Week 2 Blog Post Prompt

Week 2 Blog Post: Systems of Difference

Using examples from the articles, lectures, and films, discuss the ways in which difference between people has been constructed. The post should be approximately 500-700 words. Be sure to end with two questions that you have from the readings.

6 thoughts on “Week 2 Blog Post Prompt

  1. The lecture began by stating that it is human nature to categorize people into groups. We naturally develop in-groups and out-groups, but by choosing to categorize based on skin color seems crazy, looking back now. Religion is an incredibly dividing factor that leads crusades and also creates unnatural divides amongst the human race. Missionaries going to the Americas to bring the gospel of Christianity were focused on disregarding these complex cultures that the natives had built and systematically forcing European beliefs on the natives. Recognizing different cultures as equal is essential to making sure all people are seen as equal and fairly treated. As displayed in the video Race: The Power of Illusion, we see that even though an Asian woman and a black man look about as differently as you could imagine, genetically we are all so similar, the differences are negligible. For so much of our history, we were convinced that race was a scientific construct that is rooted in hard fact. Only recently have we developed the science to prove that instead race is just a socially constructed categorization of people that changes just as much as the culture that defines those races. As displayed in the lecture, the US Census has changed how it asks the question of race. Evidence of a changing mindset toward different cultures are easily traceable back to less than 200 years ago when the Irish were seen as inferior to traditional Western Europeans that had arrived in the United States just a generation or two before the Irish. Once the Irish had been in the US for a generation there was a transition and they were no longer treated differently than their European peers because they had lost their accents and were indistinguishable from white Anglo-Saxon persons.
    Anthropology is important in our understanding of what race was and what we as a people made it out to be. Franz Boas’ belief that more must be looked at than skin color to determine a culture led science to have the modern definition of a culture that is a collection of a societies language, art, religious practices, etc. Boas pointing out that there are more cultures recognized than races mean that there is more to culture than just the color of the skin. Differences have always existed in humanity and they always will. It is similar to heuristics where we cannot help but stereotype because it saves cognitive timing. These basic human instincts are still relevant today in evidence just how racially divided we still are in the United States and abroad. The reading by Christen Smith highlights some of the injustices that still occur in America where racially there is a clear danger in being born with dark skin. All of the brutality by police against black men in the recent news shows the point that Smith was trying to make that black people are not as safe from police gun fire as their white peers. Smith talks more about the systematic groups that have been developed to help keep the racial separation strong. There is evidence across the board that “The System” does not help minorities and disenfranchises them from voting and generally being a citizen, with all of those rights that citizens are afforded. Before the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, there were still poll taxes put in place and exams administered to keep undesirable groups from voting and engaging in civic discourse. There have been a lot of changes to the racial structure of America in the decades since the 1960’s, but to say that we are a society that sees all Americans as one group is wrong. My favorite part of this lecture was learning about Bronislaw Malinowski and his belief that we as a species will never all be one group, but that we shouldn’t try to be, rather acknowledge the differences between our cultures and don’t view other cultures as inferior, rather as a resource to learn about the differences we have across the world.

  2. #DEON #HELP Are we supposed to comment on other posts this week? If so, what is the word count? There is no mention of comments in the assignment post.

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