic dispositions, history, culture and language that overlap with Muslims and Hindus of Punjab. Of course the match is not perfect. When considering Punjabiyat - a history of literature, story-telling, language, poetry, art, dance, and music overlaps.

In the US Sikhs were encouraged to declare themselves a race. Though there was no place to record that, a write-in section was used. Race is even a more radical way to define Sikhs imho. Part of this comes from contemporary definitions of ethnicity and race that do not distinguish between genetic similarities and cultural and linguistic similarities. Since, as you say, Sikhs can come from various genetic populations the idea of Sikhs as either an ethnic group or a racial group seems strange to me.

In the case of the US, it is impossible to implement given the way that race and ethnicity are recorded. For example, if one claims Asian ancestry, that is broken down into Asian subgroups, who are genetically different. Same with European and African ancestry. Therefore, a new category would have to be created, and converts to Sikhism living in Espanola New Mexico would group themselves with Sikhs living Fresno California, who have married within the same genetic population for centuries.
 

Ambarsaria

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Souljoyt and spnadmin ji the following may be of use.

I just excerpted a paragraph and it is very interesting read,
Having said that, by the mid-20th century, ethnicity, rather than religion became the most important marker of political identity in Sri Lanka. It wasn't really the LTTE that 'chose' ethnicity over religion. The salience of ethnicity had already been established well before they were created, and people already identified themselves in these terms. For the most part, this occurred during the colonial period. Many would say that the salience of ethnicity was a creation of the colonial administration and they way in which they understood native society and the ways they sought to categorise it for administrative purposes, reinforced for example, by the way in which data was collected for census purposes, and in the way that 'native representatives' were sought out.

Basically continuation of a colonial mind set of English/British based societies.

http://www.microconflict.eu/publications/RWP18_FS.pdf
In a nutshell it is to herd non-whites into manageable grouping with regard for how such groups could potentially mobilize, act in concert, etc. Wonderful :angrymunda:! It seems we never became free after all!


Sat Sri Akal.
 

spnadmin

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Ambarsaria ji


with regard for how such groups could potentially mobilize, act in concert, etc.
That is the reason give for lobbying that Sikhs be listed as a race on the US census form. Religions can not effectively mobilize or act in concert for economic advantage, but races can. So I don't know how I feel about it on a practical plane. I do however think it is zany on a scientific level.

BTW I did in deed write myself in on the Other line as a member of the Sikh race. :) Because I am a team player. :)
 

Randip Singh

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The census is currently taking place in the UK and this has got me thinking about ethnicity vs religion. In the last US census Sikhs were encouraged to put Sikh down as their ethnicity rather than religion. Although I can understand the reasoning behind this argument I'm not sure I can agree with it. From a medical perspective Sikh is a religion as it is a set of beliefs that helps us determine how to treat a patient. Ethnicity relates to a person's genetic and physiological make up which is inherited and determines their susceptibility to certain diseases, eg. Indians are prone to diabetes, Caucasians have a high level of age-related macular degeneration, Chines are at high risk of closed angle glaucoma and Afro-Carribeans suffer from more Primary open angle glaucoma than other groups. From this perspective using Sikh as ethnicity is inappropriate as Sikhs can come from any background.
What do you think?
In English Law, like Jews in the case Mandala Vs Lee Dowell and Another, it has been established that Sikhs are not only a religious group but an ethnic group.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandla_v_Dowell-Lee

The reason why? Well read the case.

In particular whether people like it or not, Sikhs generally come from one region of India and are one racial stock generally. This will however, change in time, and I see the "Gora" Sikh community becoming more and more prominent.
 

spnadmin

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Randip Singh ji

The issue raised by findinmyway ji boils down to how one changes one's genes.

This will however, change in time, and I see the "Gora" Sikh community becoming more and more prominent.
 

Ambarsaria

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In English Law, like Jews in the case Mandala Vs Lee Dowell and Another, it has been established that Sikhs are not only a religious group but an ethnic group.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandla_v_Dowell-Lee

The reason why? Well read the case.

In particular whether people like it or not, Sikhs generally come from one region of India and are one racial stock generally. This will however, change in time, and I see the "Gora" Sikh community becoming more and more prominent.
Randip Singh ji case law, the census creators and colonial mind set are from the same people (Ethnicity and Religion lol). Hence the congruence. Does not make things right or wrong just consistent!

Sat Sri Akal.
 

Seeker9

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I had a look at the case in the wikipedia link and found this bit interesting:

"Sikhs were in that sense a racial group defined by reference to ethnic origins for the purpose of the Act, although they were not biologically distinguishable from the other peoples of the Punjab"

So whilst the case established a legal precedent, I'm going to go with Findingmyway Ji on this one as I prefer the good ol' fashioned biological version of ethnicity!

Aside from that...I like going to the most basic level in a debate and I've always liked the concept of "Sikh" as "Learner" from The Gurus....so for me, to be a learner or a Sikh is a life choice you make and direction you take and not an ethnicity. I was born Indian and will declare that on my census return!
 
