Rafting Fun

Rafting Fun

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Anatomy of Hate (Diversity and Culture Event)

I had the opportunity to go and see the showing of the movie The Anatomy of Hate. The movie was done to try to understand where certain groups of people hate other groups and ultimately why we as the human race hate people. The movie had some anthropology concepts that the director used to get a better understanding of what hate truly is and composed of. I did not have really any ideas going into the movie of what it was going to be about except that it was going to look at a few groups of people and their extreme hatred toward another group of people. Also at the end of the movie there was a small discussion between a Christian group on campus Life 180 and a group from the Birmingham Free Thought Society. The movie was very good at showing how awful it can be for one group to hate another group so much. One of the worst groups to me that hated another group was the church that hated the homosexuals and thus hating the USA. This group was the worst to me because I am a Christian and this just makes some people think that we are all like that and in fact this is just a small part and should not be how these people act. The Ku Klux Klan/ Nazis was also a very good display of how much people can disgustingly hate many other groups of people. The movie also showed the hate that exists between the Palestinians and the Israelis. It also showed that the American Army and the Iraqi Army at first did not like each other and even had killed some of each other, but after trying to put aside their differences they end up working together.
The movie was not anthropological because it did not take a holistic approach to learning about the reasons that these groups truly hate each other. It only looked at what is going on now and not really taking into account where the seeds of hatred started. Looking back at where this hatred started would help us to understand why these people hate each other. It did use the emic perspective or informant of each of the groups to let us know how that group of people feels about the other group of people at least at this point in time, but did not expound on past events. It did show that for many of the groups that the older people in the groups would teach or pass on their hatred to the younger generation. This shows that the culture of each group is passed on and not a genetically determined thing that someone will hate another person. This goes right along with what many psychologists and other intellectuals say that our culture is learned as a young child by watching our parents and what is going on around us and that it will most likely stay with us as we grow up. It is in fact as seen in the movie that we learn by watching and then doing what our parents and elders do. The movie showed that many people can get hurt both physically and emotional by the acts of the hate groups, and it was also shown that it does hurt people that are not involved but just innocent bystanders. The director also went into many situations that were obviously in direct opposition to what he believes, but to go into the situation to learn about it and not to impose your own beliefs. This approach of being there to learn about the culture and not to critique or impose your own beliefs is how an anthropologist would do to learn about a culture.
There was also a small discussion after the movie that was pretty good I thought. I thought many of the comments were respectful of the other party, but there were a few that did seem sort of disrespectful and they were from the audience. Overall I thought the discussion was good, but I thought that it should be longer and really give the chance for more of a debate which is what I thought was going to happen. I did like however that it was pointed out that no matter what we stand for that we all want some sort of peace in the world and that we should work together to make the world a better place. It does not mean to abandon our beliefs for others, but to do small things to make the world a better place and as an example from the discussion to recycle.
I agree with many of the statements about how hate is made and why it comes about. I do agree that it does come from a fear of another group and based on this you hate them and try to keep them down so it looks to both of you that you are superior. I do agree that we learn many of our hatreds of people and prejudices towards people come from what we were taught and brought up in as a young child. I think it is evident that most of the people in the world would agree that we should work together to make the world a better place no matter what our beliefs are. I feel that for myself I learned that even though I may not necessarily hate someone or a group of people or at least not as extreme as the groups on the video, that I should try harder to really look for a way to not hold prejudices against people or stereotype them and try to look at them as a person. I also learned that from this I should really try to in my life not be so judgmental of people in my life and not think or talk bad about people groups, but to think the best of groups and not look down on other people or place a strong dislike on the people I don't even know. Overall I thought the movie and discussion was good and that it helped to open my eyes to hatred around the world and ways to improve my life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Safe Zone (Economics and Different Political and Class Ideologies)

