Body Ritual Among The Nacirema

My first impression after reading this article was that it seemed to describe a more uncivilized community but at the same time I could see how there were parallels between this place and our modern day world. Well, of course, now I know that it’s because the author is actually describing America in new and fresh ways. Most readers would not automatically think that this passage is describing a modern day society because it seems more horrific than we think of our world now. However, I also think that the reason we don’t not see this description as something familiar is because the words in it are purposely misleading us. For example, many times throughout the passage, certain magical and supernatural terms are used. Whereas, the medicinal practices are not “magical” at all. Magical gives us a sense that it can’t be understand or that we don’t know the reason for it. Whereas doctors do know why the medicines work and they only treat patients because they are fairly sure that it will work. So, the passage seems purposely misleading in my opinion, but at the same time I can see why it is describing a modern day society.

We might view our world through rose-tinted glasses, and we think that we are civilized but are we? Others might look at the human race and think wow, they are like animals. But then, people might look at other people and think, they are uncivilized. So, it is very difficult to judge whether something seems horrific without some bias or at least background context. I think that it is impossible to step out of our own culture and looks at others and try to judge.

Today we learnt that to “understand” a culture we must accept it first. I don’t really agree either. We can understand the reasons and beliefs behind a culture yet we don’t have to accept it. If we understnad the reasons and know how thier beliefs came about, then do we have to accept it? I think that’s a whole other step.

1 person likes this post.

1 comment to Body Ritual Among The Nacirema

  • Charles Goh

    Your point about understanding before accepting is an interesting one. I think it goes both ways, depending on the situation. For example, we can understand the reasons for people’s actions, yet denounce them for being uncivilised. What is civilised for one civilisation may not be the case for another. I quote: “One man’s meat Is another man’s poison.

    On the other hand, we could also say that if we don’t accept the traditions of certain cultures as normal’ we can never understand them because instead of doing so we would be finding every reason to prove these traditions are uncivilised or primitive.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments