E. Porter – Week 7 – Final Reflections

Throughout this course, I can easily say that I’ve many things about the world and how anthropology actually played a huge role in defining it. With the many studies and documentaries that anthropologists have produced over the years, it shed light into areas and cultures of the world that were unknown for the longest. There are though a couple of things that I can see as a recurring theme throughout this course though.  One of them is the fact that America has had a huge impact on the many cultures of the world, and that that not always a god thing. Another theme that is prevalent is the fact that class structure is a real determinate of how your future may turn out. These two themes along with others were some of the things that were able to link most of the topics together.

When it comes to America, it seems that we have a lot of influence on different cultures of the world. The ideas of western culture such as the types of schools and business that we have and own have been the desire for quite a few people in other parts of the world. For other parts however, it has been more so shunned away or not wanted and yet it almost seems as if it is being pressured on them. Using the film “Life in Debt” as an example, we see local Jamaican farmers and market vendors who were fine with just having foods that were locally grown, and yet, they have to compete with imported food from America. Another example of this is during the film “Pig tusk and paper money” Henry talks about how international bank regulations have prevented him from starting up a traditional bank for his town. These regulations that America has had a huge impact on mind you. Nevertheless for the better or worse, this country still is a very influential world power.

The other theme that I see is the fact that whatever class that a person is born in most times shapes how they are going to spend their life. This may seem like an obvious statement but it does hold much truth. In the film “Into the light” we see Chinese people who were born into the lower class having to work these dangerous jobs like mining so that they can make a living. What’s worse is the fact that they have little to no hope of escaping this system. Some try to go and earn an education, but if your no within the top percentage of the class, it’s almost impossible to get a decent job. This class system is also seen in the document “Blackness, Citizenship, and the Transnational Vertigo of Violence in the Americas” where African Americans in the United States feel as if they are put into a lower class in a sense. But instead of being based on money, it was more so based on race. The thing about the lower class in almost any society or government is the fact that they have little say about what happens. This is why when it comes to classes, whichever a person is born into, most times they stay within that class with little change.

2 thoughts on “E. Porter – Week 7 – Final Reflections

  1. I agree that America has made a great impact on cultures around the world. My intuition is that the country was developed from many different cultures. Italian, Irish, Polish, German, French, Spanish, English, and Chinese cultures all had melted into one big continent and clashed over centuries. The result is the optimization and configuration that resulted from picking and choosing good things about certain cultures and abolishing bad ones. In my opinion, this is why many cultures enthusiastically adopt things from America. Many cultures that are traditionally old are stagnant. Yet, American culture always strive to improve upon the old ones. Practical people who think some of their rituals inefficient and unfit for modern society will often look to adopt these American ones. It is also true that some American influence is making a bad impact on other societies. However, conflicts of nations have existed for as long as human history, and considering the benefits American influence has brought on some countries shine a great light on optimism of humanitarian approach of the United States.

  2. Subjectively, the greatest structural difference that effects the success of an individual, is race. As seen in the article “Blackness, Citizenship, and the Transnational Vertigo of Violence in the Americas,” African Americans feel like they are categorized into a lower class. Regardless of the socioeconomic status of an African American, they may still be treated as being inferior in every respect. This stems from the previously instituted theories of superiority and inferiority that have trickled down to society today. The system of inequality stems from the old belief that darwinism applies to the different ethnicities, and can be seen in the higher mortality rates of minority groups. Although we now attribute the high mortality rates and other distinctions to segregation and other societal factors, the thought process is still there. The United States, whether admittedly or not, perceives majority groups to be of a superior standing, and the minorities to be inferior.

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