posts 16 - 28 of 28
TraderJoe's
Posts: 12

I judge others to save myself..

I'll start with this: I have always been an indecisive person. I think about all my choices deeply, whether it be as trivial as what cereal to purchase or as major as should I break off a relationship. Sometimes, I choose not to choose at all, and give the responsibility/burden of choosing to someone else. You would think I hate choosing, as it is time consuming and draining for me. But no, weirdly enough, I love having choices. I think choice is beautiful, despite the psychological torture it puts me through. Maybe that attests to the way American culture has brainwashed me.

But, we must choose and we must discriminate and judge. Choosing, discriminating, and judging are all survival mechanisms you need for this day and age. It is all necessary to our survival, whether that survival be social or economic, we must always choose. This can be choosing a health plan that works for you, choosing a college to go to, choosing whether or not to have children, etc. Life shouldn't be a one size fit all where we aren't given choice. We must make choices for ourselves, it is a matter of judging what works best for you and making that decision.

As for judgement, I think judgement can both keep you safe and harm you. I see judgment as protective barrier when I'm outside. I'll make snap decisions on whether or not I should choose to sit next to someone on the train, or choose whether or not to engage with a stranger. For example, I would rather sit on the train next to a woman or a girl than to sit next to a man. My snap decision stems from judgement. I want to think that making these judgements protects me. However, I acknowledge that at the same time, this judgement can hurt my mindset and worldview, and lead to stereotyping and othering. From the Us vs Them article, othering can hurt minorities and put them in danger as people in power can suggest or even blatantly shun a group of people. The article goes on to provide a solution to othering, through building bridges and connecting people. When we are connected, we don't villainize each other into stereotypes, rather everyone belongs. Judging others makes me feel safe, but perhaps it is that I don't understand others is where my initial fear came from. So.. must we judge? Well, no. I believe we should work towards building bridges and preventing othering, in a way where everyone can belong. When you know about someone or where they come from, you don't need to judge when you already know. Knowing is safe. Knowing and respecting others is true safety.

I won't be blind to say that choice is the greatest thing in the world and oh my god where would I be without it. But I will say the having choice is a gray area between good and evil. In reference to Iyengar's Ted Talk, we, in America, think choice is great, and attribute it to freedom and liberty, and as result happiness. But Iyengar also reveals in her study that the parents who chose to take their infant of life support, were more unhappy than those who weren't given a choice. Ironically, these parents still would have wanted to make the choice rather than have their doctor do it for them. We were conditioned to believe that the grass is greener on America, that we must value the great amount of choices that were given. In Japan, seen with Iyengar's study of children choosing anagrams, the Japanese children performed better when they were told that their mother chose for them. The Japanese make their choices a collective act. It builds their community, the very idea that they trust another enough to make a challenging, potentially, life changing decision. Choice is neither good nor bad, but it is necessary, whether this choice comes from you or someone you respect. There is always a choice to be made in every aspect of your life. Having choices lets you be open to more things. Choice is essential to making society function. If everything was all laid out for us, no choice necessary, we wouldn't be open to other things. I think we'd be close minded, used to our everyday activities that was already set in stone, and wouldn't have exposure to anything else.

It is impossible to live in a world without discrimination and judgement. I think it is naive to think so. In my previous paragraph where I talk about judgement, I talk about how we need to build bridges with each other in order for us to not judge anymore. In theory this sounds great. But in practice, I know that I will go about my life continuing to judge others as a safety mechanisms rather than build bridges. Life isn't that clear cut or fantastical and bad things happen. Humans must judge to save themselves.

My lingering question is this: If mankind stops judging others, would we be safer that way? In other words, if we always gave that stranger the benefit of the doubt, would we be safer not judging them and be more connected as a community? Is judging a necessity to have to protect ourselves or does that very notion stem from stereotypes and othering?

TraderJoe's
Posts: 12

Originally posted by UnKnown on November 12, 2020 01:10

My question is, how do you think we can control when to judge and choose in order to see less discrimination and judging in this country?

