To the Point

honest thoughts about life, people, God, and doing what's right–>

culture snobs July 28, 2009

SharpiesIf you saw a black man with white paint on his face, with no clothes on, holding a spear and a shield, I bet your automatic reaction would be to think something along the lines of “oooo look, a primitive African savage!” I can say this because that’s my first reaction, too.

I also bet you wouldnt expect this guy to be a teenager in a normal public high school in a civilized country, with white and black friends, who usully wears jeans and Billabong shirts. He might even be your future doctor.

The thing is, we judge other cultures by our own, and that just doesn’t work. It’s not valid to say “In England we wear clothes all the time – well, most of us – and live in houses with walls, floors, and ceilings, so you should, too. And if you don’t you’re uncivilized.”

Maybe I’m being a total idiot here, but I have a serious problem with how textbooks define civilization. In AP World History, and other history classes, one of the major themes from the start is: What defines a civilization? And then the textbook goes on to explain, in a very stiff, look-at-me-I’m-an-arrogant-genius way exactly what civilization entails. According to them, African societies were just that – “societies.” Not civilizations. But, and please correct me if I’m wrong here, they are largely basing their definition of a civilization on Western ideas, wealth, and influence.

A group of ten Bushmen who live in the wilderness and wear loincloths are just as much a valid “civilization” as the United States of America. And, if I can go even farther, what is so fantastic about civilization, anyway? “Civilized” societies have higher crime rates, less respect for fellow human beings, more isolation, more suicides, more pollution, and more general unhappiness than “uncivilized” groups. In an ‘uncivilized” society, there is a basic equality and an eye-for-an-eye mentality. People respect each other, respect their heritage, and have a better life quality. They are healthier, happier, and die healthy at an older age. No, they don’t have computes or electricity or blogs, but they live.

I know we can’t change how our “civilizations” work, and that wasn’t the point of this post (in fact that whole thing was somewhat of a tangent) but I am saying we need to respect other cultures and societies. We may not understand them, we may think we have better ways of doing things, but we have to respect that for them, their way of doing things is the best way of all. Isn’t that what we all think after all? And in my opinion, people from other, more “primitive” cultures generally have a better argument.

Thoughts? Ever seen an extreme culture snob?


abortion is a thumbs down

Filed under: Ethics — Veronique @ 8:40 am
Tags: , , , , ,

This is an essay I did for my AP English Language class (hence the way too formal writing). I used pics in the assignment but because of copyright and jazz I haven’t included them here. The websites I used as a source are at the end.

Abortion. There are so many opinions and positions on this issue that it is almost overwhelming. Some people have no problem with abortion itself, but claim that the effect on mental health of the mothers is too detrimental, and others have no problem with the methods, effects, or consequences of abortion at all.
But I have to question how any human being with a conscience can have nothing against abortion. I understand that it is convenient, it is an easy solution to the problem of an unwanted pregnancy, and for some women it can make the difference between life and death. Only in the last instance would I let it slide; other situations, however, are no excuse for the murder of a helpless human being.
People say that abortion is not murder, because the fetus does not become truly human until the actual birth. It does not seem to matter to them that the fetus will become human, and that is the only thing it can become. Who has ever seen a human fetus grow into something other than a human? If the fetus isn’t human, then what is it, exactly? This is no excuse for murder. And, especially in the case of partial birth abortion, I doubt that anyone with a conscience could look at these children and say that they are not human.

I have a friend, aged eighteen, who found out a few years ago that her mother had had an earlier pregnancy, and had an abortion. She was in tears, saying that she could have had a brother or a sister. “I wonder what they would have been like,” she said. “I can’t believe mom killed them.” Not only this, but it was incredibly difficult for her to look her mother, the woman who had raised her and loved her, when my friend knew that she’d killed. It was a huge setback to their relationship.
Aside from abortion being nothing more than sanctioned murder, the effect on the mother is nearly always negative. Women who have had abortions struggle with feelings of guilt, depression, even regret, sometimes within hours of having the abortion. I browsed some neutral websites on abortion  that allow women to tell their stories, and I found a few that were written one or two hours after the abortion. All of them said that they regretted it, that they couldn’t believe what they’d done.

There is an alternative to abortion. All women, but especially teens, women who are pregnant because of a rape, and other women who simply cannot afford to take care of the child have an option that is so much better than abortion. There are hundreds and thousands of women who cannot have children and who would give anything to be pregnant, and they usually resort to adoption. While the ideal is that a child is raised by his or her natural mother, being adopted is a thousand times more preferable than being murdered.


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