posts 1 - 15 of 40
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 154


Watching:

Sheena Iyenger, professor at Columbia Business School “TED talk: On the Art of Choosing” (2014) (24:08)

Reading: John A. Powell, “Us vs. them: The Sinister Techniques of ‘Othering’—and How to Avoid Them,” The Guardian, 8 November 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/nov/08/us-vs-them-the-sinister-techniques-of-othering-and-how-to-avoid-them


Reading OR Listening:

Alicia Garza on “Identity Politics and 2020 US Presidential Election” (Alicia Garza is one of the founders of the BlackLivesMatter movement), either via this podcast (that is episode 17 of the “Who Belongs?” podcast series) or reading the transcript of the podcast, produced for the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, December 2, 2019. A heads up: the full podcast is 48:48 in length; reading the transcript is much faster!

https://belonging.berkeley.edu/whobelongs/identitypolitics


Today in class, we evaluated, judged and chose a preferred pepper. (NB: yes, this is a history class. We just go about it in a slightly unconventional manner.) An interesting (and often hilarious) exercise, don’t you think?


In reality, we choose all the time. In order to choose, we discriminate (that’s the evaluation piece). First we decide if one thing(s) is different—and then better than another; then we decide which is our preference—and in this case, which was “the best.” To “choose,” we judge one another, we judge fruits and veggies in a supermarket, trying to determine (the verdict) which one to purchase. We judge people by what they wear and how they smell; we judge what looks "good" when we try on clothes, we judge whether one school is better than another.

And then we choose.


We too are judged. Others judge us. They size us up—that’s the discrimination part. They assess who we are and then they draw conclusions (that’s the judgment or the verdict part). Institutions judge us, law enforcement judges us, teachers judge us, our supervisors judge us, some believe that a God judges us. Many factors feed those judgments. Stereotypes play a role. So do preconceptions. So does compassion. So does objectivity. And if someone demands that we make a choice, based on these judgments, well, we usually do!


Judgment and choice imply a sense of ranking. Something is better than something else. Generally, judgment and choice involve a kind of opposition: this is good (or better), while this is bad (or not as good). Inevitably this is a kind of “othering”: the recognition that there is an “us” (usually good) and “them” (usually not-so-good….or bad).


Think about discrimination, judgment, and choice-making for a moment. Must we discriminate among things/people? Must we judge? What’s the point of judgment? Must we choose? Are these good or bad things or somewhere in between? Are there roles for choices in society? Are they essential to making society function?

Is it possible for a world to exist without discrimination? Without judgment?

Using Sheena Iyenger’s TED talk, the reading from John Powell, and Alicia Garza’s seemingly clairvoyant sense of what would happen 11 months later during the 2020 election, as well as what you have learned (so far…) in class (including today’s exercise on the “practically perfect peppers,” please weigh in on the nature of discrimination, judgement, and othering, whether there is anything we can do about it, and whether it is possible to build a post-othering society (and how)? Be certain to support what you say with some concrete examples and/or anecdotes.


At the end of your post, please pose a lingering question on this topic that you might have. This will be addressed by the person who posts after you. (If you post first in the thread, go back and answer someone else’s question! And if the person who precedes you fails to pose a question, find a question prior to his/her in the thread to address.)

razzledazzle8
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

Can you live in a world with no choosing or judgement?

As children we have learned we need to choose. We choose what style we want, what hobbies we want to do, who we are. Most of all we chose what school we wanted to go to and that shaped our entire lives. Choosing has shaped who Americans are. If someone takes away that right to choose, Americans would riot. Society would be in disarray because we as citizens think it is our right to be able to control every aspect of our lives. We feel in control of our lives when we can choose what we want to do. It makes us happier because we choose what we want to do with our lives. In many ways, people wouldn’t feel as though they are individuals but just a person someone else chose for them. But choosing can be different among different cultures and countries. Like in Sheena Iyengar’s TED talk, she held a study and asked people what soda they want and she had seven options of soda, the Russian people said aren’t they all the same, but Americans did not think that at all they think of all the choices as different. Choosing really depends on how people lived. Like in Russia, people who grew up with communism don't really care for choices because they didn’t grow up with many. But in America we are overwhelmed with choices. A lot of older generations of Americans don’t feel choosing matters because they were suddenly introduced to an age of many choices and didn’t assimilate to it. So in many ways we must choose, but we also don’t have to. It feels we need to choose by the way we have been brought up and it really defines freedom and individuality, but I don’t think we need to choose on many things. Although choosing makes a society happy and free and without choosing a society would have no creativity and individuality.

There are definitely roles for choices in society. We choose our lives from the very beginning. One big thing we have to choose is what job we want to do and when or if we are going to start a family. Those things are very important to society because without us choosing to do those things society wouldn’t function.

Discrimination and judging is much different from choosing. But we are in a new age were discrimination and judgement has been normalized. These kinds of things are normalized by our leaders. In the “Us vs them: the sinister techniques of ‘Othering’ – and how to avoid them” article by John A. Powell says, “President Trump, however, has opened a space where people are emboldened to be more explicit. We now have not only our nation’s leadership but many of our information networks amplifying these explicit calls to exclude and dehumanise.” We have been guided the past four years by a man who thinks it is okay to separate this country. He has made people feel okay to voice their racist beliefs. That is exactly what “Othering” is. It is separating people, this discrimination is not needed or wanted in society. So I do not think we need to judge, we can judge on what clothes we want to wear and what food we want to eat, but we have no right to judge people. In my opinion, the point of judgement is to separate people. Humans brains think, ‘oh that person likes this, I don’t so I won’t talk to them’. It is unfair that this way of thinking has been instilled into our minds from an early age because we don’t need it. We don’t need to judge people for what they look like or how they act, we can just let them be them.