If everyone takes a small step each day to notice their implicit bias and judgement, we can start to curb the discrimination in this country. Doing something just as small to acknowledging that you could be unconsciously judging someone for their religion, race, or whatever it may be, can help you prevent taking action that is racially charged. I also think they way we choose our leaders can help us to control our judgement. In the Us vs Them article, politicians are huge factors in affecting our mindset when it comes to minority groups. Choosing a leader that represents belonging and bridging the gap between everyone, will bring us far.

The Imposter
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Pepper 3, what a cutie

Sheena's TED Talk in regards to choice was certainly an interesting one, the way she touched upon how our own socialization of the environment around us can affect our choices so drastically, as shown by the Asian-americans being much more inclined to do something if instructed by their mothers compared to the other children. It definitely provided me with another perspective with which to think when observing people make decisions that I myself would find questionable. It's all a matter of our socialization, and even brings the nature versus nurture argument into question. Which, actually kind of leads into my next point of implicit bias being a matter of nature that may not be able to be "fixed". When you think about it, things like implicit bias could actually even be some type of genetic ~thing~ we picked up along the way as human beings, as our origins do begin with us being hunter-gatherers for a very long time. In that tenure, people clearly came across threats and such that they otherwise wouldn't have thought were, you know, threats. So along the way we had to pick up the ability to develop a quick-witted, preconceived notion of anything that surrounds us, and then pick out the potentially threatening/prominent signs (like stereotypes), and then use that to make a judgement. Perhaps. Just as we made quick-witted decisions as to which pepper was the best, solely based on their appearance, and in some cases, some background pepper knowledge!

Even so, there have been studies conducted where they'd show babies certain dolls of certain skin tones, and most babies described the lighter-skinned dolls as prettier, while also describing the darker-skinned ones as ugly. A blatant implicit bias such as this, from a child, no less, could not possibly be written into the nature of a child who doesn't know any better. Biases, judgements, and discriminations similar to that, must be socialized into the human mind at some point; for children, this is most likely when doing something as seemingly harmless as watching TV. That's where Powell's "Us vs them" article comes into play, and I completely agree that things such as the semantics played by politics and politicians has a crucial role in inadvertently birthing these biases people's heads. It doesn't stop as politics, though. With the way we have embedded media into the daily necessities of our lives, the division will continue and impressionable people such as children, people who are uneducated, or whoever else, will fall prey to the internalization of these biases and judgements. For that reason, I don't think it is possible to build a post-othering society with the systems and values we hold as people, not only in this nation, but globally. We clearly wouldn't be able to transition to a time of no biases or presumptive judgements in the state we are in as a species at this current moment, unfortunately.


What do you think? Is there a way to eliminate preconceived notions and implicit biases from everyone? Is such a society possible? And furthermore, would such a society be the first steps to possible global peace/a utopia? Since baseless presumptions about one another seem to be most of our problems nowadays...

The Imposter
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Answer

Originally posted by TraderJoe's on November 12, 2020 01:16

I'll start with this: I have always been an indecisive person. I think about all my choices deeply, whether it be as trivial as what cereal to purchase or as major as should I break off a relationship. Sometimes, I choose not to choose at all, and give the responsibility/burden of choosing to someone else. You would think I hate choosing, as it is time consuming and draining for me. But no, weirdly enough, I love having choices. I think choice is beautiful, despite the psychological torture it puts me through. Maybe that attests to the way American culture has brainwashed me.

But, we must choose and we must discriminate and judge. Choosing, discriminating, and judging are all survival mechanisms you need for this day and age. It is all necessary to our survival, whether that survival be social or economic, we must always choose. This can be choosing a health plan that works for you, choosing a college to go to, choosing whether or not to have children, etc. Life shouldn't be a one size fit all where we aren't given choice. We must make choices for ourselves, it is a matter of judging what works best for you and making that decision.