The Safe Zone discussion was a place where the topic of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans gender(LGBT) community was discussed in an environment of acceptance of all opinions. This experience was very different from anything I had really experienced growing up in a Southern Baptist Church. This community has always been taught to me that it was wrong and a disgusting thing someone chose to do. I still believe that it is a wrong decision that someone can make, but that it is just the same as any other wrong decision and one that should not cause a hatred of people. The discussion was set up of having 2 informants and about 14 other individuals that were apart of the discussion. The informants were an emic perspective of the LGBT community. One of the informants was a bisexual woman and the other was a gay man. Both first told their story about when they realized they were this way and then when or if they had come out about their decision. The sexual identity of the woman is bisexual meaning that she has an attraction to both female and male and the society has put the constraint that a woman should be attracted to a man. So this woman is going against what many considered the social norm. She told us that she had a male fiance and then ended up breaking it off for some reasons and is now with a woman which she has been with for 9 years. She has come out about her lifestyle as a bisexual woman to everyone and her family has accepted it which in some cases is rare. The man's sexual identity is that he is attracted to a man which is considered wrong also and goes against the social norm of men are supposed to be attracted to women. He has come out to his friends and other people that he is gay but not to his family because they are Muslim and they really hate this lifestyle. We got the holistic view from them in that they told us their whole story of when this lifestyle was first realized and how it has affected their whole life. They also told us their experiences of being apart of the LGBT community and how many people groups view this community.
This discussion did give me some things to think about such as they both said that being gay or bisexual was not a choice, but that they just are and that the choice is to live it out. Even though I don't totally agree with this it was something to think about that maybe they were born with biologically some tendencies toward this lifestyle. I did agree with what they said that when someone is labeled gay that this part takes precedence over who that person is when in reality this is just a small part of who the person is. This fact changed the way I think about a person if they are gay. I will now try to view the person for more than them just being gay and to really try to get to know who they really are. I learned that it is illegal in most states for people of the LGBT community to get married to a person of the same sex. I also learned that it is up to the individual state on whether the people are allowed to get married. I also learned that one of the major issues for these couples is that they can't get benefits for each other such as medical insurance for their partner. One preconceived ideas that I had was that the people of these communities would have nothing to do with religion because many religions really are against that lifestyle. This was dispelled because they are just like any other person and choose whether they want a certain religion apart of their lives. The man said that he believed in God and was trying to decide what type of religion he would want to be apart of. Many of the controversial problems facing the LGBT community was talked about and most of the people at the discussion agreed on the same solution to the problem. One thing I learned is that the LGBT has had hate crimes against them and are trying to get it apart of the hate crime laws. I do not agree with the hate crime laws in general because if it is illegal to kill someone it does not matter what group they are apart of and it is no worse than just a normal murder. So I think as a whole hate crimes should be done away with because it should just be murder for murder or harassment for harassment and have nothing to do with the group of people. So overall there were a few things that were said that change some of my ideas, but overall I still have my same views on this lifestyle.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Global Connection: " A Conversation with Winnie Mandela" (Global Connection)

I went to the “A Conversation with Winnie Mandela” at the Faith Chapel Christian Center. When I first heard of the event I thought it would be something very interesting to go and listen to. I did not know much about what all happened in South Africa and how Winnie Mandela was involved in all of it. I knew that she was the ex-wife of the President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. I knew that there was a big problem there with racism where the ruling whites treated the blacks as inferior. I also knew that Nelson Mandela would eventually come from being imprisoned by the white regime to once it was brought down becoming the first black President and tried to bring the country together. Much of this I learned from watching the movie “Invictus” over the summer and then doing just a little bit of research about what actually happened. So I was not going to this event already knowing a lot about what went on and her role in it.

It was good to get an emic perspective on what really occurred in South Africa and the oppression that the black South Africans faced. The oppression that she talked about that they faced was very similar to what African Americans faced before and during the Civil Rights movement in our country about 50 years ago. She said that the only major difference between what happened in our country and in South Africa was that the racism was in their constitution and ours was not. Due to the similarities in the two movements the Civil Rights movement in our country gave great hope to the movement in South Africa because they were going on relatively the same time, but theirs took much longer to succeed and this happened in 1994. One difference was that in our Civil Rights movement women rarely spent much time in prison but she spent many years in prison during her fight for freedom. It seems that both of our cultures face the same evil of racism and to this day still struggle with it, but we are trying to work and get it overcome. She also said that in both of our cultures education is power and that we need to take advantage of it, and this is something I knew but sometimes take for granted or forget. I learned that she is a very brave and loving person and really cares for her fellow countrymen. I also learned that sometimes we get so caught up in our own culture we forget to look outside of ours and sometimes other cultures are dealing with the same problems or have dealt with them and we can get encouragement from them. This event dispelled for me that all of the white South Africans were the oppressors and in fact most weren’t because she said really it was the ones that were just in power in the government that were bad. Not to sound rude or racist, but from what I heard a lot of what goes on in both races whether black or white still has the race idea and that each one still feels like that they are better than the other. I also dispelled the idea that anyone from Africa was like a tribal person that foraged and hunted, but they are in some parts of Africa cities just like ours.

There were a few other interesting happenings that occurred during the program. One was that some men and women did a native South African dance which was different to a dance that is normally seen in the United States. They danced to a beating drum and they were dressed in grass skirts or animal skin skirt and they wore headdresses. This is just something an American does not see every day. Another interesting thing was the church building that the event was held in is the world’s largest monolithic dome.