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Randip Singh

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I had a look at the case in the wikipedia link and found this bit interesting:

"Sikhs were in that sense a racial group defined by reference to ethnic origins for the purpose of the Act, although they were not biologically distinguishable from the other peoples of the Punjab"

So whilst the case established a legal precedent, I'm going to go with Findingmyway Ji on this one as I prefer the good ol' fashioned biological version of ethnicity!

Aside from that...I like going to the most basic level in a debate and I've always liked the concept of "Sikh" as "Learner" from The Gurus....so for me, to be a learner or a Sikh is a life choice you make and direction you take and not an ethnicity. I was born Indian and will declare that on my census return!
Well the biological thing doesn't hold.

For example, the Scottish share dna with Mediteranean people and English, Welsh and Irish.

The Romany Gypsies with Punjabi's .

The Germans some DNA with Mongolians.

etc.

Ethnicity and biological similarity are very different.
 

Seeker9

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Well the biological thing doesn't hold.

For example, the Scottish share dna with Mediteranean people and English, Welsh and Irish.

The Romany Gypsies with Punjabi's .

The Germans some DNA with Mongolians.

etc.

Ethnicity and biological similarity are very different.
Ok but I would point out that the Scots are not a race
I fear we may be digressing here and fudging religion, race and ethnicity
As for the DNA thing, you are right. You and I will both "share" some DNA with Africans, Chinese etc and even chimpanzees.....so I agree my last point was not robust

But I still think it is fair to say there are usually sufficient biological differences to make distinction between Africans, Chinese, Indians etc etc
 
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Randip Singh

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Ok but I would point out that the Scots are not a race
I fear we may be digressing here and fudging religion, race and ethnicity
As for the DNA thing, you are right. You and I will both "share" some DNA with Africans, Chinese etc and even chimpanzees.....so I agree my last point was not robust

But I still think it is fair to say there are usually sufficient biological differences to make distinction between Africans, Chinese, Indians etc etc
I think if you said that in Scotland you wold be lucky to come out alive :p

It is not a fudging. Ok let us take Punjabi's.

There are Christian Punjabi's, Hindu Punjabi's, Sikh Punjabi's, Muslim Punjabi's, Buddist Punjabi's, Jain Punjabi's.

Ethnicity is inoxecrably linked to Culture. See the 5 tests in the Mandala case. Culturally a Punjabi Sikh would be very different from a Punjabi Jain say. Infact that same Punjabi Sikh would have more in common with a Hazoori Sikh then a Punjabi Jain.


You see what I am getting at.

At the end of the day, there is ONLY one race, and that is the Human race, but there are distinct flavours within that race. :)
 

Seeker9

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I think if you said that in Scotland you wold be lucky to come out alive :p
Dear Randip Ji

I was born in Glasgow and have lived here all my life. We have a national culture and identity and there is an independence movement around that. But be very careful what you say about race..this is exactly the sort of argument put forward by the right-wing nationalisits. Just go to the BNP website and read up on what they have to say in this area. So I can't agree with your sentiment here


You see what I am getting at.

At the end of the day, there is ONLY one race, and that is the Human race, but there are distinct flavours within that race. :)
Well said...I wholeheartedly agree!
 

Randip Singh

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Dear Randip Ji

I was born in Glasgow and have lived here all my life. We have a national culture and identity and there is an independence movement around that. But be very careful what you say about race..this is exactly the sort of argument put forward by the right-wing nationalisits. Just go to the BNP website and read up on what they have to say in this area. So I can't agree with your sentiment here




Well said...I wholeheartedly agree!
Scots are a Celtic race. Scots even have their own Celtic language (spoken in remote parts only in Scotland nowadays)

Their origins (like the Welsh, Irish and Cornish) have been traced back to the mediteranean. They are the original ancient Britons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celts
 

Seeker9

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Scots are a Celtic race. Scots even have their own Celtic language (spoken in remote parts only in Scotland nowadays)

Their origins (like the Welsh, Irish and Cornish) have been traced back to the mediteranean. They are the original ancient Britons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celts
Actually there were Picts here first before the Celts arrived, in Pictland and there origins were to the North East
As for language we have Scots Gaelic and Scots which is a variant on English

But I would ask you again to reconsider what you have just said as it mirrors BNP propaganda about the original and "indigenous" people of these Islands

May I suggest again you take a look at the BNP website:

"Native British are now treated like second-class citizens in our own country, whilst asylum-seekers and immigrants are pushed to the front of the queue for housing, jobs and benefits."

"Given current demographic trends, we, the indigenous British people, will become an ethnic minority in our own country well within sixty years – and most likely sooner"

etc
 

findingmyway

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Thanks for all the responses! This thread has also helped me understand more
http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-sikhs/34876-counted-answer-sikh-2011-census-england.html

As fas as I can see there seem to be 2 ways of looking at ethnicity;
1) People with common culture, language etc so Sikh can fall into that
2) Genetic basis which would point to Panjabi rather than Sikh.