Choosing and judging are somewhere in between good and bad. Yes you can judge and choose things like if you want to go for a run today or whether or not you should do your homework, but in no way should we be able to judge people. In many ways choosing and judging are essential to society but I don’t think judging has to be. Going back to us judging peppers, we didn’t pick the ones that weren’t pretty because we didn’t like them. We were taught perfect and beautiful is always better but is it? I don’t think so in the slightest. If we didn’t have beauty and societal standards society would be so much happier. Depression would go down and individuality would increase because finally people can be themselves without being judged. Like in the podcast with Alicia Garza said, “But the reality is white supremacy can be carried out by black people, it can be carried out by women. It's not just identity in and of itself that changes the ways that politics happen.” We need to stop judging people on what they may seem to be and instead their identities.

I think a world without discrimination is definetly achievable. We need to start depromaging our brains to judge people and start just seeing people for who they really are. Obviously people are still going to judge but I think it is time we try to stop it.

What do you think about beauty and social standards and how do you think they affect people? Can they really be stopped and how can we stop them?


crunchysnowball
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Recognizing Discrimination and Judgement

When it comes to judgement, discrimination, and choice-making, I think that a lot of grey area exists. As children in the US, we are taught to “spot the difference” a lot, as Sheena Iyenger’s TED talk said, and this definitely has been ingrained in our minds as we take on the world. In some cases, judgement and discrimination is necessary when making choices, such as whether or not you should run from a dangerous situation or person or if you should stick around people or environments that are toxic to your life. Other than survival choices that you need to make, choices for your individual wants are also necessary. Especially in the US, we grow up with the idea that our happiness is in our own hands and like @razzledazzle8 said, these choices make us happier since we are in control. This is not the same for other countries, especially a lot of countries in Asia, where individual thinking can often be perceived as selfishness and goes against the tight knit view of the importance of family. Judgement and discrimination also seem to be done as a protective instinct, like when the TED talk mentioned how the waiter was “looking out for” Sheena Iyenger by denying her of the option or choice to put sugar in her green tea.

However when it comes to people, I think that face value or surface level discrimination and judgement are not only unnecessary, but also hindrances. Before the 2016, I myself never really saw as much talk about discrimination in the media. Until after the election of Trump was when I saw the most of this “Othering” phenomenon. Much like what John A. Powell said in his article, fear has been the root of the rapid growth of exclusion and dehumanization. People didn’t come into this world feeling afraid of other groups and wanting to exclude them. The government instilling fear about these groups is what made people feel like they were being attacked or that there was a threat to their power.

But now that we have already come to this point in society of normalized othering, I think that it is very difficult to reverse many decades worth of damage, and that the only way to improve is to recognize these things. It is hard to just remove judgement all together since we need to acknowledge the difference in experience that everyone has had in this society. That is not to say that we should compare ourselves and our experiences in “oppression Olympics” like Alicia Garza puts it in the podcast. I think that in the most recent years competing about who has had it the worst or has been the most neglected is what drives people apart, making it harder to unify. When we get entangled in this, we miss the most important issue that isn’t being addressed and that is why we even have these differences in experience and oppression to begin with. In this way, I don’t think that discriminating and judging are essential to making a society function, but realizing and recognizing is.

To bring it full circle, doing the pepper experiment in class is an instance of us, as members of society, showing that we have been influenced heavily by the way that our world has raised us. Many people tended to choose the pepper that was “most aesthetically pleasing”, which in this case, meant the pepper that was closest to what we perceived to be the perfect pepper. The perfect shade of red, the perfect proportions, and the perfect stance. However, the other peppers were also chosen and I think that this answers the question of the post above me on what I think about beauty standards, how they affect people, and if they can really be stopped. The pepper experiment shows that beauty is a completely subjective matter. Even though most people chose the second pepper, indicating that they were most influenced by the beauty standard of complete perfection or closeness to that, there were others who chose the other peppers as well, meaning that they don’t value the same type of perfection as others. For me, the only way to stop these beauty and social standards is, again, recognition. If you can recognize that people will always have differing opinions on subjective topics, you can stop worrying about the standards altogether and these standards will end up not mattering at all.

Lingering question: Do all cultures have the responses to discrimination? If not, what are some examples where discrimination has different connotations?

ilikekiwis
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

Can people stop judging each other?

Originally posted by razzledazzle8 on November 11, 2020 12:20

What do you think about beauty and social standards and how do you think they affect people? Can they really be stopped and how can we stop them?


Post your response here.

Othering is an evil perpetuated by the media. It can be removed if we fight against the manipulation from the media. Without divisive language as portrayed by leaders and other aspects of the media, people do not naturally judge to the point of hatred. The fear of fitting into the image that is not portrayed as a threat to society has caused overwhelming discrimination and othering. As the author of “Us vs. them” explains, we must “bridge” to combat Othering. We must find similarities in the fact that we are all humans. Our humanity is much more of a similarity than anything else. Even without the media, there have always been leaders who scapegoat other groups and persuaded many into doing the same. Knowing the effects of divisive language, we need to stop it from being spread as it inevitably takes root within one person or community. A post-othering society isn’t an utopia. People will still judge others, but on more of a personal level rather than on whatever country, race, ethnicity, or community they come from as a whole. “Us vs. them” mentions Canada, which still has many struggles, but extremists groups make up less than 10% of its population. Thus, people keep their identities and are met with less othering there.

