This course has taught me a lot about the concept of debunking any misconceptions that I’ve had. I’ve learned that there is no biological concept of race. We as human beings haven’t existed as a race long enough for subspecies to be created. The difference is actually only skin deep, just slight mutations in the skin pigmentation genes which were affected when our ancestors migrated away from Africa to other regions. I was also used the concept to debunk the idea that some ethnic groups are more athletically inclined but at the same time are less likely to survive disease and more likely to catch and develop dangerous diseases. This concept was brought to my attention by a few videos we watched in class as well as some readings. Race scientists tried to prove that people of African descent were athletically superior because of their primitive nature, yet weren’t in need of any sort of aid because of the “extinction” theory which said that they are more likely to suffer from deadly disease. How can a group be more athletically inclined, yet more susceptible to disease and death? It goes against our understanding of evolution. However, it has been proved that race is real, not biologically, but socially. The concept of debunking has allowed me too see that race is a social invention. But not just race, the entire concept of inequality is a social construction. At first, these inequalities and differences seemed to be only the result of the majority exercising their will to power over the minorities. But now, it seems also likely that our own recognition of these differences create the inequalities. An example of us creating these inequalities on our own is ethnocentrism, by identifying and perpetuating our culture or ethnicity as superior, we only deepen the divide between us. We are all equal, and no amount of race science or perpetuated difference can change that. We share the same roots, it is only the superficial that creates the divide, forget everything that they told you divides us; remember what unites us.
This movie explained how the principle of race as biology is a myth. In other words the differences are literally only skin deep, the colour of the skin is the only thing that is actually different. Race scientists attempted on many occasions to show that each race was different on a genetic level. but I picked up on something that maybe the video didn’t. The race scientists tried to show that non whites were genetically inferior, more prone to deadly types of disease and would eventually die out, which is why there was no point in improving their quality of living. However, the disease and mortality rate were more social factors cause by their standard of living. but they go on to say that people from Africa are more finely tuned for athletics, and running. Now how can they be both inferior and easily susceptible to disease, and yet be a more powerful and faster version of a human? This is an error in reasoning, if an organism is more likely to survive, not only will it be stronger, faster, and better adaptable, but it will also have higher tolerances to disease and sickness. i don’t believe the video picked up on this. As for the premise of the movie and the idea itself, I agree, race as biology is a myth we know that the origins of humanity lie in Africa, and there in Africa we can see the physical characteristics and facial features of all the different races that we see around the world today. But that’s not say race doesn’t exist, it exists as a social factor, the colour of your skin, the country you come from etc can determine what sort of health care you are able to receive, what kind of job you can get, essentially the quality of life that you will have.
This video we watch was about the principle of a single story and the dangers of it. A single story is a sweeping generalization we make about a group of people because of our own prejudice and/or ignorance. example. assuming that people from non western nations, example countries in impoverished areas, live very primitive life styles and lack a basic knowledge of how things may be done here. Though this can in fact be true for some, it is not true for all people who come from, have come from, or have ancestral roots in that area. These sweeping generalized statements or beliefs about something lead to ignorance in such matters. Sometimes it is necessary to suspend our preconceived notions to see each individual case for what it really is, rather then what we assume it be.
The first movie im discussing is the Zimbardo experiment video. This video illistrated that we as humans often bend to the will of authority figures with little to no question (shown in elctroshock questioning experiment), it also showed how rather then band together for solidarity against authority, we bend and eventually turn on each other (shown in the prison experiment). In the first experiment they had people ask a variety of questions to someone concelled in a booth, and if they got the question wrong they had to administer an electric shock, which got more intense each time, the person being shocked was actually an actor. The participants weren’t in anyway being forced to continue administering the questions and shocks, but because a man in a lab coat said “it is crucial that we continue” they did in fact continue and did what they thought to be horrible things and rationalized it by saying an authority figure made them do it. This experiment was also later conducted several times in the recent past, and the results were typically the same, with most people following the orders and doing what they thought to be bad, and only a small few standing up and saying no. the second prison experiment was where students set up a fake prison and played the roles of prisoners and guards. in this experiment we found that when the prisoners tried to act out, the guards would punish the ring leader or the instigator. And if that wasn’t enough, they punished the other inmates in a worse fashion also, in hopes to break any sort of connection and solidarity they had together. I agree with the main premises that these experiments tried to prove; that we bend to authority figures. Even people who aren’t the typical depiction what we think an authority figure to be. for example young children may see anyone much older then them as an authority figure and will listen when given orders by them. why? because they’re parents and teachers are similar to these adults. An example that was found in the news was that two young men (roughly aged 20-23) bought a decommissioned police cruiser, and posed as under cover officers and stole money, phones and other items from children that they “pulled over” for questioning. These kids listened because they saw what looked like a police car, and men who claimed to be officers and had some basic equipment that made them look official, but not once did they ever ask to see a badge or some ID or have another officer report to the scene as well. In this sense we are no critically minded enough when dealing with authority figures, I believe that authority figures often need to be challenged in order for old, put dated world views to be replaced with what is actually the case.
Before I even read the article, “Body Ritual Among The Nacirema” by Horace Miner, I realized that “Nacirema” is America spelled backwards. This article being a spoof was only further cemented in my mind when it said that the Nacirema were found between Canada and Mexico. But aside from that, there is a lot of validity to what the article says. The article describes the steps Americans (and Canadians/other westerners) go through to make themselves appear presentable and socially acceptable. Things that we don’t consider all that weird like trips to the dentist or personal oral and hygiene care to make ourselves look good have been described here in a different way. And to someone from another part of the world with different practices, what we consider normal and everyday things, they might consider to be very weird and outlandish activities. Even though this article describes things that me and others do everyday, it still seems very weird the way he describes it. It just goes to show how easily our perception can be changed and how often we look at things with “tunnel vision” so to speak.
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