posts 16 - 30 of 37
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

Originally posted by iloveikeafood on November 11, 2020 21:48

My lingering question would be how would the world function without negative connotations and stereotypes against certain groups of people? And would it even be possible since everyday we learn and are influenced by different things and create our own opinions?

A world without negative connotations against certain groups would in some sense be a dystopia because the way society and people have evolved place emphasis on differences. While we do learn everyday and form our opinions based on our experiences we still have the lingering ideals that have been ingrained into us for the entirety of our lives. Our opinions are not solely our own when they are influenced by what we have been taught in school, by our families and through the media. We would need almost a factory reset on society in order for all stereotypes to be wiped away because if there is any reminance or trace, there will always be the one person to find it and adopt it as their own opinion (though it really came from someone else). I don't think it would be possible since there's no way to restart and refraim the lenses by which we view society.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Us V.S. Them

As humans I believe it is inevitable to go through life judgment-free. Judgement and differentiation between things/people are natural. It’s different to acknowledge these categories as products of society v.s. using these categories as weapons to discriminate. It’s imminent for humans to have preferences and pre-conceptions, but how we react to these differences will determine our capabilities as a civilization.

I believe judgement is neither good nor bad. It’s good in the sense that it allows for one to exercise freedom of choice and make personal decisions they believe to be the best. Similar to how we were able to pick which pepper we thought was superior. On the other hand, it could be bad if these judgments lead to greater divisions and discrimination against others. It depends on if one chooses to act on their judgements and create separation between people. From this, they grow a mentality of us v.s. them (the others) and act on their hatred against whom they believe to be the enemy.

There are roles for choices in society whether that be picking an outfit for the day, deciding which assignment to do first, or choosing a political candidate to lead a country. Choices range in severity but are absolutely necessary in order for a society to function. As mentioned by Sheena Lyenga in her TED talk, Americans are so used to having a plethora of options presented to them. These options can be overwhelming for some but also act as a way for individuals to stay true to themselves. Even when there are limited choices, there is still an element of freedom to choose something one prefers. Choice dictates our life in many ways and is absolutely necessary.

I do not believe it is possible to build a post-othering society. It is inevitable for there to be differences and categories of people within a nation. Whether it be religion, race, or sexuality, there are distinctions between individuals that perpetuate this idea of “others”. John A. Powell refers to this alternative response to “othering” as “belonging and bridging”. Much like he describes, celebrating our differences is a way in which we can enhance our life rather than enforce exclusion and dehumanization. We are all humans in the end…

To answer @JVG ’s question, “Its a choice to be racist, is that the human nature of choice or a side-effect of a larger issue within our society?”

I would like to believe that racism is not the human nature of choice...since race is a social construct. It’s obviously natural to recognize differences between both yourself and others within a society, but taking it as far as discriminating against others on the basis of race seems like a side-effect of a larger issue. There are circumstances in which people are raised ignorant from their own environment and are therefore racist (although I am in no way defending it). I like to think the human nature of choice encompasses things like what career you’d like to pursue and what you’d like to eat for dinner, not who’d you discriminate against. As mentioned in John A. Powell's article, political leaders tend to weigh in on their supporters and influence their beliefs through the normalization of "othering". In cases like this where racism is prone to grow in presence, I'd say that racism is a product of larger issues within our society."

Lingering question: Would it be better for a society to have an overwhelming amount of choices, or limited choices to prevent division between individuals?

Boston, Massachuesetts, US
Posts: 12

The Utopia issue.

We or they, a question that has likely existed since the beginning of human language. To separate ourselves into categories, so fine tuned that each person is a part of millions. Race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, all of it come into play when being judged every single day. We, women, we, Americans, etc. A world without judgement is a world unknown to all present here, everyone has their own implicit bias, stemming from a range of different backgrounds, because we are all different. That does not necessarily have to be a bad thing however. To get rid of bias is to put us into a Utopian scenario. We must all be the same to have no reason to separate ourselves from others, and while Utopias seem great, we all know that they are doomed to fail. A world with no difference is not one worth living in, so we cannot just push away our differences, we must see them, let them be known, and let them be appreciated. Our differences do not have to drive us a part, they can bring us together, by offering new perspectives on situations.

How does one live in a world without choice? A world without choice is a world so void of individuality, so grey and gloomy. If everything is chosen for you, your entire life laid out ahead, what is the point of living at all? As an American, my bias is that I have always had the opportunity to choose, everything down the narrowest detail, such as what soda, what food at a restaurant, what clothes I wear, and many more. I personally cannot imagine a world with no choices, after constantly having choices bombard me. To me, without choice, there is no individuality, and what is a world without individuality? Is that even realistically possible, as there has to be one person who is different to all the rest, somebody just a little off from others. This brings me to the Utopia issue.

If everyone is the same, and there is no judgement, how can society function? There must be differences in the population for a system to function. Different biases, different experiences all molding together into one. A perfect Utopia can never exist, there will always be hardship, there will always be differences. There can never be no issues in this world, no harmful experience that someone has been through. I won't go into too much depth, but if you have read The Giver, you may know what I am talking about, shielding everyone from hardship is not possible, there is pain and trauma that every person must go through.

In a short sense, yes, biases and judgement can be very harmful, but in a longer sense, because it is impossible to remove bias from any situation, we must learn how to deal with these biases, and address the negative ones. When you see someone on the street, your first perception of them, the first thing you see and your first idea of them as a human being, may not be positive, and that is ok. I am not saying you should act upon that, but it is human nature to be weary of others, to judge quickly before presented any facts. That perception does not need to be harmful however, and in many cultures and environments there are biases drilled into the minds of those who live there, and so their bias is very corrupt and bad, and they don't even realize it most the time.

So I pose the question to you all, is it worth losing all sense of identity, for the simple purpose of eliminating discrimination and bias? And what is left of the world without our differences, that while dividing us, also united us in a sense of individuality, something that humans have never been without?

Boston, Massachuesetts, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by muumihalit on November 11, 2020 17:11

I think it is natural that humans find differences between people and things, as well as similarities and commonalities. Similar to what Sheena Iyenger was saying about multiple choices having minute differences, when provided with 5 choices of pepper, which were obviously all very similar in that they were all red bell peppers, we immediately picked apart their differences from stem shape to how many bumps there were on the bottom, and the differences seemed so extreme that it polarized the chat, leading to “bullying” of certain peppers. But our differences don’t have to divide us, like John A Powell says about “othering”, where as society changes and diversifies rapidly, people emphasize differences as a way to decide who “qualifies as a full member of society”, and who they should fear because of these differences. Powell says that “pulling away from other groups” makes it “easier to tell and believe false stories of ‘us vs them’” which can lead to “supporting practices that dehumanise the ‘them’”. This shows that using differences to create divisions is harmful to society. I think humans inherently judge people based on impressions. Everyone does it but it shouldn’t be a way to divide people. This ties into what Alicia Garza was saying about how the 2016 presidential election turned out the way it did, because white identity was weaponized against all other identities to uphold white power. This would be an example of othering as the changing makeup of America led to divisions, which in turn made it easier to enforce the idea of white supremacy and the dehumanization of “others”.

I agree with him that we should take our differences and use them in “belonging and bridging” rather than “othering”. This means we should celebrate differences as a positive thing that can enhance society because it brings different views to the table and can contribute different cultures to a larger collective culture and societal melting pot. Powell says that we should create a “‘bridge’, reaching across to other groups and towards our inherent, shared humanity and connection, while recognising that we have differences...belonging does not insist that we are all the same. It means we recognise and celebrate our differences, in a society where ‘we the people’ includes all the people.” I want to think positively and optimistically and believe that we can build a post-othering society, but in order for that to happen, humanity needs to come together as Powell mentions, and recognize our differences as well as the privileges some have compared to others. We have to work together for the common good and help those who are struggling.

I think some choices are good because it wouldn’t be beneficial to society to all be the same (same not equal, we should all be equal!), but like Sheena Iyenger said, I believe this has been exaggerated by consumer culture that there are now so many choices, which sometimes have negative consequences. In AP Enviro class we were talking about America’s consumer culture, and the teacher showed us a picture from 1989 when Russian president Boris Yeltsin visited an American grocery store and was amazed at the wide selection available to Americans. I think some choices are good but there comes a point when there are too many. This ties into the environment as well, where because mass consumerism, especially in America, promotes the ideal that we all have to have things, things, things, and use our possessions to show something or prove something, then the production of all these different things has a negative impact on the environment.

@20469154661 ‘s question was: Would having a “colorblind” society”, as @Madagascar said, be more harmful than our current society?. I think having a “colorblind” society would be harmful, because the inequities pertaining to race would not be recognized, which would make it harder to fix them and therefore achieve further racial equality. I believe such a society would be more harmful than our current one because right now, we can identify issues and their connection to race, whether or not society is doing enough to fix them. If we were living in a colorblind society, inequities would still exist but their very important connection to race would not be recognized, so racial inequities across all categories like education, housing, healthcare, etc., could even deepen. My lingering question that I would like to know other opinions on is: Is it beneficial to society to have more choices or fewer choices, and are there specific examples where one is better than the other?

In response to your question, "is it beneficial to society to have more choices or fewer choices, and are there specific examples where one is better than the other" I say that it is beneficial to a society to have a more choices, rather than fewer, however I can and will argue for both sides. The idea of having more questions, while it gives the oportunity for more division, allows for uniqueness, which in my opinion is very necessary in life. Having fewer choices, such as less soda options, less clothing options, etc, while lessening the level of uniqueness, also makes it easier for people to blend in and have a shared perspective and idea, which calls for less othering. However, with fewer choices, may come stricter diving and othering. Say there are 3 shirt colors you can choose from, yellow, pink and blue. People wearing yellow shirts seem to have something to draw connection to, same with the other shirt colors, and those who are not wearing the same shirt colors are othered stronger than if there were hundreds of colors and types. In my opinion, it is either give a society more choices, or give them none at all, because fewer choices will create harsher divide.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

The Importance of Division

Judgment is necessary for society. People automatically sort themselves into groups in order to figure out where they fit in the best.

When we saw the peppers in the slideshow, we instantly took sides and ranked some peppers. I have never in my life ranked a group of peppers like this. The whole class was very vocal about some silly fruits. If things appear different to us, we automatically sort them into groups and we often have preconceived ideas about the groups we sort them into. We saw pepper 2 and most people instantly agreed that it was the best. Before being told to judge the peppers we had already gone to the chat and had arguments about which one was the best. I believe that it is just human nature to judge things immediately.

Judgment is not inherently good or inherently bad. It all depends on the subject matter. If you are choosing which pepper is best, then your judgment is harmless. But when your judgment harms someone or leads to you harming someone else, then that judgment is bad. The whole idea of good things and bad things is all a matter of personal freedoms.

I don’t think it is possible to imagine a world without judgment because people look differently and act differently from each other. People will always put themselves into categories and I don’t think there is any way to get around it. A post-othering society would be nice to have but I think it goes against human nature and would be completely impossible.

To answer @Fidget, I don’t think it is worth it to make that sacrifice. I wouldn’t accept anything to lose my identity and individuality. Without our differences, there couldn’t be a society because if everyone was the same, then what is the point of existing at all?

My lingering question is: Do people automatically make judgments or is it a choice on how you judge them?

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

Pepper: Choices, Discrimination and Judgements

I want to try to answer the question, “Is it possible for a world to exist without discrimination? Without judgment?” first without taking in any information from the sources to speak out my unbiased unchanged opinion. I feel like it is not possible to live in a world where judgement exists, however that may not be the case for discrimination. I feel like of course discrimination stems from judgements, and prejudices, however they aren’t synonymous. Discrimination, is the action you take after making these judgements. So I feel like if you were to judge that women aren’t as good workers as men, you’re not actually discriminating against women until you choose to give a job to an under qualified man, for the simple fact that he is not a woman. This is I feel could be possible for society maybe in a distant future, however this would be difficult as I said, because judgements will always exist. One reason for judgments is how people are raised. They’re raised around certain things so they're used to certain things, or they’ve been through certain things, ect. Someone who grows up in poverty is less likely to make judgments about someone who lives in poverty, as opposed to someone who grew up with wealth. However what I just mentioned, are only examples of judgements before you actually know the person, but making judgements will always be around because of the fact that it is simply human nature. Whenever you meet someone and you learn about who they are, and the things they do, it will be impossible to remain indifferent towards every person you meet. You will probably form opinions and make judgements based on what you perceive from that person. So my answer BEFORE seeing any of the recourses is that yes it may be possible for the world to exist without discrimination, but no it will be impossible for the world to exist without any judgments. And now that I have watched, read and taken the articles into account, my views haven’t necessarily changed, but they do have me questioning my what I said about discrimination. After hearing Sheena Iyengar present about the art of choosing it made me think about how the American mindset of choosing will make it impossible for discrimination to not exist. When she mentioned the soda example and how some people in Eastern Europe, when offered seven different soda choices see it as just a choice between soda and no soda, whereas in America, it would commonly be seen as seven different choices between the soda types. Ms. Iyengar herself even jokes about Coke being better than Pepsi, though they’re almost the exact same drink. This American perception of choices and ranking your choices from worst to best is one of the things that forms and strengthens discrimination. Ms. Iyengar says that Americans work their whole to spot the difference, and this is why after further reflection I do change my mind actually (It changed as I was explaining, writing and processing more). Judgements, choices and discrimination work hand in hand, and It will be impossible to live in a world without discrimination and judgements.

My question is, Is it moral to create a world where people don’t make their own choices, and would this solve discrimination?

Posts: 12


Discrimination and judging is something that is apart of human nature. We’ve been doing it forever, such as when the Europeans began to colonize the world and saw themselves as more superior. In our current society, discrimination and judging will forever remain as an aspect of socializing. We must choose because it is altered by our nature to discriminate and judge.

Discrimination and judging is both bad and good. When one hears that someone committed a heinous crime like murder, people will come to quickly judge that person as a horrible person. We would all begin to generalize and assume that the murderer is evil and a bad person, that he should be excluded from society. Therefore, this type of discrimination and judging is good and essential to society as it allows people to see right from wrong. People choose to not do such crimes when they see the response of society. However, discrimination and judging can also be bad for things like identity and culture. As John Powell said, politicians and the media help manipulate people’s perspectives on different cultures and identities. Many people do not actually have any real life experience regarding those cultures and their people, but they grow their assumptions from such things like politicians and media. This leads to exclusion to particular groups of people. Trump’s ban on immigration muslim immigration during 2017 is an example of this as it led to discrimination from his supporters to muslims. Many of the supporters then choose to have negative views on muslims.

Even though many people’s choices are manipulated as stated before, there are roles for choices in society. In most societies around the world, most people are allowed to make choices for most things that have to do with their daily life. Even supposed “communist” societies today allow for their citizens to generally choose what they want to do. Most of us get to decide what we want to drink, eat, do with our money, do with our leisure time, and et cetera. Choices are essential to making society function properly because it allows people to choose what they want to specialize in. People get to choose what interests them, which allows them to work harder and be more interested in their job. When people are allowed to specialize in what they want to do, it creates an efficient economy, which results in more people being happy.

I do not think it is possible for a world to exist without discrimination or judging, so it is not possible to build a post-othering society. People are influenced by the environment they grow up in. A lot of the beliefs people have are generated from their surroundings. Therefore, when a new group is introduced into their life, their upbringing has a lot to do with their reaction. Someone who lives in a rural area where everyone has the same discriminatory and judging beliefs will most likely have a negative reaction to that new group of people. Garza shows this by talking about how blacks people and women can be white supremacists. When you compare this to someone from an urban city, their reactions will probably be more inclusive as they grew up in a place where new groups enter all the time.

@Wardo: In response to your question, I think it is not moral to create a world where people don’t make their own choices. Not only is this basically communism, it would definitely not solve discrimination. Unfortunately society needs to have different classes, where there’s a class with more power. Without it, then there won’t be any centralized power. However, with classes, there will be discrimination as people become jeolous or feel more superior. There is really up and downs for everything.

Lingering Question: Do you think humans are the only species that discriminate and judge, or is it just a part of nature?

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by leafinthewind on November 12, 2020 00:24

My lingering question is: Do people automatically make judgments or is it a choice on how you judge them?

I don't fully understand this question, but I do think that people automatically make judgements. As I mentioned in my paragraphs above, as soon as you interact with someone, as in meeting them you will form opinions and make a judgement about whether you like or don't like that person, and to truly understand why you like or don't like that person you will have to make more judgements, maybe they're really funny, or maybe the person is too condescending, so you feel you don't like that person. Regardless, people automatically make judgements about others, and sometimes it's needed to be able to fully engage with a person and understand how you feel about them, and I feel it is nearly impossible for people to stay indifferent towards anyone, to have an opinion is what makes a person a person.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

The Power of a Choice

The answer to “must we discriminate among things/people?”, differs based on what the definition of discrimination is considered to be. One form of the definition is about perceiving differences and this I believe is a natural tactic. It’s the comparison between two apples: one is red, one is green, one is round, one is tall, one is bruised, one is untouched, and one is old, one is fresh. It’s rather common knowledge that we amongst the other humans we see everyday have all evolved from primates and later neanderthals. Neanderthals and their offspring for thousands of years were hunter gatherers, meaning that they developed some sorts of prejudice against particular plants and animals. This helped them know what was safe to eat and hunt and what was not, as an idea on a particular berry that looks similar to a berry that caused your fellow neanderthal to drop dead is actually very helpful. And as technology and food evolved with human being, so did our prejudice. We were not longer searching for the juiciest berry or deer, we were searching for the sheep with the thickest coat, the plumpest cow, and the cleanest water. In current times we search for the newest phone, fastest computer, and the biggest house, and that is human nature. So in this sense, discrimination can be pretty goodHuman nature is wanting what you think you need to survive, and our American perceptions of what is necessary have escalated as more options hit the markets. Many Americans are used to going to a grocery store and having so many options of the exact same food, whether it be fruit, milk, or soda, which is something that many other countries don’t get to experience. In Sheena Iyenger’s TEDTalk, she discussed a study about citizens in post-Soviet Union regions to choose a specific brand of soda out of the seven given. The subjects were confused as to what was different about the sodas as soda there is just soda, there’s no Sprite or ginger ale, just generic soda.

The most common known definition of discrimination is based on prejudice and the outlooks and actions that stem from it. This prejudice usually refers to members of a particular race, gender identity, or sex. Unlike the first definition of discrimination mentioned, this type of discrimination has no evidence behind it, no reasoning, just blind sided preconceived opinions towards a particular group of people. This prejudice is almost always unjustified and negative, and usually stems from parents as kids, not giving the prejudiced person time or space to think for themselves or gather evidence. This prejudice creates stereotypes that feed into others being prejudiced, creating an endless cycle of ignorance that feeds off of inequality. Everyone, no matter the race, gender identity, or sex, is pitted against each other, whether it be by society in everyday physical life, or society in everyday media. The beauty standard is constantly being thrown in the faces of susceptible teenage girls, especially those of color, who feel like they’ll never be enough as they compare themselves to the tall, white, skinny models they see being shoved down their throats on social media. And when the media switches up on occasion and shows us a tall, skinny woman of color, the comments are usually filled with backhanded compliments by women or straight up racist and sexist comments by younger men, showing that people will be unhappy no matter who or what your try to represent. I do think it is possible that there could be a society where nobody must be discriminated against, but it would either have to start fresh with a completely new society of people who couldn’t even define discrimination, or perhaps it could be our society in hundreds or thousands of years to come, if we make it that long.

Now in terms of judgement and choice making, they are an essential part of everyday life, and life would be much different if there were no choices to make, as I don’t think it would exist. Similar to the first paragraph of discrimination definition 1, judgement is all about comparison. You can only truly form an opinion on something when you explore your options and compare their qualities side by side. Like the peppers, everyone single item you own was compared with other versions and models, but something just set the item you took home over the top. The shirt you’re wearing right now you most likely chose on multiple occasions: when it cam into your line of sight, you chose to take it instead of leaving it there and today, you chose to wear it compared to anything you own. Every single thing you do is a choice, or at least it stems from one you’ve made previously. Overall, choices are a good thing because they give you the freedom to do something you want to do, not something others made you do, and there are roles for choices in society because society is formed on choices and what you choose to make of them.

Do you think that if we started a completely new society without any lingering prejudice(based on race or sex), prejudice would develop amongst them meaning that prejudice is inherent?

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11


I believe that it is extremely unlikely that there will ever be a period in time where there is no discrimination. As creatures evolve, they become more complex and begin to desire more whether it be knowledge or material things. As humans become more and more complex as they learn more and are influenced by their surroundings, they have a need to define themselves and see where they fit in society. An example of this is gender. In my opinion, I believe that binary genders should be eliminated because they don’t define what I wear, how I act, or how I present myself. It has only been used to define roles in society such as the woman taking care of the household and the men going out to work. That being said, it seems impossible to destroy the binary genders because there are too many people who accept this in their societies.

I think that judging others is not inherently a bad thing but I do believe that it could very easily be turned into something malicious. As said in the Guardian article, many politicians weaponize people’s differences to create hatred and fear and influence people to choose a side (i.e. Republican or Democrat). The point of judging is to compare a certain person to myself and see where they stand in society or what their role in society is. As humans, we continuously compare ourselves, which can be seen through the beauty standards, certain jobs that are considered as respectable compared to others, and etc.

I think that it is important that we don’t try to make everyone the same (i.e. eugenics) since it is obvious that with over 7 billion people that there are and will always be millions of different cultures, languages, standards, traditions, and etc, but that we acknowledge everyone’s differences and let each other coexist. The idea of uniting everyone by destroying evidence of our differences is absurd and will create more tensions in said society. In the TedTalk, Alicia Garza talks about how the United States preaches that all of its people are the same and how that completely disregards that the United States itself is very diverse meaning that people come from different backgrounds with a range of accessibility to opportunities. I believe that we cannot try to brush social justice issues under the rug or try to make everyone follow the same religion, speak the same language, etc; we are all very different in many ways and that shouldn’t be changed since our differences are not harming others. As said in the article by John Powell, “belonging does not insist that we are all the same. It means that we recognise and celebrate our differences, in a society where ‘we the people’ includes all the people.”

I believe that roles for choices in society should exist but allow people to choose what they want and teach children a variety of different things so that their future choices won’t be strictly narrowed down to a few choices due to lack of exposure. Having roles can be beneficial for a society because it can influence change/ advancements in technology and curiosity to explore new ideas since people are working in many different fields.

The question from @JGV is “It’s a choice to be racist, is that the human nature of choice or a side-effect of a larger issue within our society?” I think that it is a combination of both - it is human nature to put labels on others to define them or compare ourselves to them and these feelings and judgements could quickly escalate into something malicious as people begin to find it acceptable to blame a certain group of people. In certain societies built on racism and slavery, like the United States, people can be unknowingly racist because certain aspects of it are deemed acceptable in society for so long. An example of this is the fact that our police system originated from officers whose job was to catch enslaved people who escaped.

A question I have is how can we as a society function without any biases towards each other and how can we get rid of hundred of years of bigotry and ingrained stereotypes in said society?

Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 12

I was a bit tired when I wrote this, but at least I made the choice to be funny...the good and bad judgement cancel out. PEMDAS

I think judgement is necessary. And that thougt is in and of itself is proof, because that thought in and of itself is a judgement. Certainly judgement is highly necessary for the world we currently live in. At the moment I am deciding whether to keep writing this essay even though it is 12:16 in the morning. The version of myself that existed two hours ago judged that it was best to watch just a few more tiktoks (except actually me two hours ago knew that was bad judgement and went through with it regardless...hundreds of tiktoks later, here we are). And my current judgement on whether or not I will do this homework now is necessary because when and how I do my homework will change how Ms. Freeman grades it, and my score on this assignment will impact my term grade, which college admissions officers will use to judge whether or not I am accepted into that school. The college I attend will be judged by my potential employers for the rest of my life and will most definitely shape who I become and where I derive my happiness. So, in my life, every choice matters.

But hypothetically, in a different world, one so vastly different that humans are not called humans and the species that rules the Earth has three eyes and five legs, are choices necessary? I think so. Hopefully, even in this hypothetical world, people still have drive and the ability to feel. I don’t know about you, but I am driven by happiness. No, doing my homework right now (somehow it is now 12:40) may not currently be sparking joy(sorry Ms. Freeman), but it will let me get into a college I am happy at, and I would rather not spend the next four years of my life absolutely miserable, so here I am, doing my homework. So let’s say that in our hypothetical world, people are still driven by happiness. They will always have to choose the thing that makes them happy in order to stay motivated, because motivation is needed for life so that things can be accomplished and the species doesn’t die off. And so, even in this odd world, judgement is needed.

Let’s take it a step further, dear reader. Let’s pretend these people, if we can even call them that, don’t feel happiness - they completely lack emotion. Even then judgement is necessary to keep each of these beings alive. They choose whether to eat the poisonous berry or the safe one. They choose whether or not to fight whatever predator may be hunting them. And if they don’t make these choices then the species dies out. So maybe, in the broadest sense, choices aren’t strictly necessary, but only to the extent that life isn’t necessary. But so long as the human race wants to keep moving forward, choices are necessary for basic survival and many more choices are necessary for a quality life.

And no, I don’t think it is possible to create a “post-othering” society. While it may be possible for that othering to lessen, to move from “this concept is completely alien and wholly bad” to “I do not currently understand or agree with this thing, but recognize that it exists due to somebody’s complex worldview that I am able to respect,” choices demand that something be seen as slightly different than something else. Coke and Pepsi may not be different, but Coke and water certainly are. But, again, I think it is possible (and preferable) that we work towards a world where a difference in opinion does not mean a difference in what fundamental rights people think that humans deserve. Perhaps instead of ushering the other out the door, we instead sit it at the table next to us (if you are currently using judgement, which hopefully you are because I have just told you it is necessary for life, you will judge the metaphor I have just used as bad. Thanks for noticing! I am always happy to keep you on your toes).

I really do not know what can be done right now, but I am a big fan of trying to understand other people complexly, and think that is the first step.

@Hero asks: Do you think humans are the only species that discriminate and judge, or is it just a part of nature?

No, hero, I do not think humans are the only species that discriminate and judge! Look at wolves, who pick alpha males to be their leader. Look at my pet (species redacted because people might connect it to my identity) who has most definitely chosen me as her favorite human! Judgement is everywhere, a part of evolution.

My lingering question: How do you think we know what the best decision is?

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by hero on November 12, 2020 00:45

Lingering Question: Do you think humans are the only species that discriminate and judge, or is it just a part of nature?

I think this is a very interesting question! Most animals are known to be very flashy when looking for a mate, trying to make themselves appear larger or more colorful in order to be considered. In this sense I think other species judge each other because they want mates who stand out in a group and would make the most viable offspring, but I'm unsure if they would discriminate because one's colors are more dull than the rest.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

Life of Choices

I believe that we will never be able to live in a society where there is no discrimination because it is so rooted into our society and our personalities. We are all so quick to judge people because of our unconscious biases and it is a natural thing for us to do. We judge people based on how they look, what they wear, how they talk and more because it is a natural response from us. I agree with @madagascar when they said “I do believe that we must discriminate among things and people, however not discriminate against them.” This answers the question of “must we judge”, and that is that we should judge some things in order to make life decisions and it is necessary for us to make good choices, we can judge these things. We must judge things to determine if they are good or bad things and to determine if these things or people would benefit us and if it is a good choice. We must judge if a job would benefit our career or judge if our friends are good friends. We are constantly making choices based off our judgments, just like the pepper example where we made a choice of which pepper we liked better based off our judgements on the peppers appearances and we had not learned anything about them besides what they look like. I do not believe that we should discriminate against people because it can hurt those people. We should not discriminate against people for things they can not choose.

It is impossible to live in a world where we are not making choices based on our judgments because making choices is a thing we encounter everyday and is a natural thing to us. These choices shape our identity and our future so these judgments are important. These judgements are not excuses to discriminate though, we must respect and value each other and work very hard to not let our unconscious biases affect our judgements and how we treat people. I liked how Alicia Garza talks about how “identity politics is not oppression Olympics” meaning that it is unnecessary to talk about who is more oppressed, but rather work together to make sure nobody is oppressed. She also talks about how people do not want to talk about injustices or inequalities because it divides people. My question is: Will we ever live in a world where we do not let our unconscious biases affect our judgements?

Charlestown, MA
Posts: 6

implicit biases

I think that we are conditioned to judge others. People often have the same political views as their parents when they're adults. This proves that what they teach us, we carry on into our adulthood. In order to break away from what your parents/society taught you, you must first be aware of your implicit biases and actively unlearn them. People believe that how they think is just human nature because that is how everybody around them thinks but when you leave the country, people think drastically differently. For example, people from different countries have very different opinions on choice. It is easy for someone in the United States to think that extreme competition is just "human nature" but it is actually just because they were raised in a capitalist society. Throughout history and today in other countries, people have proved that competition isn't just "human nature." People have lived communally and helped each other with basic human needs without competing for resources, for example, some Native American tribes live communally and do not judge the other people within their community. I think this shows how people are able to live with out interpersonal judgments.

When thinking about the pepper experiment, I noticed how a lot of people's reasoning was based on how "useful" the pepper seemed. People did not pick the pepper who couldn't stand up on its own or that looked wonky. They picked what they presumed was the tastiest or crunchiest pepper because those are the peppers most useful qualities. I think that we were conditioned to think this way because we grew up in a capitalist society. We were taught that our worth is only based on how much we can contribute to society. People with disabilities are less useful to capitalism so they are "othered" just like the pepper who couldn't stand up on its own.

I think that we were also conditioned to judge our food choices which can cause a lot of waste. Farmers will throw away food that isn't "pretty" because people wont pick ugly food from the grocery store. This is another unnecessary judgment. I think that we can also be taught to be thankful for food and not be so judgmental which would save a lot of waste and help the planet and human kind.

To respond to dennis12's question: Will we ever live in a world where we do not let our unconscious biases affect our judgments?

I think that people are always going to have unconscious biases so there is no way that they could not affect peoples judgments. The only way to get rid of these biases is to be aware of them, if they are unconscious then there is no way to move past them and to not allow them to affect your decision making. I think we could live in a world with less judgments but there will never be a world with zero judgments. I think that in order for there to be less judgments we would have to start with a clean slate. I think that the world is too far gone at this point with the history of racism and various genocides based off of different peoples traits(religion, race, nationality, etc.) to have a world without judgments. Judgments are already so engrained into how the world works right now that after hundreds of years of hate, I don't see a world where we could just stop. People will always want to feel important and one way to do that is to "other" people so that you are superior in the eyes of society.

My question: Is competition human nature or is it taught by capitalist societies?

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Judgment Judgment Judgment

Choice and the ability to discern are ingrained within our society. Woven and integrated into our lives from the moment we wake up to the moment we hit our pillow—everything we do and associate ourselves with ties back to the ideas of choice and judgment. Because of this, I would rationally deduce that we are unable to function well, as a society, without the presence of judgment and discrimination. Society as a collective has always integrated a hierarchical formation, which can be seen within India’s caste system that started in 1500 BC. Thus, using judgment to distinguish between people/things is only a natural response. On a smaller scale, you can also see this type of judgment within workplaces and schools: CEOs/principals on top, students on the bottom. If CEOs had the same power as their interns, nothing would be taken seriously. There needs to be an established hierarchical power dynamic for the company to function properly—and I think that also goes for society’s functionings as well.

In the TedTalk video, Iyengar mentioned that many of us were taught how to “spot the difference” at a very young age, and thus we assume that everyone has that type of capability. This assertion comes with the inferred assumption that “spotting the difference” aka acquiring an “us vs. them” mentality is taught or at least fostered/sealed into our minds as impressionable children. I don't think this necessarily means that society would function well without choice/judgment; I think it simply means that we, as children, are pushed to exercise/recognize our natural abilities to pick and choose once we enter the “real world.”

Iyengar also mentioned that when “spotting the difference” between things, there often are very little changes between our choices. She even stated that most people cannot tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, yet society is naturally compelled to coin Coke as the better soda (similar to how we naturally have an Us vs Them mentality). Tying her statement back into the pepper exercise, a lot of the votes in our class were spread apart. There was admittedly a winner, but other peppers got a good chunk of votes as well. Like Iyengar said, choosing between people/things with little variation can be difficult, but we all ultimately act upon our personal intuition and work in our individual interests. There was little/no discussion. We all had our own opinions to work with, so the results were varied. Thus, the judgments that we make individually come naturally to us, but the judgments we make as a society (like Coke being better than Pepsi) are taught.

Bskittles asked: Is competition human nature or is it taught by capitalist societies?

As I mentioned before, judgment and discrimination and competition can be seen within India’s caste system that dates back to 1500 BC. That was way before the industrial revolution (18th C) and the birth of capitalism (17th C). I will say, however, that competition plays a huge role in capitalist societies. Whether it be marketing strategy, pricing, or product design, there is always something or someone to compete with. As someone who knows much about corporate America, I know that entire brand strategies are formulated around other competitors. It’s a constant push and pull, offence and defense. Thus, it is not capitalist societies that ingrain competition into our minds, but rather, it is competition that controls capitalist societies. But, on an even broader scale, it is competition and judgment than controls anyone and everything.

My question is: When was a time when you found yourself making a serious judgment/choice? What was it about? What did you end up doing, and why?

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