I guess we use these at different times so if you went to see a healthcare practitioner you would use Indian or Caucasian etc as ethnicity as reason 2 applies and is more pertinent for identifying risk factors and receiving appropriate care. For the census reason 1 is more pertinent so ethnicity becomes Sikh as that gives us greater political power. I have to admit that this appeals to me as I identify more with being Sikh and British than Indian! :33:
 

Ambarsaria

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Thanks for all the responses! This thread has also helped me understand more
http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-sikhs/34876-counted-answer-sikh-2011-census-england.html

As fas as I can see there seem to be 2 ways of looking at ethnicity;
1) People with common culture, language etc so Sikh can fall into that
2) Genetic basis which would point to Panjabi rather than Sikh.

I guess we use these at different times so if you went to see a healthcare practitioner you would use Indian or Caucasian etc as ethnicity as reason 2 applies and is more pertinent for identifying risk factors and receiving appropriate care. For the census reason 1 is more pertinent so ethnicity becomes Sikh as that gives us greater political power. I have to admit that this appeals to me as I identify more with being Sikh and British than Indian! :33:
findingmyway ji the source of question and the reason behind a question sometimes the specifics of an answer (Examples for review),

Category of Statistical Purposes:
Question 1: Someone want to classify everyone out of India (say UK government) as a group and greater the number the greater the positive impact?


  • Answer 1: The answer if you are Sikh and or from Punjab or not even Punjab but look like an Indian (to a white), answer is "I am Indian".
Question 2: Someone wants to know about your mother tongue (say UK government) and resources will be allocated and larger the number more the resources?

  • Answer 2: You will answer it as, "my mother tongue is Punjabi" if you are a Sikh.
- Even though you were born in England and never learned Punjabi
- Even though you were raised in Delhi/Chandigarh and it is sexy to speak Hindi and you were taught such
- etc.
Categorical of Personal Impacts:

  • You request information on the need about personal information and reply to the level necessary including ancestry, environs of birth and growth, etc.
I am not suggesting people to lie but it is very important to assess the impact of your responses.

Sat Sri Akal.
 

Randip Singh

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For those interested, here are the tests set out in the Mandala case:

Richardson J. in setting out criteria for establishing member of a racial group: “The conditions which appear to me to be essential are these:


(1) a long shared history, of which the group is conscious as distinguishing it from other groups, and the memory of which it keeps alive;


(2) a cultural tradition of its own, including family and social customs and manners, often but not necessarily associated with religious observance. In addition to those two essential characteristics the following characteristics are, in my opinion, relevant:


(3) either a common geographical origin, or descent from a small number of common ancestors;


(4) a common language, not necessarily peculiar to the group;


(5) a common literature peculiar to the group;


(6) a common religion different from that of neighbouring groups or from the general community surrounding it;


(7) being a minority or being an oppressed or a dominant group within a larger community, for example a conquered people (say, the inhabitants of England shortly after the Norman conquest) and their conquerors might both be ethnic groups.”
 

Randip Singh

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Actually there were Picts here first before the Celts arrived, in Pictland and there origins were to the North East
As for language we have Scots Gaelic and Scots which is a variant on English

But I would ask you again to reconsider what you have just said as it mirrors BNP propaganda about the original and "indigenous" people of these Islands

May I suggest again you take a look at the BNP website:

"Native British are now treated like second-class citizens in our own country, whilst asylum-seekers and immigrants are pushed to the front of the queue for housing, jobs and benefits."

"Given current demographic trends, we, the indigenous British people, will become an ethnic minority in our own country well within sixty years – and most likely sooner"

etc
Hi Seeker,


There is nothing wrong in having a sense of self esteem in your backround. Infact the Guru's encouraged Sikhs to be in "Chardiankalan" always!!

What the BNP practices is "Hankaar" or Egotism which is very different from self esteem.

A person with self esteem can be ok with their own background without looking down upon other peoples backgrounds.
 

spnadmin

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For those interested, here are the tests set out in the Mandala case:

Randip ji

It is not clear how many of the legal tests cited above must be applied when someone claims to be a member of the Sikh "race." Having said that, who would be a Sikh in the eyes of the law?

It might not matter in the every day sense of practicing one's faith. But it would matter in any legal sense. For example, a convert seeks consideration by the court, as a Sikh, would fail most of the tests and would not be a Sikh before the court. Therefore his/her claim would be denied. Few or none of the tests would apply. Am I wrong about that? Or has there never been a test of that kind? The law is rather recent.

The law also, from the little I have here to read, seems to reinforce Sikh identity in a way that emphasizes Punjabi heritage. And that is a theme that converts often raise when they complain they are not fully accepted as members of sangat. Then the only way conversion would work toward acceptance as a Sikh is through marriage to a Punjabi, or through 3HO.
 
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