posts 16 - 30 of 40
beantown9
WEST ROXBURY, MA, US
Posts: 11

Discrimination free and Judgement free

I think discrimination towards people or towards anyone needs to decrease in our society. Most of the time when we don't even realized we are making judgements. However i think making judgements is important for our society. We make judgements everyday in our lives, but making judgements is important tp us to an extent. I think when we have to make a decision, and we have many different options for that choice or decision, we sometimes over think it, or make the wrong choice. The more decisions you have means the less time you have to think about all your options or every option. Also if you less options for a decision, then you will have more time to think about your options and are less likely to over think it. It is important for everyone to make decisions, because everyone's voice matters. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions, but when we have too many options it can be bad as in we can over think the decision or make the wrong decision. Discrimination needs to end because no one should be discriminated and we can't view people in a stereotypical sense. I don't think we should discriminate among people. When Alicia Garza said "And I can tell you that on election night I was in Georgia, and I saw a multiracial group of people who were waiting to cast their vote for her. They were waiting in lines that were two and three hours long. There were elderly people, there were young people with babies. And when you talk to everybody, and you ask them why were they standing there, knowing that they had been there for hours and that it was possible they wouldn't be able to cast their vote, they said two things. Number one, Stacey was their preferred candidate. But number two, that they understood the context in which they were needing to cast this vote." it made me think why our choices and our judgement are so important to us. Why it is so important to vote and everyone's vote matters because their vote is their individual choice. We can end discriminating among people by seeing people for who they actually are as a person. The question i'm wondering is if people's decisions are pressured by the media at all?

Dolphin42
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

The Power of Decision-making

Responsibilities come with having the ability to make decisions. Given the power to make choices, the person is also responsible for the consequences of their actions. Choices stems from freedom and capitalism, which are the principles that America is built on. American citizens have the power to vote for the person they think is most suitable to be the leader of the country and the right to protest against injustice. Companies are driven to make better products so that their customers will choose them over their competitors. Discrimination, judgement, and choice-making all comes from our ability to differentiate and evaluate the people and things around us. The environment in which a person grows up in influences their judgements and their decisions. I agree with John A Powell’s article “Us vs them: the sinister techniques of ‘Othering’ – and how to avoid them” that “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.... people don’t ‘know’ those that they are ‘Othering’.” People don’t know they are making assumptions about someone or a group of people because they grew up in a prejudiced society driven by competition. We as humans identify each other and everything else around us based on their differences. Discrimination derives from something or someone being the minority or being different from the large population and it is something that is passed down from our ancestors. By marginalizing against the minorities or people of disadvantage, people get a sense of superiority over others. Discrimination and racism becomes normalized by social media and political figures who uses stereotypes as weapons to dehumanize other ethnic groups.

Growing up in an immigrant family, I was taught that parents know what’s best for us and therefore we should do what we’re told. So I was not surprised when the Asian American children performed better given the instructions of their mothers while the Anglo-American performed better when they had choices in the experiment conducted by Sheena Lyengar. As I’m getting older, I'm starting to realize that I struggle with making decisions myself and I tend to ask the people around me about what I should do instead of making the decisions myself. Like how Sheena Lyengar mentioned in her TED Talk, I was overwhelmed by having too many choices. Many people including myself make choices in order to fit in. The herd mentality is when people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors. People don’t like to be the odd one out because the rest of their peers will discriminate or exclude them due to their differences.

I think that having choices and being able to judge is both a good and bad thing. Competition from choice-making helps move the society forward as everyone works hard to surpass those around them. People generally like to be in control of their lives and generally perform better when they are able to make their own decisions. However, stereotypes and discrimination is also a result of judgement. I believe that it is okay to judge someone or compare yourself to others as long as you don’t judge them for something they can’t control such as their race and ethnicity, and/or making assumptions or stereotypes about them based on their identity. I don’t think that it is possible for a world to exist without discrimination because our society has been engrained with discrimination and it is a way of recognizing and understanding the differences between each other. These differences are what makes everyone unique. My lingering question is how can we decrease stereotyping and normalizing discrimination in our society? What can we do to protect future generations from the influence (becoming the victim or perpetrator) of discrimination and racism?


Dolphin42
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

Originally posted by broskiii on November 11, 2020 20:20

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 in a day and what the effect of it was. 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 hear 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 are 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. 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 they are because 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 questions, 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?

This is a really interesting question and it reminded me of a short story that I read back in eighth grade called "Harrison Bergeron" written by Kurt Vonnegut. It is a science fiction describing a dystopian world where everyone is completely equal and I recommend that you read it. If everyone acted the same and thought the same things then we will be like robots. Many of the technology around us comes from geniuses who stood out for their intelligence. But if everyone thought the same, then no one will be able to invent new things. I also can't imagine what the social structure is going to look like because a leader is needed to govern society or at least ensure that everyone is being equal and contributing to society. Everyday life will be the same for everyone from the moment they are born to when they die.

Bumblebee
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

We'll Get There...Eventually

Judgement is unavoidable. We do it subconsciously based upon ideals and standards that have been imposed upon us and that we have adopted since birth. We can’t control the immediate impressions of someone/thing that we feel because of what we perceive as acceptable. However, we can choose whether or not to examine why we are making those judgements, and whether or not to act on them.

If you make hurtful judgements, you aren’t inherently a bad person. You just need to understand why you made those judgements, and why they are wrong, so as to prevent you from acting on them, and discriminating against someone.

I believe the point of judgement in theory is to help you make the best decisions for yourself and for the greater good. You can decide that it’s a bad idea to drive under the influence based on your life experience. You can decide that studying for a test is more important than going to a party. However, in practice, judgement is much more messy. People use judgement to discriminate against people for who they are, to fire them from jobs, to kick them out of their houses. Those judgements don’t help anyone. In fact, they do the opposite. I’m not sure I can think of any point for those kind of judgements except hate.

As for choices, I believe we make too many on a daily basis to ever completely be able to eliminate them from our lives. In other words, yes, we do have to choose. We have to choose things as mundane as our outfits in the morning, or as important as our values in life.

I agree with 239bid0073 in that choice is neither a good nor bad thing. Like they said, you can control it, and it all depends on what choice you make. You could make a good choice or a bad choice, but having the choice is not one or the other. It is entirely up to you, so it will vary on a case by case basis.

Regardless of whether it’s helpful or harmful, the concept of choice in America is not going anywhere. Like razzledazzle8 wrote, choosing has shaped who Americans are. It is one of the founding principles of our democracy. Like Sheena Iyenger said in her TED talk, even when having the choice hurts us, we still want it, like the parents who want to be able to decide when to take their baby off life support. Even though the French parents, who had the doctors decide for them, were happier, Americans are so attached to choice that we would still rather have it.

This is what makes choice essential to our society’s ability to function. We have been raised upon the ideal that we have the freedom of choice. It has been pounded into our heads as our right. To try and take that away from us now would be too big a change to handle, and we would rebel. For example, whenever the government has tried to propose legislation on guns that would impose certain restrictions on the availability of guns in our country, despite the fact that it would only mean having to wait a little longer and go through a more thorough process when buying a gun to make sure people with bad intentions can’t get them, many are strongly opposed to this because they feel it takes away their right to choose what weapons they want to own.

However, societies that are built upon the idea that not every citizen is entitled to their choice of whatever they want, like in North Korea, where free speech and choice is severely limited, still function. It is simply the degree of success the society has that varies with how much choice is given.

I do not believe it is possible for a world to exist with judgement. Like I mentioned before, it is something we do subconsciously, so therefore, we can’t get rid of it. However, I do believe it is possible for a world to exist without discrimination, but we have a long way to go. There are many people in this country alone that believe in hate and bigotry, as shown by the fact that 72 million of them still voted for a president that embodies those ideals, a president who, like John Powell says, openly contributes to the“othering” of minority groups like Mexicans, Muslims, and women in his speech. But there are also many people who are becoming more open minded and accepting of people different from them, who are standing up for the rights of those people. And, as proven by the results of this most recent election, those people outnumber the hateful ones. Bitter and intolerant people are a dying breed. As more and more people become educated on the reality of the world around them, it is only a matter of time before what some consider abominable today is normal to everyone. When that happens, children won’t learn to be prejudiced against certain groups of people, so they won’t discriminate against them. This may take longer than my generation, and even a few generations after that, but eventually, I have hope that we will get there.

My lingering question is do you think more choice means a more successful society?

Bumblebee
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by Dolphin42 on November 11, 2020 20:43

My lingering question is how can we decrease stereotyping and normalizing discrimination in our society? What can we do to protect future generations from the influence (becoming the victim or perpetrator) of discrimination and racism?


I believe education is the answer to both questions. We can decrease stereotyping and the normalization of discrimination in our society by educating people on reality. So much hate and bigotry is born out of ignorance. Once people learn that all of us aren't really that different, they won't be so quick to criticize or discriminate against their neighbor.

Additionally, I think removing President Trump from office will also help decrease those things. Like Powell mentioned, having someone in the limelight, the leader of our country no less, saying the things he does about minorities so openly makes other people think that it's ok to follow suit when it's not. When they no longer have that example to follow, I think they will be much more reserved about displaying their hate.

As a result of educating older generations, I think that will automatically translate to future generations. Parents shape their children's morals and ideas about life. When children have questions about things they don't understand, they go to their parents. If the parents are educated, then they can give their children a thoughtful answer that promotes acceptance. If the parents still believe in false, hateful ideas, then that is what they will pass on to their children.

Bumblebee
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

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 think the title, “Your Choices End Where Other’s Rights Begin” is such an important distinction to make. Yes, choice is important, but not when it infringes upon the rights of others. Part of the reason why our society functions is because we have rules governing the boundaries of the choices we can make. That is not something that should be debated. It should not be debated whether or not students are allowed to wear swastikas into school. It should not be debated whether or not white people saying the n-word creates a hostile work environment. Yet, it is, and that is where freedom of choice crosses the line.

SlothsPoopOnceAWeek
Chestnuthill, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

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

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?


Your question was regarding beauty standards and how it affects people. I strongly believe that pretty privellage is real and it is present in the world around us. Personally, I believe that everyone has preferences, and it effects everyone's life in one way or another. You might choose someone as a better declaimer because they are prettier, or you may want to be around someone or talk to someone because you find them more attractive than others. You might compliment someone more, or recognize someone's accomplishments more because they are more attractive. Someone might get a job over their counterpart because the person who is hiring them could find them more attractive. A big part of this is also social media. Social media will make one person much more "popular" because they are considered more attractive to others, or may be photogenic. This does make the people around them feel bad, feel as if they won't do as well in anything because their counterparts are doing well. Society's beauty standards are white people. European white people. That is the society beauty standard. And it sucks. It sucks for those who had to grow up hating themselves because the people they saw on TV were not the same as them, or because the people around them were not the same. I don't know if these standards will ever go away, and I don't know what to do to stop them. Except one thing. We can put diverse groups of people around the media, displaying all types of people. That's honestly all I have
Facinghistorystudent
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Discrimination and injustice

As seen without virtual pepper examination during class, we judge everything. Whether it's going to the supermarket and choosing the perfect pepper, choosing the perfect dress to wear to your best friend’s wedding, or making sure we drive the perfect car, we judge everything. Of course there are more extreme examples of judgement that many people have in this world. These include judging people based on their gender identity, sexual orientation, height, weight, or skin color. These are things that are out of the person’s control. They are something that even if the person wished and wished to change about themselves, won't happen. Which brings up the question, why? If people are all sculpted to be different in many different aspects, why judge them on things they simply cannot change.

To look at judgement, one must realize there are different types. There is simply making a choice on something and there is discrimination. Choice making falls into that first category of judgement I discussed. Talking about those miscellaneous things that would really only affect you for a day or so. Discrimination,however, is a subconscious choice to purposely set someone aside for something they cannot control. This exact idea comes up in John Powell’s entitled, “Us vs. them: The Sinister Techniques of ‘Othering’—and How to Avoid Them.” He talks about how, People don’t just figure out on their own that collectively they need to be afraid of another group. Leadership plays a critical role. Often people who have been living with one another for years are made to feel suddenly that those differences have become threatening.” This is saying that these biases and discriminations are things that, although are awful and should not exist, are often not always in one's motives, but subconscious.

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to accept each other for who they are. In a perfect world, a black man would be able to walk down the street and not fear for his life. In a perfect world, a person of the LGBTQ+ community would be able to hold hands with their significant other in public and not be judged. We do not live in a perfect world, however, and these things happen daily.