To answer the question posed by the person before me, I think that beauty standards affect people drastically. The pressure to fit a certain physical appearance is overwhelming. It’s also often two-faced. According to society, women must have curves, but can’t be “fat.” Fat has become a synonym to ugly, which is wrong. It is possible to remove this connotation from the word by introducing people of all body types to the media. Many body positivity empowering movements have made great strides, but it will be difficult to change the minds of those who have benefitted from the standards. Men are also affected, which many forget or ignore. People need to acknowledge that every body and mind is different in its genetics and wiring, which pertains to aspects like body type, sexuality, and more.

Increasing judgment of inanimate objects comes from the amount of resources available as children. Those who did not grow up with many choices may end up being more grateful for what they are given, regardless of its brand or any other feature. In America, many of us are given an awful amount of choice. Everything we buy has thousands of brands and places that the item may come from, all of which we somehow choose, usually based on what the media tells us. If Nike is portrayed as being the best sportswear company or Coke is portrayed as the best soda company for their popularity, it’s not surprising so many prefer them. In Sheena Iyengar’s TedTalk, “The Art of Choosing,” she mentions Eastern European adults from formerly communist nations who saw 7 soda brands just as one choice: soda. They did not grow up with all those choices. Americans, though, each have their own opinions on each of the 7 brands, most of which are probably based on other people’s recommendations and media representation. It is probably impossible to erase the mass consumerism that has been caused by capitalism. People’s ideas and expectations on what is necessary have inflated greatly. The American people are so set on having the freedom of choice, that taking away would cause mayhem. Still, judging what we put into our bodies or on them is important for our health and image of ourselves. Do we give people in countries not as economically-stable as the US more choices? Or will that corrupt them as it has us? Or is there a benefit to having more choices when buying food or clothes?


239bid0073
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Your Choices End Where Other's Rights Begin

I never thought I would say this, but after listening to Sheena Lyengar’s TedTalk I don’t believe that having more options is necessarily better. And I think this could be a response to your question, razzledazzle. Today the beauty industry is worth almost 50 billion dollars in the United States. This means there are a lot of options to change, and enhance your appearance, and physical look. All of these options are contributing to the unrealistic beauty standards that suffocate people today. As Sheena explains it is up to us to find the differences in product and make the decision but the constant bombardment of advertisements from big companies always seems to sway our decisions. So in conclusion to my answer for your question, beauty standards are enforced by the amount of product there is, and the bombardment from top companies. I think that until we dismantle the beauty industry, and take some of that money away beauty standards are still going to crush people.

The simple answer is yes. Everything we do is a choice, and in order to come to a conclusive decision we have to discriminate, and judge every option. This means examining each option and its characteristics. Then based on this we judge. We judge which characteristics we like better and least and then we come to a conclusive decision. As Sheena Lyengar pointed out here in America, we make our decisions a lot harder. We think it is better to have many options, make choices ourselves, and make choices that only benefit ourselves. Studies from other countries may suggest that this is not always the best case.

In a study conducted in San Francisco that included Asian and Anglo American kids, they were asked to complete a coloring sheet that was either chosen by their mom, teacher, or themselves. The Asian American students completed the sheet best when they were told their mom picked it out for them. They did so because they felt that they were working for something greater than just themselves. In France, doctors make the decision of when and when not to take kids off life support. When doctors made the decision for parents in France they proved to have less stress a year later than did the parents who made the decision themselves here in the U.S.

While I believe that we have to make decisions easier and more simplistic here in America we have to recognize that they are always going to be a fundamental part of our society. After all our nation was built on the choice to lead itself, and the ideal of democracy is built on the choice of the people. Where this discrimination and judging stops though is where the rights of other’s begins. People everywhere have a right to live happily, safely, and peacefully. And once your judgement infringes on those rights, it has gone too far. It is in our blood to want to be the best, to want to survive, and do to great lengths to do so. But once a judgement or choice you have made comes too close to someone else, you know you have gone too far. Today we are living in an age where these boundaries don’t seem to exist. As Powell stated in Us vs. Them “ President Trump has opened a new space where people are emboldened to be explicit. We now have not only our nation’s leaders but many of our information networks amplifying these explicit calls to exclude and dehumanize”. Within the past four years it seems as if the boundaries that protected everyone’s rights have been broken down, and we are now living where people are being publicly discriminated against, and judged.

All in all, choice is neither a good or a bad thing because you have the power to control it. Choice comes from within. As Alicia Garza put it “ White Supremacy can be carried out by black people, it can be carried out by women”. We have choices to make, and most times they are influenced by our beliefs, experiences, and ideals. I think until we let go out of our personal ideals and make choices for the betterment of our people then we are going to live in a world of discrimination. The choices we make have to be uninfluenced and for a common goal.


Do you think your political choices ( meaning who and what you advocate for) reflect who you are as a person?

239bid0073
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Taking Away The Meaning of Life

Originally posted by ilikekiwis on November 11, 2020 15:35

Originally posted by razzledazzle8 on November 11, 2020 12:20

What do you think about beauty and social standards and how do you think they affect people? Can they really be stopped and how can we stop them?


Post your response here.

Othering is an evil perpetuated by the media. It can be removed if we fight against the manipulation from the media. Without divisive language as portrayed by leaders and other aspects of the media, people do not naturally judge to the point of hatred. The fear of fitting into the image that is not portrayed as a threat to society has caused overwhelming discrimination and othering. As the author of “Us vs. them” explains, we must “bridge” to combat Othering. We must find similarities in the fact that we are all humans. Our humanity is much more of a similarity than anything else. Even without the media, there have always been leaders who scapegoat other groups and persuaded many into doing the same. Knowing the effects of divisive language, we need to stop it from being spread as it inevitably takes root within one person or community. A post-othering society isn’t an utopia. People will still judge others, but on more of a personal level rather than on whatever country, race, ethnicity, or community they come from as a whole. “Us vs. them” mentions Canada, which still has many struggles, but extremists groups make up less than 10% of its population. Thus, people keep their identities and are met with less othering there.

To answer the question posed by the person before me, I think that beauty standards affect people drastically. The pressure to fit a certain physical appearance is overwhelming. It’s also often two-faced. According to society, women must have curves, but can’t be “fat.” Fat has become a synonym to ugly, which is wrong. It is possible to remove this connotation from the word by introducing people of all body types to the media. Many body positivity empowering movements have made great strides, but it will be difficult to change the minds of those who have benefitted from the standards. Men are also affected, which many forget or ignore. People need to acknowledge that every body and mind is different in its genetics and wiring, which pertains to aspects like body type, sexuality, and more.

Increasing judgment of inanimate objects comes from the amount of resources available as children. Those who did not grow up with many choices may end up being more grateful for what they are given, regardless of its brand or any other feature. In America, many of us are given an awful amount of choice. Everything we buy has thousands of brands and places that the item may come from, all of which we somehow choose, usually based on what the media tells us. If Nike is portrayed as being the best sportswear company or Coke is portrayed as the best soda company for their popularity, it’s not surprising so many prefer them. In Sheena Iyengar’s TedTalk, “The Art of Choosing,” she mentions Eastern European adults from formerly communist nations who saw 7 soda brands just as one choice: soda. They did not grow up with all those choices. Americans, though, each have their own opinions on each of the 7 brands, most of which are probably based on other people’s recommendations and media representation. It is probably impossible to erase the mass consumerism that has been caused by capitalism. People’s ideas and expectations on what is necessary have inflated greatly. The American people are so set on having the freedom of choice, that taking away would cause mayhem. Still, judging what we put into our bodies or on them is important for our health and image of ourselves. Do we give people in countries not as economically-stable as the US more choices? Or will that corrupt them as it has us? Or is there a benefit to having more choices when buying food or clothes?


Post your response here.

I think that there is not benefit to having more choices in things such as food or clothes. These are considered fundamental necessities we need our everyday life. They add no true value, meaning, or happiness to the person we are. All we need them for is to be alive and function in society. Therefore, actually having the bare minimum would be better when considering food or clothes. Say we had 3 of the same white shirts and 3 of the same white pants. We would get up everyday and put the same clothes on with not judgement/discrimination. This would take away from our impulse to judge every single thing. This would leave us with more time, energy and capability to make decisions that would really matter. So in conclusion there is no benefit to having more choices in the fundamental necessities of life (food, water, clothes, shelter etc...). And to answer your second question we have to look at a spectrum. In the countries where they have to choose between school and water well of course I believe they deserve better options, and more choices. This is a fundamental right. But in countries that have the necessities, and people are living well, and just might not be "rich" I believe they do not need any more options. Choices and decisions have corrupted the US and as long as people are getting what they need to make their life fuller (education, family, friends etc...), and have the necessities (shelter, food, water, clothing) then they are in my opinion doing better than we are.

razzledazzle8
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

Originally posted by crunchysnowball on November 11, 2020 15:25

Lingering question: Do all cultures have the responses to discrimination? If not, what are some examples where discrimination has different connotations?

I do think my political choices reflect who I am as a person because it shows what I believe in. I would call myself a Democrat/Liberal so many of those beliefs define who I am. I believe there has to be something done about climate change and we need to combat that immediately. That shows I care about people and their future on this earth. I believe women have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies, so that means I care deeply for women and their rights. I believe that discrimination and racism against POC needs to be address and stopped, that shows as a person I don’t want hate in this world anymore. We usually are friends with people that think somewhat similar to us so obviously we have to express those beliefs to be friends with them. Most of the time our friends are also sort of a reflection of ourselves. What we do in life is somewhat politically charged, how we carry out conversations, what college we go to, what job we choose. So I truly do believe that everything I express politically shows who I am as a person.

soleilmagic
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Why Do We Discriminate?

We learn through what others do, our way of life is decided for us by the people in our lives, our parents, our family, our friends, we pick up habits, judgement isn’t a habit, judgement is just an aspect of life that no one pays attention to. You’re friends with the people you’re friends with because you liked something about them and you choose to be their friend, you’re not friends with people because you didn’t like something about them and you chose not to be. Judgement is even as minuscule as to what pepper you choose at the store, obviously the main choice is between color, but then it comes down to shape and size, how important is the shape and size of that pepper and why should it take time out of your life to decide which pepper to pick even though you are just going to cut it up when u get home. It is ingrained in human nature to judge, when deciding who and who not to be friends with, John A. Powell in his article “Us vs. them: The Sinister Techniques of ‘Othering’—and How to Avoid Them,” The Guardian, simplifies it as, “Othering is not about liking or disliking someone. It is based on the conscious or unconscious assumption that a certain identified group poses a threat to the favoured group. It is largely driven by politicians and the media, as opposed to personal contact. Overwhelmingly, people don’t “know” those that they are Othering.”. Ultimately, what is the point of judgement, we make choices in life through judgement in the hopes of bettering ourselves, judgement is necessary in life and I personally don’t see a reasonable way that the world and humans will work without it, choices are necessary, we can’t have everything and we don’t need everything, we don’t need all 5 peppers, the same as we don’t need bad people in our lives. Choices are essential to make society function, of course the world would be better without discrimination but the fact is, it’s not reasonable. My lingering question does not have a right or wrong answer, that being what would society look like without any aspects of discrimination?
soleilmagic
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Political Choices Reflect Who You Are.