As for judgement, I think judgement can both keep you safe and harm you. I see judgment as protective barrier when I'm outside. I'll make snap decisions on whether or not I should choose to sit next to someone on the train, or choose whether or not to engage with a stranger. For example, I would rather sit on the train next to a woman or a girl than to sit next to a man. My snap decision stems from judgement. I want to think that making these judgements protects me. However, I acknowledge that at the same time, this judgement can hurt my mindset and worldview, and lead to stereotyping and othering. From the Us vs Them article, othering can hurt minorities and put them in danger as people in power can suggest or even blatantly shun a group of people. The article goes on to provide a solution to othering, through building bridges and connecting people. When we are connected, we don't villainize each other into stereotypes, rather everyone belongs. Judging others makes me feel safe, but perhaps it is that I don't understand others is where my initial fear came from. So.. must we judge? Well, no. I believe we should work towards building bridges and preventing othering, in a way where everyone can belong. When you know about someone or where they come from, you don't need to judge when you already know. Knowing is safe. Knowing and respecting others is true safety.

I won't be blind to say that choice is the greatest thing in the world and oh my god where would I be without it. But I will say the having choice is a gray area between good and evil. In reference to Iyengar's Ted Talk, we, in America, think choice is great, and attribute it to freedom and liberty, and as result happiness. But Iyengar also reveals in her study that the parents who chose to take their infant of life support, were more unhappy than those who weren't given a choice. Ironically, these parents still would have wanted to make the choice rather than have their doctor do it for them. We were conditioned to believe that the grass is greener on America, that we must value the great amount of choices that were given. In Japan, seen with Iyengar's study of children choosing anagrams, the Japanese children performed better when they were told that their mother chose for them. The Japanese make their choices a collective act. It builds their community, the very idea that they trust another enough to make a challenging, potentially, life changing decision. Choice is neither good nor bad, but it is necessary, whether this choice comes from you or someone you respect. There is always a choice to be made in every aspect of your life. Having choices lets you be open to more things. Choice is essential to making society function. If everything was all laid out for us, no choice necessary, we wouldn't be open to other things. I think we'd be close minded, used to our everyday activities that was already set in stone, and wouldn't have exposure to anything else.

It is impossible to live in a world without discrimination and judgement. I think it is naive to think so. In my previous paragraph where I talk about judgement, I talk about how we need to build bridges with each other in order for us to not judge anymore. In theory this sounds great. But in practice, I know that I will go about my life continuing to judge others as a safety mechanisms rather than build bridges. Life isn't that clear cut or fantastical and bad things happen. Humans must judge to save themselves.

My lingering question is this: If mankind stops judging others, would we be safer that way? In other words, if we always gave that stranger the benefit of the doubt, would we be safer not judging them and be more connected as a community? Is judging a necessity to have to protect ourselves or does that very notion stem from stereotypes and othering?

While I don't think judging and preconceived notions can't be directly chocked up to stereotypes and othering, I believe they play the greatest role in doing so. I believe that the origins of our judgements and biases as people come from a natural and biological need for assurance that we are, in fact, safe from any harm. However, I do think that if, somehow, all these stereotyping, judgements, implicit biases, and such come to a halt, that we, as humans, will be able to reach the closest thing to peace we've seen. All that negative energy just gotta go, you feel? We would certainly be more connected as a community, likely consolidating trust with strangers as opposed to feeling distrust.

TroutCowboy
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

Without judgement, we are but animals.

I'm of the firm belief that discrimination and judgment are consequences of evolutionary traits that we as humans picked up in order to survive. I don't think the existence of bias or discrimination should be new or eye-opening to anyone, but I can appreciate how Sheena Iyengar was able to put numbers behind the concepts, and show that these are reactions we pick up from birth. In this regard, I don't think judgment is something we can eliminate in our society, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. judgment is what has allowed the human species to efficiently categorize and make decisions on the information we pick up from the world around us, and I believe it's what separates us from animals. The problem arises when we apply these evolutionoary thought processes to a civilized society, one full of fellow humans, who are all likewise hard-coded to cast judgment upon everybody else. The rise of "society" as we know it was sudden in ur human timeline, and as such humans are still inclined to make judgments in much the same way as our ancestors did. This, unfortunately, gives way for us often to treat our fellow humans as something lesser than ourselves, and while we slowly integrate more people to our "in-group" as we mature, we still leave strangers in the "out-group". This is where "othering", as Josh Powell describes it, comes from, and it's an unfortunate circumstance of our evolution. Still, I think our ability to cast judgment and group objects and people is what makes us distinctly human, and I think the "correct" way of casting judgment is in doing so with a sense of self-awareness. judgment is something of a mainstay within our species, but bias can be eliminated in the civilized world. Judging our own judgments upon other people is our means of doing so, and while there's no ideal "world without judgment", I do believe we as people can approach a world without bias. Choices and judgment are consequences of our human capacity for logic and conceptualization; Society as we know it would never even come to exist without them, and in some sense that makes choices essential for human society to develop and function. While I don't think a world without discrimination is likely to come in the foreseeable future, I do think the growing societal awareness of implicit bias is inching us closer and closer, forcing us to examine our beliefs rather than just thoughtlessly acting on them.


In Response to @The Imposter:

I don't think it's possible to eliminate preconceived notions from our society, simply because we as humans tend to default to our simple system of judgment and categorization of the world, however flawed it may be, in order to survive. As long as some people's physiological or safety needs are not met, our flawed system of judgment will be what people rely on in order to try and meet those needs, and often it's the safest option. Our human tendency to make snap judgments and discriminate is likely what allowed our species to flourish pre-agriculture, and perhaps even pre-industrial revolution. This tendency towards discrimination allowed us to flourish in a world where meeting your basic human needs was imperative for survival. This way of thinking works in a world where the difference between humans lies in their ability to survive and provide for themselves, but it crumbles when the difference between people lies in their ability to fulfill their psychological needs. If there's any hope for a utopia without discrimination, it lies in a world without scarcity, perhaps even a world without class systems as a whole, where the difference between two people lies only in their mentality.

The Question I pose to whoever's next is How are we to know what constitutes "positive" and "negative" forms of judgment, and how can we truly know if we ourselves are not biased or discriminatory?


Mnemosyne
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Discrimination

Humans are hardwired to discriminate among things, and discrimination and choice are not necessarily bad. The ability to judge people and things originally was a survival tool. It was vital to know which foods would not kill you, and which people would be effective leaders.

Even nowadays, I doubt that anyone would say that it is horrible for someone to discriminate between, say, a green mug and a red mug when shopping for kitchen supplies. And choosing between different brands of cereal is certainly not morally wrong.

But discrimination and judgement becomes a terrible thing when one tries to find differences between groups of people and then acts with beliefs of bigotry and inequality in mind. It is the intention of “Othering”—or as John Powell puts it, “the conscious or unconscious assumption that a certain identified group poses a threat to the favored group”—that makes discrimination of people based on perceived differences such a powerful tool of oppression and abuse.

I would argue that some choices are necessary to making society function. Choice allows individuality to flourish. There is a reason why free will has been so valued throughout the entirety of history. Without it, society would stagnate, and the world would surely be a dreary place.

But actively discriminating against someone? I would argue that such a thing is not necessary for society to function, and is, in fact, damaging towards it. Bigotry and hate have caused countless wars and conflict. The Civil War come to mind. So does the 9-11 attacks. And such acts often have even longer-lasting effects, as the lingering tensions between Korea and Japan demonstrate.

While a perfect world might be completely free of discrimination, we are definitely far from living in a perfect world. As such, the best that we can hope for is to educate people, teach them that one should never look down upon others for their differences. The progress might be slow at first, but one by one, I do believe that the world can change, and for the better at that.

@TroutCowboy

I think that “negative” forms of judgement are those that make one look down at another person or group of people as a result. Classic examples include racism, sexism, etc. “Positive” forms of judgement, in my opinion, are those that occur when we celebrate the differences between people while not looking down on them in any way. For example, I believe that there is nothing wrong with celebrating Black culture, and the accomplishments that they have made throughout history.