To answer your lingering question, razzeldazzel8, I do not think the idea of beauty standards can be stopped, especially within the new age of social media.With many celebrities always framing themselves as perfect and living these outrageous lifestyles, it is hard to get out of the mindset for many people, that that is not always what everything is like.

Some lingering questions I still have are: How much influence does the media have on the way people view themselves? And if it is a lot,why?

butterfly123
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Choice and Judgment

When thinking about whether a world can exist without discrimination and judgment, I wish that I could say yes. Discrimination is never a good thing and can be extremley harmful. The same goes for judgement. Yet I don’t think a world with no discrimination or judgement at all could possibly exsist. When thinking about the pepper activity we did in class, it made me wonder what would happen if people truly had no biases, and made decisions with absolutely no discrimination and no judgement. You would probably stand at the grocery store for hours trying to decide which pepper to buy. Without judging the differences between each one, without discriminating against certain features, how could you possibly decide? You would end up leaving with no peppers at all, or just grabbing the first one you saw even if it turned out to be old, rotten, or unripe. Judgement is a part of choice, and discrimination has become a part of judgment.

Now it is more plausible that a world could exsist that allows discrimination against vegetables, but none against people. But it still feels impossible. If kids are taught to look at one pepper as better than another, the natural progression of a child's development will cause them to apply those same principles to people. Discrimination is clearly never beneficial, yet society has instilled prejudices so deep in our minds that is is almost impossible to function without. We can try our best to educate children, teach them not to judge others, not to discriminate, but it is hard when, as John A. Powell mentions, it is our own president who is normalizing blatant discrimination and ‘othering’.

Judgement and choice have become very closely linked. It is almost impossible to make a choice without judging at least one of the options. When deciding where to eat for dinner we judge restaurants, when deciding what to wear we judge clothing-- this shirt is ugly, this outfit is out of style. It is nearly impossible to live without judgment just like it is nearly impossible to live without choice. As Sheena Iyengar discusses, Americans in particular are very attached to choice. Our country was built off of principles that we can’t let go of. The idea of freedom, hope and individuality that were the basis of the ‘American Dream’ includes choice. You can choose what you do with your life. You can choose what to wear. You can choose what to eat for dinner. You can choose whether you succeed. And while sometimes too much choice can be a bad thing, and more options cause worse decision making, choice still definitely has a role in society. Having some control over your own life and what happens to you is a positive thing, and allows for creativity and innovation, and it allows for our society to function.


A lingering question is can you make choices with no judgement at all?

Regina_Phalange
Boston, Massachussetts
Posts: 16

Society's desire to box people in

Judgement is something that each of us has been trained to do. In fact, it’s possible for some to believe that it’s an innate quality. People judge everything they see, and have this obsession with trying to fit others into a mold, and categorizing others. I do not believe that this is an essential part of society because as people, there is no need to see someone as lesser than just because of superficial things, or aspects about themselves which they are born with.


In the article “Us vs them: the sinister techniques of ‘Othering’ – and how to avoid them,” John Powell argues that ‘othering’ is when a group of people uses their fear of another group of individuals in order to defend the dehumanization of that group. This form of discrimination is something that society created, but was not innate. An example provided in this article is how Nixon fed on the fear that white people had of a shift in the social order, which he used to mass incarcerate black people. This fear was only there because white people are the most privileged people. This is not natural. I believe that a society can function with the ideal that each individual deserves to be treated with respect, and should receive a fair shot in life to thrive and succeed.


In addition, in theAlicia Garza podcast, this point is driven forward because she argues how society has created a competition among people, separating people of color from white people, because of their common struggles. These common struggles, while divisive also have created unity among those that are oppressed. This is seen in the BLM movement, so this ‘othering’ and discrimination has led to people of color sticking together. This is because due to ‘othering’ people can either bridge together, or break apart, and while there was division among the groups that were oppressed, I think that now there is unity because there is an overall issue of human rights.


The TED Talk touched on the subject on how so many choices ultimately aren’t as good as Americans are taught they are. Ultimately, so many choices are what leads to othering because Americans are constantly trying to find differences in everything. This was seen in the experiment when americans and non-americans were offered 7 different types of soda, juice, or water. Americans thought each individual drink, and brand as a choice,, whereas non-americans thought of their choice as just between juice, water, or soda. Because not everyone interpreted their choices the same, nor noticed every small difference, this shows that people are wired to think about differences, they aren’t born that way, so society doesn’t need that to function. Options can be good because they allow for independence, but too many choices then translates to ‘othering’.