Originally posted by 239bid0073 on November 11, 2020 16:15

I never thought I would say this, but after listening to Sheena Lyengar’s TedTalk I don’t believe that having more options is necessarily better. And I think this could be a response to your question, razzledazzle. Today the beauty industry is worth almost 50 billion dollars in the United States. This means there are a lot of options to change, and enhance your appearance, and physical look. All of these options are contributing to the unrealistic beauty standards that suffocate people today. As Sheena explains it is up to us to find the differences in product and make the decision but the constant bombardment of advertisements from big companies always seems to sway our decisions. So in conclusion to my answer for your question, beauty standards are enforced by the amount of product there is, and the bombardment from top companies. I think that until we dismantle the beauty industry, and take some of that money away beauty standards are still going to crush people.

The simple answer is yes. Everything we do is a choice, and in order to come to a conclusive decision we have to discriminate, and judge every option. This means examining each option and its characteristics. Then based on this we judge. We judge which characteristics we like better and least and then we come to a conclusive decision. As Sheena Lyengar pointed out here in America, we make our decisions a lot harder. We think it is better to have many options, make choices ourselves, and make choices that only benefit ourselves. Studies from other countries may suggest that this is not always the best case.

In a study conducted in San Francisco that included Asian and Anglo American kids, they were asked to complete a coloring sheet that was either chosen by their mom, teacher, or themselves. The Asian American students completed the sheet best when they were told their mom picked it out for them. They did so because they felt that they were working for something greater than just themselves. In France, doctors make the decision of when and when not to take kids off life support. When doctors made the decision for parents in France they proved to have less stress a year later than did the parents who made the decision themselves here in the U.S.

While I believe that we have to make decisions easier and more simplistic here in America we have to recognize that they are always going to be a fundamental part of our society. After all our nation was built on the choice to lead itself, and the ideal of democracy is built on the choice of the people. Where this discrimination and judging stops though is where the rights of other’s begins. People everywhere have a right to live happily, safely, and peacefully. And once your judgement infringes on those rights, it has gone too far. It is in our blood to want to be the best, to want to survive, and do to great lengths to do so. But once a judgement or choice you have made comes too close to someone else, you know you have gone too far. Today we are living in an age where these boundaries don’t seem to exist. As Powell stated in Us vs. Them “ President Trump has opened a new space where people are emboldened to be explicit. We now have not only our nation’s leaders but many of our information networks amplifying these explicit calls to exclude and dehumanize”. Within the past four years it seems as if the boundaries that protected everyone’s rights have been broken down, and we are now living where people are being publicly discriminated against, and judged.

All in all, choice is neither a good or a bad thing because you have the power to control it. Choice comes from within. As Alicia Garza put it “ White Supremacy can be carried out by black people, it can be carried out by women”. We have choices to make, and most times they are influenced by our beliefs, experiences, and ideals. I think until we let go out of our personal ideals and make choices for the betterment of our people then we are going to live in a world of discrimination. The choices we make have to be uninfluenced and for a common goal.


Do you think your political choices ( meaning who and what you advocate for) reflect who you are as a person?

I do believe that your political choice reflects who you are as a person. Most people (in America) often choose a side, being democrat of republican and we choose that because of our own beliefs, which side represents our own thoughts and beliefs more accurately. We're always deciding on things in life, even on things as simple as what to eat, but political choices are very important, they are the foundation for the laws and way our countries go about. Neither side is wrong nor right, but politics as a whole is very important to decide what you agree with, the length of what can happen because of government and politics is astronomical compared to not liking what you got to eat. It is the obvious thing to base your political beliefs off of your own personal beliefs, so it is definitely true that political choices reflect who people are on a personal level. You wouldn't choose a side in politics or support the passing of a law if you don't morally and personally agree with it.

ThankYouFive
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

The Consequences of Our Choices

As demonstrated in Sheena Iyenger’s TED talk, most choices have little to no effect on the world, or even on an individual. When you are given the choice between different types of soda, it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. In situations like these, the act of judgment is perfectly acceptable. However, judgment becomes problematic when judgment is made regarding a person rather than an object like a soda. While your choice to judge a certain soda doesn’t really hurt anyone, judging a person can and very often does, because a person can actually be impacted severely by a certain judgment. While it is a perfectly natural thing for people to judge others, it is important to remember that the things we say and do can really hurt others.

The conversation regarding othering is a very interesting one because it has always existed, but has recently become more prevalent and obvious due to the words of President Trump. In the article we read from The Guardian, it is made clear that other countries, such as Canada, have done well in getting rid of othering by far right politicians, who now don’t have a lot of power in the government. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate any othering in the US and the world, it is certainly possible to prevent it from taking over the social and political landscape, as well as to stop it from controlling people’s lives.

Although choice can certainly have negative effects, such as people being overwhelmed by the insane number of options in a supermarket, I do believe that it has a role in society. Its primary purpose, in my opinion, is to allow people to choose who they want their political leaders to be. Getting rid of the ability to choose would lead to a lot of people having their rights taken away from them. A society in which people are unable to choose anything for themselves is not a functioning society.

I think that discrimination on an institutional level could be destroyed by creating laws that prevent both purposeful and unintentional discrimination from happening. However, people will always discriminate against one another on a personal level, and I think that the only way to decrease instances of interpersonal racism is to make the legal punishment more severe. People need to be reminded that their actions have consequences, so that they will avoid discriminating in the future.

To answer Soleilmagic’s question, I think that society would be able to make far more positive changes if no aspects of discrimination existed, because people would be able to work together as equals to solve problems, rather than treating others differently because of things that are out of their control. Also, people would generally be happier because they wouldn’t have to worry so much about how others viewed them. However, as I said earlier, I don’t really think that it is possible for all aspects of discrimination to be removed entirely, because people unintentionally discriminate against each other every day.

My question is what would be some effective ways for the government to decrease the amount of institutional discrimination that exists in our society?

mcsd153
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

The Right to Choose

While I firmly believe in my right to choose, I do think that here in America, choice has not exactly become a good thing. As Sheena Lyengar mentioned in her TedTalk, when people are presented with too much choice, they often make a worse decision than those presented with little to no option. I think this sense of self righteousness in America has become so toxic for our society. With the right to choose everything in your life in order for them to cater to your needs has created a divide between American citizens. People feel entitled to their opinion, and tend to not respect others. In my opinion, this is the root of America’s issues. Americans have a much lower sense of doing things simply to help others, for the common greater good. We love being able to customize every part of our life, to stand out, to differentiate ourselves from others. We have this fear of becoming “normal” or “mainstream”. Why is sharing likings and opinions a bad thing? We Americans need to be in control- constantly.

However, as razzledazzle8 said, “Discrimination and judging is much different from choosing.” As we grow up, we are conditioned to judge. We judge what a celebrity wore to dinner, or our friends not getting enough likes on their Instagram pictures. We judge people constantly but are scared for others to judge us. If you judge those around yourself, isn't it okay for them to judge you? We judge as a way to differentiate things. Like in our pepper experiment, We had to determine the “best” one, and with no criteria on what “best” was, and no communication between parties, most of us ended up picking pepper 2 or 3. We make a subconscious decision of what's ”best” all the time, as we are the product of an environment where the only acceptable choice is the best one. As Sheena Lyengar noted, in other countries, such as Russia, where they are often provided with little to no choice, they take whatever is given to them. The best one is the one that works for everyone, and that much choice is not expected.

This explanation from Russians and other Europeans shows us that choosing might not always be necessary. We hate when our choice to choose is taken from us, even if they were going to make the same choice you would have. This is the self righteousness and entitlement I brought up. It makes us feel safe knowing that the decision is always in our hands. However, there is a thin line where judgement can become discrimination. Most of the time, we keep our judgements to ourselves, ut the moment we start acting on those judgements, such as making assumptions about them, belittling or profiling them, is when this becomes discrimination. This plays into what John A Powell calls “Othering.” He says “Othering is not about liking or disliking someone. It is based on the conscious or unconscious assumption that a certain identified group poses a threat to the favoured group.” America was founded on racism and slavery, the most terrible form of discrimination. People associate income and quality of life based on skin color and/or class. I do believe in a world without discrimination, because that is a consciously hateful decision someone has to take. We can change this in future generations by focusing on loving and accepting those around them for who they are, not what they own or look like.

However, I believe that judging can sometimes be vital. We judge what will be good for us, if it will help us or hurt us, and that can be a good thing. Having the choice between multiple items, and judging which is best for you and your needs is something I don't think America could function without. We are the “Land of the Free” right? We decided freedom meant choice, and I don't think it's all that bad - to an extent. While I think choosing and judging is a part of human nature, I think there are a lot of ways we could move our society to a less judgemental place. I think we could start by placing less emphasis on social media/ celebrities, and more focus on everyday people who others can relate to. We also need to teach children as they grow up the role of their choices in society. Small day to day things are perfectly normal, such as being able to choose what dress you wear or what snack you bring for lunch. But when you start to pick what friends you make, and what choices you make that affect others, you need to be careful how much your judgement is clouding your decision making. We need to accept those around us for who they are, whether we differ in opinion or not.

Judgement and choosing are indispensable in the U.S., and honestly I think people would freak out if their right to choose between 10 different types of soda is hindered. But the discriminatory systems our country was built on must change. We need to develop the sense of greater common good that countries like Japan and China display. We must sacrifice, whether we like it or not.


How do you think its okay to judge others, but still get upset when others judge you? If yes, why do you feel like they're different?

mcsd153
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by ThankYouFive on November 11, 2020 19:01

As demonstrated in Sheena Iyenger’s TED talk, most choices have little to no effect on the world, or even on an individual. When you are given the choice between different types of soda, it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. In situations like these, the act of judgment is perfectly acceptable. However, judgment becomes problematic when judgment is made regarding a person rather than an object like a soda. While your choice to judge a certain soda doesn’t really hurt anyone, judging a person can and very often does, because a person can actually be impacted severely by a certain judgment. While it is a perfectly natural thing for people to judge others, it is important to remember that the things we say and do can really hurt others.

The conversation regarding othering is a very interesting one because it has always existed, but has recently become more prevalent and obvious due to the words of President Trump. In the article we read from The Guardian, it is made clear that other countries, such as Canada, have done well in getting rid of othering by far right politicians, who now don’t have a lot of power in the government. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate any othering in the US and the world, it is certainly possible to prevent it from taking over the social and political landscape, as well as to stop it from controlling people’s lives.

Although choice can certainly have negative effects, such as people being overwhelmed by the insane number of options in a supermarket, I do believe that it has a role in society. Its primary purpose, in my opinion, is to allow people to choose who they want their political leaders to be. Getting rid of the ability to choose would lead to a lot of people having their rights taken away from them. A society in which people are unable to choose anything for themselves is not a functioning society.