It is difficult to know if we ourselves are not biased or discriminatory, because that involves a great deal of self-reflection that many are not fond of. I think that the best anyone can do is to make their best effort, especially in educating themselves (in a respectful manner) and in examining their own feelings and beliefs.

My question is this: Is it okay to feel judgmental towards a person or group of people without ever acting on that feeling, and how might one try to banish that feeling completely?

UnrecognizableUsername
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

The coding of discriminations at birth.

Discrimanation is something that is coded into a Human from birth, as Sheena Iyengar says. There is no way to remove it entirely. We also recently come to associate discrimination with unequal and unlawful actions related to variables such as the color of the skin of a person, their religion or gender. It’s just normal for us to discriminate or categorize people or things, he’s black, she’s catholtic, that’s good, that apple is not ripe, it’s just normal. Are superego is our moral understanding of right and wrong, and is the driver of discrimanation and judgement. Although discrimanation is thought of negatively, there are times where it is good. Take for example you discriminate against a certain group of people because they are doing bad things, or things you know are WRONG. You wouldn’t want to get involved in something that is wrong, or that your superego knows is wrong, and that forces us to choose. We do not expect individuals to act spontaneously, but to behave in unique circumstances in certain ways. Each social situation requires its own complex set of assumptions about the appropriate way to act. As members of a social community, social roles are the part people play. With any social role you assume, your conduct shifts to accommodate both you and others' perceptions of that role, making your choices essential for society. It is because of this that a world without judgement or discrimanation would be 100% impossible. If we had no judgement we wouldn’t really be human and or as advanced, because everything we’ve done is off our decisions we take off our judgements/discriminations. We see how Sheena Iyengar uses the example of the 7-9 year old asain/anglo children, anagrams, and markers. The experiment showed that when the kids had self choice, they performed better than their counterparts who were told which anagram and markers to use by Ms.Smith and the Mother group. Answering the most recent question: “Is it okay to feel judgmental towards a person or group of people without ever acting on that feeling, and how might one try to banish that feeling completely?” I believe that it’s quite near impossible to not act on judgement. Humans always act from what they judge. When you judge apples at the market you’re looking for the best one to TAKE. When you judge a group of people you’re looking to see if you want to INTERACT with that group of people or not.


My question is: Are there multiple types of discriminations and judgements Humans have before they act upon them?
Fireheart
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

Survival Mode

I don’t think that judgment is something that we can escape. It’s something that we do every single day. It could be anything from going to the library and only looking through books with interesting covers to unfollowing someone for something they posted on Twitter. It's just so intrinsically human, I think, to judge. It’s human nature, like a sort of survival mechanism that is ingrained in us. Sometimes, making quick unsubstantiated assumptions about a person or even an event could mean ensuring one’s own safety. Because of this, I can’t even imagine a world without judgement.


Discrimination, on the other hand, is something else. When you judge something, it’s a decision that you make in the moment. Discrimination, however, is almost a way of thinking in which the people who choose to partake in it also choose to ignore anything that goes against that thought. For example if a woman is walking down the street at night alone and sees a man with a hoodie pulled up, and she crosses the street, that’s a woman judging a situation and choosing to be safe. If another woman is walking down the street in broad daylight, surrounded by people, and clutches her purse and chooses to cross the street after seeing an African-American man, that’s discrimination.


I think that judgments are things that change over time. Like when I first met one of my friends, I thought, ‘Oh, she looks so mean’ and it’s something that we both laugh about now because it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Already, before even getting to know her, I had already assumed her character and her gender/preferred pronouns. Judgements are just assumptions that are so fleeting and short that they die quickly.

To answer @UnrecognizableUsername’s (?) question, for me, personally, I don’t see any difference in the types of judgements we make. In my experience, they’re just so short-lived and ever-changing that they’ve never really hindered me in any way that I couldn’t change. Discrimination, I feel, is more deeply rooted and not as easy to change. There is more depth and thought in discriminating than there is in judging. There are also many more facets to discrimination than there are to judgement.