It was made clear during the ‘perfect pepper’ experiment that we tend to categorize everything. We do the same thing to people, placing people into boxes based on their skin, their looks, sexual orientation, gender identity, and race. It’s exhausting because I realized that we overthink everything as a result, because picking a pepper shouldn’t be that deep.


To answer FacingHistoryStudent’s question about the role of the media in how people view themselves, I think it plays a major role in today’s age of technology. With beauty standards being so enforced in the media, it can have many impacts on people because they can feel unworthy, and have self esteem issues. However, it could also do the opposite because there is also lots of positivity and uplifting energy online today of people accepting others.


A lingering question I have is if you think that our society will realistically ever make it to a place where we won’t feel this constant need of grouping people and ‘othering’?

butterfly123
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

The Influence of the Media

Originally posted by Facinghistorystudent on November 11, 2020 23:25

As seen without virtual pepper examination during class, we judge everything. Whether it's going to the supermarket and choosing the perfect pepper, choosing the perfect dress to wear to your best friend’s wedding, or making sure we drive the perfect car, we judge everything. Of course there are more extreme examples of judgement that many people have in this world. These include judging people based on their gender identity, sexual orientation, height, weight, or skin color. These are things that are out of the person’s control. They are something that even if the person wished and wished to change about themselves, won't happen. Which brings up the question, why? If people are all sculpted to be different in many different aspects, why judge them on things they simply cannot change.

To look at judgement, one must realize there are different types. There is simply making a choice on something and there is discrimination. Choice making falls into that first category of judgement I discussed. Talking about those miscellaneous things that would really only affect you for a day or so. Discrimination,however, is a subconscious choice to purposely set someone aside for something they cannot control. This exact idea comes up in John Powell’s entitled, “Us vs. them: The Sinister Techniques of ‘Othering’—and How to Avoid Them.” He talks about how, People don’t just figure out on their own that collectively they need to be afraid of another group. Leadership plays a critical role. Often people who have been living with one another for years are made to feel suddenly that those differences have become threatening.” This is saying that these biases and discriminations are things that, although are awful and should not exist, are often not always in one's motives, but subconscious.

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to accept each other for who they are. In a perfect world, a black man would be able to walk down the street and not fear for his life. In a perfect world, a person of the LGBTQ+ community would be able to hold hands with their significant other in public and not be judged. We do not live in a perfect world, however, and these things happen daily.

To answer your lingering question, razzeldazzel8, I do not think the idea of beauty standards can be stopped, especially within the new age of social media.With many celebrities always framing themselves as perfect and living these outrageous lifestyles, it is hard to get out of the mindset for many people, that that is not always what everything is like.

Some lingering questions I still have are: How much influence does the media have on the way people view themselves? And if it is a lot,why?

I think that the media has a lot of influence on the way people view themselves. Society's beauty standards are ingrained into the minds of children from a young age through television, magazines, advertisements etc. It is nearly impossible to be exempt from the influence of the media. When thinking about the media’s influence related to choice, even if it is subconscious, what you see in the media affects decisions. Maybe you saw a celebrity with a hairstyle that you liked, so you try it on yourself. Maybe a certain style is trending on social media, so next time you are shopping you buy different pieces of clothing. Body types and facial features that are praised in the media can cause you to feel like you are not pretty, or not good enough if you don’t look like the people in the magazines. The media also has influence over how other people perceive you. Since everyone is absorbing the same beauty standards and unrealistic expectations, someone else might judge you for not looking a certain way, not dressing a certain way or not acting a certain way, which can affect your own self image.

coral27
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Choice vs Discrimination, Us vs Them

Choice is an inevitable part of life and it is not inherently good or bad. We make countless choices every single day, from small ones like which pepper to buy or which route to take in the morning, to more impactful ones, like where to apply for a job or which candidate to vote for. To make these choices, we use our judgment to determine which option is better. We cannot get rid of these choices; even if society were to become so restrictive and controlled that they were made for us, there would still be someone or something making that choice. And people should have the right to choose. I think @ThankYouFive put it very well when they wrote, “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.”

Choosing a symmetrical pepper is most likely not going to harm anyone. (But if you really want to get into it, following vegetable beauty standards contributes to the food waste problem because “ugly” ones are discarded). @239bid0073’s title, “Your Choices End Where Other’s Rights Begin” represents my view: the right to choice is important, but once your choice negatively affects other people’s rights, it shouldn’t be up to you any more. I see a parallel with religious freedom here; everyone should be allowed to follow their religion and what it dictates that they can and cannot do, but one person’s religious beliefs should not infringe on another’s rights and what they can and cannot do.

Sheena Iyengar’s choice of sugar in her green tea would, at most, upset the waiter. But it would not really harm anyone, so, from an American perspective, the choice was hers to make. I think that in situations like these, choice is perfectly acceptable and should be in the hands of the person it directly affects. But I do recognize that my Americanness probably makes me think this way.

I believe that choice is a part of freedom. However, I also see that too much of it can be overwhelming. For example, the amount of different forms of essentially identical consumer products in the United States is just ridiculous. But who gets to determine how many brands of soda there are? The government shouldn’t. The brands want to compete with each other. That leaves…the consumers? The culture as a whole?

I think a key question in the issue of whether judgement is a bad thing is the effect it has. In my opinion, it is unavoidable for people to notice differences between people, and make certain judgements based on their observations. The question is, what do they do with those observations? I don’t think a world with little to no discrimination is impossible. But is counterproductive to pretend that we are all the same, to be “colorblind.” As John A. Powell said, it is necessary to resist “othering” by promoting “belonging.” To form a bridge between our different identities and experiences and fight against discrimination, we must first recognize that we have different identities and experiences, and that is okay.

I think a great way to reduce discrimination in society is respectfully engaging with people who have different identities, experiences, and views from ourselves. It is not easy, especially right now. It can be downright frustrating, and easily gets toxic. But it is incredibly important, because it can lead to a sense of common ground in the face of “othering” tactics. Politically, if we are all divided into our little bubbles of identity, we fail to find our common ambitions for society. As Alicia Garza was saying, it is unfair to assume that people fit into neat boxes of affiliation and belief, and to count on those.

To respond to @Regina_Phalange’s question, realistically, I do not think that we will ever get to a definitive “zero” value of “othering.” I think that there will never be a definitive “zero” of almost anything. I don’t want to be a pessimist, though; I think we can realistically get close to no “othering.” I have no idea when that could happen, but I have hope that we can continue to make progress towards it. I do think that there will always be grouping, but what really matters is what we do with those groups. We should work to make bridges and recognize the variety of struggles and experiences that each group has, instead of trying to alienate certain groups from society.


A question I have for my classmates is, how do you see the current US political climate as it relates to “othering” and the “us vs. them” mentality? I would be especially interested to hear what you think about debate around the election results.

SlothsPoopOnceAWeek
Chestnuthill, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Education's effect on Judgement

No matter what we do, we will always be judging people in one way or another. From the deep rooted racism in our country and systems, to the "preferences" that people have gained throughout their lives, there will always be judgement. This is in part because of the segregation that is in our country's past and present. Different laws, such as Jim Crow Laws, seperate black people from white people. Black people also received lower/no eductation, leading to the sterotype that black people and people of color are unedcutated. This also has a lot to do with the funding of education, and how some schools, mostly those that are primarily of color, have less funding than schools in neighborhoods that mostly consist of white people. There are so many flaws in our school system that leads to the discrimination and sterotypes in our society. They also lead to judgement of other people based on things we can see, such as skin color and gender.

Honestly, the only thing we can do to prevent such judgements regarding race and gender is to think that we can not see an entire person's life story just by looking at them. All we see is them, but not their personality, or anything about them. We don't know their background, we don't know their backstory and how they go to the very moment that they are in, all we know is that they are there. Building a post-othering society will always be the goal, but it is difficult to think that it can be acheived with the amount of history in the world. A way that we can try and achieve a post-othering society can be by teaching. Put more funding into education, and rather than teach half truths about this world, teach what happened. Don't downplay racism, teach about colonization and it's negative effects on cultures and countries, just educate about what is afraid to be taught. Don't teach lies, don't teach biases.

Lingering Question: In what ways can the U.S. education system change in order to help eliminate bias and try and remove discrimination and bias, which are greatly present around the world, especially to minorities.

Hector_Zeroni
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

A world of discrimination

I believe that it is human nature to judge and discriminate against others. From the days of being hunter-gatherers to modern day society, we’ve judged others, often based on the little information we do have, in order to decide who someone is as a person. Under certain circumstances, such as trying to figure out who is someone you can trust, it is okay to judge someone as long as it is based on one’s personality. Much of history showcases us discriminating or judging someone. Back then, however, we had a greater tendency to discriminate against one’s appearance. We also discriminated against groups of people we knew nothing about. For example, the Ancient Greeks were the first to describe people as Barbarians. At the time, it was used to describe anyone who was not Greek, and the Romans eventually used the word Barbarian as a means to describe “uncivilized” people. I find it interesting when Alicia Garza says, “the whole campaign that this president advanced was very much centered around protecting white power, defending white identity, and also creating villains out of those who would say that, white identity politics aren't the only identity politics that deserve attention.” The quote resonated with me because it is interesting to think that despite all the advancements that we’ve made as a society, discrimination is still around and still has its primitive origins. As long as we allow fear to control us, and as long as humans remain imperfect, I don’t believe that we will ever live in a world without discrimination and judgement. Fear serves as the primary reason for why we discriminate and judge others.


Answering @coral27’s question, I believe that US politics have always been about this whole “us vs them” mentality and it is not unique to today’s political landscape. If you look back when America first formed, it was the American colonies vs the British Empire, and any British Loyalist was seen as the enemy. Then it was the Federalists vs the Anti-Federalists. There was also Andrew Jackson and the formation of the Democratic Party when he painted the struggle as being the common man vs the establishment. Then there was the North vs the South in the 1800s. In the 20th century, it was originally about isolationism vs globalisation but then it was the capitalists vs the communists. I find it interesting how a lot of the “us vs them” mentality we see today echoes many of the arguments made back when the United States was formed. Today we argue about whether we should have a big government or small government, and this argument has been discussed pretty much since the beginning of US history with the American colonies vs the British or even the Federalists vs the Anti Federalists. We also see the rise of populism once again with people like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump gaining popularity. I don’t see this “us vs them” mentality going away any time soon with how embedded it has been in US politics for a long while.


The question I would like to ask my classmates is What do you think needs to be done to end the “us vs them” mentality we see in society today?


Wyverary
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Othering: Past, Present and Future

Making judgments is an important skill: which outfit is better for the important interview, or which of two friends in an argument is in the right. But this intuitive judging has resulted in the large schisms between different groups in the United States and around the world, and has resulted in the turbulence of the past four years, as millions of Americans chose to vote for a man who would uphold white supremacy, right after the United States’ first Black president.


As John A. Powell writes, this “Othering” is nothing new, and has merely been masked with dog whistles for generations. Nixon called for “law and order”, by which he meant cracking down on people of color in largely poor inner city neighborhoods, and making sure that affluent white suburban areas remained that way. It has only come out into the open more recently, as Trump has dispensed with subtleties and spoken out with viciously racist and sexist rhetoric throught his term.


Meanwhile, “identity politics” has arisen within the Progressive movement, as different forms of oppression are explored and addressed. Often however, these discussions about oppression can be framed as “oppression olympics” when they are really efforts to make sure everyone will be lifted up by Progressive policies. I think Alicia Garza did a really great job of describing this. If as a Black woman Alicia only makes 61 cents to the white man’s dollars, new policies need to be made to fix this wide gulf in earnings. However, if the average trans woman is only making 23 cents on this scale, she needs even more assistance and needs a place at the discussion table to gain equal economic opportunity. So while identity politics can seem like a polarizing movement, it is the very opposite. It allows for people to come together to find solutions that help everyone.


I think that it is possible to build a world without “Othering”, and where our identities form important pieces of who we are but do not prevent us from having the same opportunities as our peers with differing identities. But in order to do so, we first need to dismantle the systems that give advantages to certain groups, such as whites or men, so that we can all be on equal footing.


A lingering question: How can we distinguish between othering and forming communities with those most similar to us, in order to acknowledge that we all have different identities but this should not result in exclusion?


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