I think that discrimination on an institutional level could be destroyed by creating laws that prevent both purposeful and unintentional discrimination from happening. However, people will always discriminate against one another on a personal level, and I think that the only way to decrease instances of interpersonal racism is to make the legal punishment more severe. People need to be reminded that their actions have consequences, so that they will avoid discriminating in the future.

To answer Soleilmagic’s question, I think that society would be able to make far more positive changes if no aspects of discrimination existed, because people would be able to work together as equals to solve problems, rather than treating others differently because of things that are out of their control. Also, people would generally be happier because they wouldn’t have to worry so much about how others viewed them. However, as I said earlier, I don’t really think that it is possible for all aspects of discrimination to be removed entirely, because people unintentionally discriminate against each other every day.

My question is what would be some effective ways for the government to decrease the amount of institutional discrimination that exists in our society?

In response to your lingering question, I think that he answer to this is very complex. I think some ways that they could attempt to close that gap of inequity and discrimination could be by redirecting funds for communities disproportionally impacted, and find a way to ensure discrimination cannot play a role in hiring, medical care, service or any other decision that directly impacts someone else. However, I think the real end to discrimination starts in the individual. Our government can try all they want to stop discrimination, but the people in our society have to make an concious decision to irradiate discrimination from their every day lives. It is something I hope America can conquer, but it feels unlikely.

alberic25
boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

The importance of Judgement

Although we don’t realize it we are almost always making judgements. For better or worse it is something that we do subconsciously driven by a multitude of different factors. You hear people say things like “don't be judgemental” all the time. However, is this even possible? I think making judgments is very important for humans, to an extent. As humans we are given many options in my aspects of our lives. We must think of many factors in order to make a decision. As brought up in the Ted Talk, Sheena Iyengar says that an assumption made is that more option equals better choices. I don’t think this is the truth though. The more options you are given, the less time you take to think about all of them. If we are talking about American politics, if we had more choices to choses from we would be even more divided because people have very different opinions across the country. The less choices you have, the more likely you are going to think a lot about what you are choosing. However, choice and freedom to choose is very important to American identity. We are of course, the “land of the free”. We can see how much American’s love their freedom of choice throughout history and now especially. People don’t like that masks are required because they believe that they should be able to have complete power to choose what's best for them. Once laws and regulations are placed people are fast to link them to tyranny and the failing of democracy. I do believe that choice is extremely important, however, I think that sometimes people need to listen to others for the best. All these choices we make are based on judgement. This is why judgement is so important. Americans have many choices and although we sometimes overthink our choices and make it harder than it should be, we need to judge objects and humans to make these decisions. Judging people is wrong but it can be really important to us. They protect us and keep us from making wrong decisions. Judgements can be wrong and most likely are most of the time but we still need to rely on them for our well being. In politics our judgements are affected a lot by the media and the people around us. This brings me to the idea of “Othering”, which is also driven by the media. By pushing people into groups and making them threats politicians can “divide and dehumanize” groups of people. Descrimination is driven by judgement. People can judge people based on their race, gender, looks and more. These judgements are affected a lot by our politicians or the media. This is emphasized recently with Donald Trump and many of the things he says about different groups of people. We are supposed to listen to our president, and many people do idolize him and therefore they will listen to him. There is not much we can do about descrimination and judgement, because although it is affected by people around us, we are the ones ultimately making the judgements. Maybe eventually we will be able to see people without judgement but as of now I think that as long as you have eyes, you are judging people. On the other hand I think that othering can be stopped if we just regulate what our politicians are saying and make it clear that these things are unacceptable.

The question that I’m still wondering is if humans really have the right to free choice or if we are affected so much by the media and those around us that we are never really making our own decisions.


alberic25
boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by mcsd153 on November 11, 2020 19:47

While I firmly believe in my right to choose, I do think that here in America, choice has not exactly become a good thing. As Sheena Lyengar mentioned in her TedTalk, when people are presented with too much choice, they often make a worse decision than those presented with little to no option. I think this sense of self righteousness in America has become so toxic for our society. With the right to choose everything in your life in order for them to cater to your needs has created a divide between American citizens. People feel entitled to their opinion, and tend to not respect others. In my opinion, this is the root of America’s issues. Americans have a much lower sense of doing things simply to help others, for the common greater good. We love being able to customize every part of our life, to stand out, to differentiate ourselves from others. We have this fear of becoming “normal” or “mainstream”. Why is sharing likings and opinions a bad thing? We Americans need to be in control- constantly.

However, as razzledazzle8 said, “Discrimination and judging is much different from choosing.” As we grow up, we are conditioned to judge. We judge what a celebrity wore to dinner, or our friends not getting enough likes on their Instagram pictures. We judge people constantly but are scared for others to judge us. If you judge those around yourself, isn't it okay for them to judge you? We judge as a way to differentiate things. Like in our pepper experiment, We had to determine the “best” one, and with no criteria on what “best” was, and no communication between parties, most of us ended up picking pepper 2 or 3. We make a subconscious decision of what's ”best” all the time, as we are the product of an environment where the only acceptable choice is the best one. As Sheena Lyengar noted, in other countries, such as Russia, where they are often provided with little to no choice, they take whatever is given to them. The best one is the one that works for everyone, and that much choice is not expected.