I think being able to have choices at all is a privilege and one that isn’t appreciated or recognized enough. That being said, there are times where I wish I didn’t have a choice, where I just wanted, as @TraderJoe’s said, the burden and responsibility to fall on someone other than myself. Sometimes the abundance of choice can be overwhelming and in order to make a choice, I have to make judgements in making my decision. As Sheena Iyengar said in her TedTalk, having so many choices is likely to result in making the wrong one, which is always, I think, a big fear that people have. The only solution, then, is to do our best to think through every decision we make and always make sure to educate ourselves so that we can make better choices. I think we all have those thoughts where we know it isn’t right and that we should know better. We must also curb those little voices in our heads and try to go into things with an open mind as often as we can.


The question that I pose, then, is this: Where do you think we as humans would be now if judgement and discrimination never existed? What would a world without choice look like?

Junior
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Discrimination is human nature, but human nature should not be binding

It isn't ground breaking to say that discrimination is based on human nature, as it is something that exists in the nature of more than just humans. It is a defense mechanism to be weary of the unfamiliar, even hostile towards it. It's why some dogs growl when you walk by their yard, and why some cats don't like to be approached. This applies to people as well, but just because it is natural for a human to be weary or hostile towards something that is unfamiliar does not mean it is okay. Sometimes too much worth and value is given to what is perceived as natural. While it is comforting to know that some actions have some precedence in our instincts, instincts should not be trusted. Really, that's the moral of a lot of kid shows, so this really isn't that hard hitting. Learn to share, be kind to others, don't judge a book by its cover, don't be racist. Easier said than done, but it can be done. It is actually quite easy to get rid of discrimination that is spawned on an animalistic, instinctual basis, the discrimination that is fueled by societal pressures is much harder to push past. This is compounded when there is no real societal push to move past discrimination. All that in mind, I believe that it is possible to create a society with no societal discrimination. Human nature will cause people to be weary of the unknown, but that can be taught out. People can be informed of the ways in combatting discrimination within themselves, and in a society that encourages and fosters critical thinking about oneself discrimination could be brought to a minimum.

therapeuticsoup
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Spot the Difference

For as long as I can remember, I was taught to choose, to discriminate, and to judge. Don't eat the red berries because they're poisonous. Never talk to somebody who "looks" creepy. Determine the difference between these two photos. What's the difference between a zebra and a giraffe? I mean, all of these are not bad things to know. They’re not inhumane, and quite honestly, they’re pretty helpful. A human’s ability to decide by discriminating and judging is a hereditary trait shown over time. We use our ability to stay alive, to survive, to attain the best way of life. But, is there an extent to which we discriminate? Is there a point where we go too far, where we stop caring about our own needs and more about our wants? Yes. And everyday people are tested on this. Think of electing a person who cares more about the economy, money, capitalism and stocks, rather than one who cares about the environment, the future, and the greater good of others as well. Discrimination comes in many forms, and has many definitions. It’s blurry, whether it be good or bad to judge/discriminate. It is a necessity in society, for without it voices would go unheard and choices wouldn’t be made in the voice of the people. But discrimination is one of those things that can work in favor of certain people or things and against others. It’s a tricky concept. Bias, however, I do see as something a society can go without. Bias is not necessarily used for survival, it’s more of a ‘preference’. I don’t like those shoes because they’re ugly. A society without bias might not be in the near future, but I do believe that everyday as humans develop and speak on their bias and the bias of others, it can happen.

To Answer FireHeart’s question, I think that if judgement/discrimination never existed, humans would have a lot more trust between one another, communities would be more diverse, and capitalism wouldn’t exist. I guess by saying that, nor would elections exist, or governments, or anything to do with the choice of people. If people weren’t allowed to have choice, our houses would look the same, our dogs would look the same, we would be robots living in a world where we’re controlled. Would there be a point of living if we weren’t allowed to choose what we wanted to do with our life? For a job? Where to live? Where to travel? Human choice is what makes the world diverse in itself. Our choice to use our creativity to make new things, new ideas, and spread them. Without it, all that I can imagine the world of being would be bland.

My question is do you think that bias is something that can be erased from humans forever, or will it always be in the back on somebody's mind?

cabbage
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 6

Pepper 3 taking dubs

I really enjoyed listening to Sheena's TED talk and her very international perspective as well as the jokes she threw around. The part where she touched upon immigrant children making choices as a collective really stood out to me and I realized she had a point. A lot of the time it is thinking there is no better choice than what benefits the whole family more, but once in America a new lens of personal and individual choice is opened.


I totally agree that as kids we are taught to discriminate things and pick what looks and seems “better” and this does not come without a “worse” side. It is true that this is a skill learned from a need to survive and make beneficial and critical decisions. As seen in our most recent election, we choose the option that is better and sometimes settle for it because we need the skill of staying away from what is bad for us.


If the peppers from class could talk and had a conscience which I like to think they do sometimes, they would definitely feel some type of way when we judge them for which one is better and pick out “flaws” based on our own preferences that they cannot control. And our preferences are influenced by what we grew up around and our own experiences which will be different than the pepper’s or anyone else.


As most people said, choices are necessary, you cannot continue a plot heavy video game without making choices and life just happens to be a plot heavy game a lot of the time where you either have to make the “right” choice or you made the “wrong” choice which usually just means a longer journey until you’re on the path that takes you forward in the story. However, take choosing a leader, there is no reason to solely discriminate against them for who they are such as things like their skin color, gender, or sexual orientation because that is not what politics is supposed to be about. You judge them and make your choice based on if you agree on their values and mission. Of course people’s values are based on their own life experiences as I said before, but that’s what makes up tiny differences that make each person unique.


American have a very heavy individual mindset as shown in Sheena’s talk as well as in The Guardian article and I think that is a very big part of this othering. People make fewer decisions based on what is good for the collective and more on what is good for them. As long as this mindset is promoted I am not sure if we can have a world where people are not biased or judged for everything and tossed into categories based on assumptions.


Do you think there is a right answer to this question or if there has to be one? Will history just have to play our or do we need to do something about this now?

sleepypanda
Posts: 11

choices, discrimination, judgement

In her TED talk, Sheena mentions how American’s perceive choice compared to other places in the world, and how non-Americans or those who recently immigrated to America choose more for the collective/their choices are influenced by those around them. And I believe we felt it personally during the pandemic, where we witnessed Asian countries not having much issue in choosing to wear a mask, as it would help the community, whereas in the US, it has become a political issue.


We really shouldn’t discriminate among people, especially since we are all people trying to make the best of life while we are on Earth. Similarly, there should not be a reason to discriminate against things either. Society has taught us to judge everything around us, sometimes for our safety, other times for other reasons. Sometimes, we have to judge whether our surroundings or the people within our vicinity are sketchy or not, or whether the food in front of us are safe to eat. Other times, we are affected by prejudice, and judge others prematurely and later realize we had judged them too early. Of course judgement isn’t always bad. Judgement plays a big role when grocery shopping, since you want the best for what you pay. You judge whether you believe it’s ripe or not, the color, the size, etc.


Choices are definitely a big part of American culture and society, and we have many as Sheena points out, but in reality, there is a sense of choice but a lot of it is superfluous. For example, we may have 7 soda options, and feel particularly attached to one of the choices, but in the end, all the options are just soda, which is what a lot of eastern Europeans pointed out. So choices are not completely necessarily, but the choices are also what sets people apart.


A world without discrimination or judgment might be possible, but not anytime soon. There’s an innate part of us that judges, but it is a choice to discriminate. @cabbage I think our generation and the ones to follow will have to do something to get closer to that world. The world and our society isn’t going to change on its own, the people are always the driving force of change.

mellifluously
Allston, MA, US
Posts: 13

The Interconnectedness btwn. Choice, Judgment, Otherness, and Discrimination

Like last time, this is long. Brace yourself. I absolutely enjoyed Iyenger’s TED talk. It was so perfectly crafted (along with the casual jokes every once in a while).

In class, the peppers assignment was absolutely marvelous. It actually brightened my day because of how hilarious it was. Anyway, it really helped demonstrate the idea of group polarization, where based on a certain topic, people will automatically drift to opposing sides. You could see some people choosing pepper three because it was the “OG pepper,” and some people hating pepper 5 because it was the “absolute worse,” and then the contrasts occurred, where more people gravitated towards one side or not, based on the intensity of opinions.

The idea of group polarization is only a fraction of social psychology, and it ultimately relates to the idea of “othering”—the idea that we, as humans, adore to separate and discriminate things. By placing these differences on objects (this thing is large versus small, tall versus short, etc.), it leads us to the concept of othering, mentioned by Powell/Garza. When we distinguish, we’re more likely to separate and place a new level of bias towards both objects. Those separations and biases lead then to discriminations, then acts of discrimination towards those objects. This is where “othering” takes its place, and why, to this day, we still see racism occurring.

Relating this to the idea of choosing, presented by Iyenger, it has everything to do with othering. Look at the news. Racism still occurs worldwide—it’s not single to the US—but it absolutely does NOT occur at the rate or level it does here in the US. We choose what’s better and what isn’t. Similar to what Iyenger said, America is the land of choice. We have the freedom to choose on our own. Based on how we grow up, with the access we have to the whole internet, we observe what happens in the world. And we decide—do we “other” or do we treat people equally? Most students at BLS are activists and support equality because we grew up surrounded by these things. We grew up surrounded by the idea that equality is a must. And we propagated that idea. Other people may not have had that privilege in other parts of the US, thus “choosing” that other path, of, well, “othering.” And in other cultures around the world, children base their choices more on what their parents choose. Say their parents grew up believing in inequality? Then the children will most likely follow that idea. The interconnectedness is crazy, but that’s psychology for you. And it’s sad that it happens in this world.

For the questions posed, though, discrimination among people must occur, but not in the way you think. Let’s put it more in the idea of a “gut feeling.” Say two different people would be following you at night. One is well dressed, one isn’t. Which one would you be more worried about following you? Most discriminations are more survival instincts, than anything, but then we reach the fatal flaw of the bias seen with police. These “survival instinct” biases are implicit biases, and we do them unconsciously. But, again, they are placed based on how we grow up and what we experience. The same happens with police officers. Judgment is necessary, but it can still be trained. Most police officers now go through training to ameliorate their implicit biases, to avoid the white v. black issues that is plastered across media whenever they talk about the police. Discrimination will always exist. It’s how we can choose. If we cannot differentiate, then it is harder to choose. If we go back to Iyenger’s TEDTalk and focus on the examples posed with the Soviet Union, they still discriminated. Soda versus no soda. That is still a discrimination. Although they wouldn’t discriminate the choices like we would, such as Pepsi or Coke, they still discriminated between the presence of soda. And using that knowledge, they could then choose: do they want soda or not? Discrimination will be present, no matter how much you limit it. It is the only way we can choose things. And discrimination cannot exist without judgment. Judgment can only occur with past experiences. Again, the interconnectedness is present. Without one, the idea of cognition behind choices falls apart. They all need to be present for choices to occur, regardless of culture, number of choices, etc. It is absolutely necessary.

And, @cabbage, to your question of “Do you think there is a right answer to this question or if there has to be one? Will history just have to play our or do we need to do something about this now?”:

I don’t believe there will ever be a right answer. History will still play out, no matter what. Things change all the time, and the way we see things change. We went from a country that depended upon slaves, to then intense discrimination against African Americans in a time that tried to combat such an act, to only finally beginning to alleviate (yet still immensely dealing with) that same issue that persisted. Times change, but there is always a whisper—a memory of what used to be. And because of that, there will never be a right answer. Because things change too quickly for the answer to remain static.

Anyway, as I am the last person to post, I will end this discussion with my own lingering question for Ms. Freeman to ponder upon: if we were indeed to build a post-othering society, how would you envision it? Better yet, how would you make and what would you implement in your own post-othering society?

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