Sunday, August 19, 2007

Asian people and Down Syndrome

I read a review of an article today on that really upset me; not the post, but the article. It's published in Medical Hypotheses, an academic journal by Elsevier, and the title is "Down subjects and Oriental population share several specific attitudes and characteristics" (if you want to read the whole article go to the badscience blog post unless you have a subscription for this journal or want to purchase the article separately).

What it's all about:


Down’s syndrome is characterized not only by a typical “habitus”, mental retardation of variable gravity and several alterations of the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrenteric and immunitary system, but also by specific attitudes and characteristics that are in common with the Oriental population. Starting from the origin of the term mongolism, replaced with other terms such as Trisomy 21, Down’s syndrome, and anomaly of Down because of the racist use made in the last century, we propose, in the light of modern knowledge about the heredity of features, a reflection on those aspects and attitudes which highlight a very particular twinning between a Down person and Asiatic peoples.
Proof of this claim:

Down persons during waiting periods, when they get tired of standing up straight, crouch, squatting down, reminding us of the ‘‘squatting’’ position described by medical semeiotic which helps the venous return. They remain in this position for several minutes and only to rest themselves this position is the same taken by the Vietnamese, the Thai, the Cambodian, the Chinese, while they are waiting at a the bus stop, for instance, or while they are chatting.

Where the hell did these dimtwits get their observations? Marco Polo? These bumpkins probably never set a foot to Asia.

There is another pose taken by Down subjects while they are sitting on a chair: they sit with their legs crossed while they are eating, writing, watching TV, as the Oriental peoples do.

I very much doubt that this is something that is passed genetically, rather it seems like a cultural thing.

Another aspect of Down person that remind the Asiatic population, are alimentary characteristics. Down subjects adore having several dishes displayed on the table and have a propensity for food which is rich in monosodium glutamate (a salt of glutamate), such as parmigiano, beef broth, tinned food, etc. The Chinese food abounds in monosodium glutamate that seems to be responsible for the fifth taste or ‘‘umami taste’’

Parmigiano? You mean, the Parmesan cheese from Italy and that is found in abundance in dishes like spaghetti?

The tendencies of Down subjects to carry out recreative–reabilitative activities, such as embroidery, wicker-working ceramics, book-binding, etc., that is renowned, remind the Chinese hand-crafts, which need a notable ability, such as Chinese vases or the use of chop-sticks employed for eating by Asiatic populations.

I’d like to take my knitting needles now and shove them up someone’s no man’s land where it really hurts.

9 Kommentare:

Elemmaciltur said...

Srsly, is this a joke? It sounds to me as though this is an article to make racist comments on the Asians, but shrouded it in veil of "science". Jerks.

Annie said...

"Oriental" population? How could something written in 2007 refer to Asians as "Orientals"? That's a very strange and offensive article.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I agree this paper is awful - both racist and unscientific. However, to reply to the previous poster, the term "oriental" is not considered offensive in the UK, EU, and Hong Kong (so I guess China too). Their use of language is still racist though. JJG

projektleiterin said...

The term "oriental" does seem to appear offensive.

“Beginning in the 17th century, the British empire popularized the use of the word Oriental, which was a western way to refer to someone from east of London. Use of this pejorative word is no longer appropriate when referring to people."

To be honest, I didn't know this either till a while ago. For me "orientals" was merely an oldfashioned generic term for people from the Middle East that nobody really used anymore. When I was in Spain, people called me oriental and in the beginning I just didn't get what they meant. With the explanation above it makes more sense now (I do not believe that they had the inention to insult, but I think that the idea of political correctness has not settled as deeply into the public mind as in other countries).

dorothee said...

I would have said that the author must have Down as well, but, then again, I don't want to insult anyone with Down. Seems like very-stupid-idiotism still hasn't died out.

Me said...

I can't believe someone is actually stupid enough to write this!

Angela said...

That's terrible; how depressing that it came from Italian authors and an Italian university. I do agree that although "oriental" sounds very outdated to me, it still seems to be in use here (in Italy), and is not considered to be pejorative.

cranberry said...

Man, that's as bad as that esteemed scientist that said black people weren't as smart as their white and asian counterparts, and that (white) employers could attest to this truth.

*rolls eyes*

In terms of 'Asian' - in the UK they use 'Asian' to refer to people from India, Pakistan and Southern Asia. They call people from Asia, Oriental.

Yeah, I did a WTF when I first heard it too (I'm not orginally from the UK).

Ulli said...

it is not only offensive to Asians but also to humans with Down Syndrom, as they are humans and not subjects. How can somebody so stupid to write something like this nowadays.

Ulli, mother to a beautiful "subject"


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