This explanation from Russians and other Europeans shows us that choosing might not always be necessary. We hate when our choice to choose is taken from us, even if they were going to make the same choice you would have. This is the self righteousness and entitlement I brought up. It makes us feel safe knowing that the decision is always in our hands. However, there is a thin line where judgement can become discrimination. Most of the time, we keep our judgements to ourselves, ut the moment we start acting on those judgements, such as making assumptions about them, belittling or profiling them, is when this becomes discrimination. This plays into what John A Powell calls “Othering.” He says “Othering is not about liking or disliking someone. It is based on the conscious or unconscious assumption that a certain identified group poses a threat to the favoured group.” America was founded on racism and slavery, the most terrible form of discrimination. People associate income and quality of life based on skin color and/or class. I do believe in a world without discrimination, because that is a consciously hateful decision someone has to take. We can change this in future generations by focusing on loving and accepting those around them for who they are, not what they own or look like.

However, I believe that judging can sometimes be vital. We judge what will be good for us, if it will help us or hurt us, and that can be a good thing. Having the choice between multiple items, and judging which is best for you and your needs is something I don't think America could function without. We are the “Land of the Free” right? We decided freedom meant choice, and I don't think it's all that bad - to an extent. While I think choosing and judging is a part of human nature, I think there are a lot of ways we could move our society to a less judgemental place. I think we could start by placing less emphasis on social media/ celebrities, and more focus on everyday people who others can relate to. We also need to teach children as they grow up the role of their choices in society. Small day to day things are perfectly normal, such as being able to choose what dress you wear or what snack you bring for lunch. But when you start to pick what friends you make, and what choices you make that affect others, you need to be careful how much your judgement is clouding your decision making. We need to accept those around us for who they are, whether we differ in opinion or not.

Judgement and choosing are indispensable in the U.S., and honestly I think people would freak out if their right to choose between 10 different types of soda is hindered. But the discriminatory systems our country was built on must change. We need to develop the sense of greater common good that countries like Japan and China display. We must sacrifice, whether we like it or not.


How do you think its okay to judge others, but still get upset when others judge you? If yes, why do you feel like they're different?

This is actually a really good question for humanity and is really hard to answer. However, if I was to give an answer I would think that it's because people make judgements subconsciously. We don't really think about the judgements we are making when we make them this is why they feel right to us, we aren't really realizing what we are doing. If we make a judgement and get to know the person more and realize the judgement is wrong we do feel bad and that it was wrong. However, when others make judgements about us they hurt, especially when they aren't true. We know ourselves the best and can't ever see how we are perceived to the outside world. Since we don't know how other people see us we find it really hard to learn that they are judging you. When you learn bout the judgements people place on you, you think about it a lot. However, I'm sure the person making the judgement doesn't think about it that much when they think it or say it.

broskiii
Charlestown, MA, US
Posts: 6

Discrimination Is All Around Us.

Discrimination is all around us. We, as humans, experience it everyday and it has become our natural routine. When we wake up each day, we choose what kind of breakfast we want to eat, or what kind of shampoo to use that evening. The choices we make always impact us in some way and once I watched the TED talk, I realized how many choices that I make a day and what the effect of it has on my life. For example, when Sheena Iyenger mentioned the situation with the parents choosing to end the life of their infants, I was picturing myself in their shoes and realized how hard it must have been to know that you can be the one to determine whether or not they will live their last moment. As human beings, we want to make our own choices. We want to learn that we can succeed by ourselves. By making these choices, I believe that people will discriminate against others/things, purposefully and subconsciously. The model answer would be that discriminating against other people is always a negative thing because we should all learn to get along with each other. However, in reality, we know that it isn’t true and that discrimination must happen because of one’s own beliefs. Thinking back to the podcast with Alicia Garcia, she mentioned that many minority groups judge their own child for being part of the LGBTQ+ community because of their religion. This is a clear example of how discrimination happens in our society. I’m not saying that discrimination must happen, but I find it very hard to believe that a world where no judgement and no discrimination is possible. We all have thoughts and we all like likes/dislikes, therefore leading us to discriminate/judge against other things. Judgement, in my lens, is looking at something with background context and making a conclusion about that thing/person. Sometimes, as humans we are also too quick to judge, which I think we all need to learn to do better at. From what I learned in Iyenger’s TED talk, choices need to be made. We cannot process anything or be able to do anything without them. It is an integral part of our subconscious and makes advancements happen in our world. Undoubtedly, there are some good and bad choices/judgements made by others. For example, robbing a bank or running a red light would be a bad judgement call and a bad choice to make. However, helping out at the elderly homes and volunteering to save endangered animals is a great judgement call and a great choice to make in my opinion. In society, choices are made everyday. “Othering” is a term that John Powell used in his reading to describe the requirements needed to become a full fledged member of society and if you fail to do so, you are considered "an other". These requirements were made by other fellow citizens who have lived in that society for a long time and thought that they were appropriate to use in that setting. The citizens made these choices and made these judgement calls to determine whether or not someone can fit in their society. Their role in society is to make choices that can affect their population positively and to invite other good citizens to join their association. I personally think that a society wouldn’t be a society without people making choices for others. Following societal norms and forcing ourselves to conform to those standards is what makes a society what it is and if everyone is doing it, then someone would automatically think that they should as well. In response to alberic25’s question, I think that humans are not really free to make their own decisions because society has forced us to think this way. As I said before, I think that conformity has really taken a turn on our human psyche and has influenced all of our decisions because of the need to “fit in.” I believe that choosing a simple thing, like breakfast cereal, is complicated because of all the health factors one has to consider when ingesting it in their body. I hope that sooner or later, we will gradually start thinking freely without having any societal limits in our way.

Furthermore, I do not think that it is possible to have a world without discrimination/judgement because I believe that people should have their right to think whatever they want and to like whatever they want. I do not want a society where everybody thinks the same way because there would be no engaging conversations made or advancements ready to change the world. However, I do propose a question to my fellow classmates: what life would be like if everyone acted the same and thought the same things? How different would everyday life be?

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