Preserving Native Cultures: Respectful or Racism?

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

Adavistic Puma
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:47 am UTC

Re: Preserving Native Cultures: Respectful or Racism?

Postby Adavistic Puma » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:26 am UTC

King Author wrote:And you're speaking incredibly flippantly. Cultural genocide is when a dominant group forcibly prevents a minority group from practicing their cultural ways (such as the Chinese government forbidding their rural peoples from practicing folk religions). To use the term so lightly as to apply it in the context of simply telling someone that their ritual doesn't physically affect the world...that's an insult to instances of actual cultural genocide.

My generalizing might not apply to your example (it was pretty non-specific) - I'm slightly more aware of situations in the Americas where the term is definitely applicable, and actions towards "preserving native culture" are aimed at counteracting centuries of deliberate damage.

Laws that forcibly relocate people, restrict free migration for hunting/herding, or require them to join the labour market and pay taxes, can have the same result as laws that target cultural practises. I'd interested to know if there are states that allow tribal groups to choose ignore the laws that exist for regular citizens?

Posts: 336
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:35 pm UTC

Re: Preserving Native Cultures: Respectful or Racism?

Postby GoC » Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:32 am UTC

King Author wrote:
SlashThred wrote:We shouldn't exclude people from the world on the grounds that they aren't mature enough to join it and make the right decisions.

I nominate this the Quote of the Thread.

Counterpoint: Children. :P

I think you're making a fundamental error in presuming that tribal peoples are less capable of making their own decisions and choosing how to live their lives and what to believe than we are. I don't doubt that you're well-meaning, but that's still racism -- thinking someone is inferior due to inborn characteristics as opposed to their individual traits.

Intelligence is part nature and part nurture. They may have the same nature intelligence (the tribesmen may have statistically lower (or higher) nature intelligence but it's likely to be very small (a fraction of a standard deviation)) but they lack that important nurture intelligence* (for instance most wont be able to do xkcd's collection of logic puzzles without a lot of practice with logic puzzles).

*Experience in solving certain kinds of problems or communicating in a certain way (ie. logical debating).

Now really, that's just useless hyperbole. Did you absolutely refuse to believe one lick of meterology, such as the gradeschool-taught cycle of evaporation -> condensation -> precipitation until you completed an entire course on statistics and biases?

Of course not. I hadn't been taught anything else. But if I had... Have you ever talked to a well indoctrinated creationist? They are just as intelligent as you are and (the ones I know) aren't any more stubborn than your average human being but due to a combination of factors* convincing them to change their world view is nigh impossible.

*The HUGE amount of information (some false, some not) they have to support their case makes showing them how each of those is wrong a very lengthly endeavor (you wont be doing it in one conversation), in fact, a lot of the information they have is stuff you can't disprove (all those anecdotes? Explaining why you should ignore them is difficult).
The fact that they primarily use their intuitions to judge the validity of arguments (just like 99% of us) means that intuitively sensible arguments (like First Cause) that aren't valid (under my epistemology :P , you may find First Cause a valid argument) are believed.
Biased sources (ie. when trying to find out "the truth" about the argument you just gave so they'll look at a trusted source... like a creationist website), but don't feel superior, I doubt you've carefully gone over most creationist media either
Motivated stopping (people need to be motivated to do research, you are obviously far more motivated to find something that removes that annoying cognitive dissonance than something that introduces more so you are more likely to stop researching after you've found some of the former), good money is on you doing this too (and no, you do not have the time to look at every single bit of data on even a slightly complex subject).
Then there's rounding errors (the fact that we remember something much easier if it fits into a model, so that bit of data that doesn't fit into the creationists world view is going to be quite hard to remember while the thirtieth inconsistency in the fossil record is going to be easy to recall) which is magnified by the the fact it takes more than one conversation to change such a huge model (an entire world view!) and the fact they can look things up between conversations.

Yes, I've spent quite a lot of time with creationists. :P

King Author wrote:The greater problem is that you're assuming that peoples from less-industrialized nations are, in fact, less mature, less developed or less advanced than those from most-industrialized nations. Knowledge is knowledge and lack of knowledge is lack of knowledge -- humans don't have an Intelligence stat that increases linearly; you can know a lot about one thing and nothing about another.

Are analysis and logical thinking part of intelligence? Because they depend a lot on how much experience you have and the environment you were raised in.

Do you see the point I'm trying to make? There aren't better and worse or more and less advanced cultures, just different cultures. Intelligence and knowledge are two different things, and neither is measured on a linear scale.
Understood knowledge isn't just a collection of facts, it's integrated into your reasoning abilities. Unlike computer programs we don't keep our data separate from our executable code.
You should probably state what you mean be "better" and "advanced" when talking about whether better and more advanced cultures exist. :P
Like I did here:
GoC wrote:untilted: Some cultures are more adapted for modern technology and ideals that promote prosperity (a strong desire for truth and justice and respect for human creativity for instance) than others. To put it simply: Yes, some cultures are "better" (more suited for the present day) or "better" ("more good" as in they match our own morals better) or "better" ("more good" as in they seem further along the direction morality seems to be tending over time) than others.

King Author wrote:I myself don't take sides in philosophical pissing matches. If you've chosen objectivism, that's fine, but know that you're completely wrong about objectivism being "right."

You don't know his definitions so you don't know what exactly it is you are calling "completely wrong".
Seems to me that "subjectively wrong" means "they're wrong (have different beliefs from us) but we wont/can't change their minds" while "objectively wrong" means "they're wrong (have different beliefs from us) and we need to change their minds/punish them".

But keep in mind, like I said, rain dances can be demonstrated scientifically to be ineffective -- we're not just talking different strokes for different folks here; they're wrong. However, as I also said, it's within their right to perform ineffective rituals for whatever purposes they want. My issue is that the anthropologist stopped himself commenting on the effectiveness of the ceremony because he didn't want to intrude with his big, scary, white man's knowledge all over the delicate black man's adorable ignorance -- it's patronizing, and comes from a place of racism, not benevolent respect.[/quote]
Maybe he stopped from commenting because contradicting someone is a hostile act (to say nothing of contradicting the beliefs of your entire community-an extremely hostile act) and he didn't want to give the impression that white men are hostile assholes?
The ability to take criticism and not attach hostility to someone contradicting you is not an easy one to acquire.

Unrelated question: Do you think it's a good idea to give tribesmen guns?

Belial wrote:I'm just being a dick. It happens.

Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests