Studying Your Own Culture

Woman With Face Paint Raising Her Hands Holding Textile

In the realm of anthropology there’s a key focus on the many astounding anthropologists such as Max Weber, Lewis Henry Morgan, Margaret Mead, and one that many deem the father of anthropology, Franz Boas. Acting as a guide, their gifts have laid the basis to numerous of ideologies, theories, and studies concerning the human culture. By way of instance, one of Margaret Mead’s most notorious studies is through a technique known as visual anthropology in which Mead studies personality formation in three unique cultures, the Balinese, Iatumal, and American. Personally, I love Margaret Mead’s methods and because learning about her I’ve studied lots of her past work. However, as I sat through course after course learning about each these anthropologists and their wonderful gifts, there were a few things which I did notice. There were no detailed research on Black Anthropologists, two in virtually every course attended I was the only minority, and three since I started to take part in field work I understood that there were very few minorities that were part of anthropology as a whole and I started to wonder why. Was it as a result of scientific racism linked to the earlier periods of anthropology? Or is it simply because minorities aren’t being exposed to anthropology? Whatever the reason maybe it’s a silent issue which seems to reside in the world of anthropology.

Make no mistake that racism was front and centre during the beginning phases of anthropology as it was designed during a time where racism was exhibited like another fashion statement. Regrettably, those biased perspectives went to the work of a few of the most prominent figures of anthropology. The scientific racism that distinct minorities endured during the previous years of anthropology can be extremely daunting to find out about without ones’ heart feeling somewhat heavy or sad. This heaviness is something which I have seen to be exhibited from just about everybody who learns what happened during these times. The human zoo was present throughout the 19th and early 20th century as people of various ethnicities were gathered from numerous areas of the world by socialists, scientists, and anthropologists to be placed on display for amusement purposes. Europeans around the world would pay to gaze in the humans like they were animals and in certain cases animals were grouped with people as a contrast.

Is It Acceptance or vulnerability?

Personally, I have never experienced a moment where anybody who has made me feel as though I didn’t belong in the area, but there were definitely times where I might have felt that my remarks weren’t as both accepted or appreciated as my white peers. However, I believe this is something which minorities face in nearly every line of work from some men and women who indulge in an ignorant mindset. Whatever the case may be it’s still uncomfortable and acceptance within the field of Anthropology wasn’t always the case. On one hand, you had the vast majority of anthropologists who always studied blacks and other minorities to show that they were inferior to their white successors and their lives had no value among a number of other horrendous preconceptions. Because of those frivolous research about minorities many blacks weren’t accepting of anthropology and opted to distance themselves from the tradition. Now today the amount of black anthropologists have triumphed beyond 10 individuals but the numbers are still relatively low. As cultural and racial wars have helped to break a few barriers for minorities, it hasn’t quite made its link to anthropology.

One theory that I have considered is that exposure to anthropology isn’t fully within the African American culture. In my own experience, I know I was exposed to the chance of being a doctor, a lawyer, nurse, Animal control Melbourne, teacher, and the normal mainstream jobs which are subconsciously forced upon children through different media outlets. Anthropology wasn’t among those choices, the truth is I wasn’t truly introduced into anthropology until being required to take Cultural Anthropology as a compulsory course during my time as an undergraduate. Happily that course enabled me to explore a universe of cultures and finally change my career path generally. Deficiency of exposure does not only stem from the cultural aspects but it seems to generate from an educational perspective also. As an undergraduate I soon realized that there weren’t a great deal of studies present on African American Anthropologists which directed me to do my own research about African American Anthropologists. Through research, I learned just how Franz Boas wasn’t only the instructor to white anthropologists but also into a black anthropologist also. I was curious to learn about African American Anthropologists, who also became favorites of mine, also played a substantial part in anthropology such as Zora Neal Hurston. Ms. Hurston was a pupil of Franz Boas and in his course the exact same exact time as fellow anthropologist Margaret Mead. Zora Neal Hurston was a renowned novelist, one who led to folklore, and a writer. But, Zora Neal Hurston was also an anthropologist in her own rights that studied with the finest. Margaret Mead is always mentioned as a prominent student of Franz Boas, but unfortunately in many classes Hurston isn’t even acknowledged. Unfortunately, collaboration of both isn’t something which you would typically learn about in the fundamental classes of Anthropology that is sad. The lack of exposure to the achievements of African American Anthropologists’ speaks volumes and it exerts a message that analyzing blacks is great but acknowledging their gifts is impotent. Anthropology is a field that shines a light on many different issues around the world. Obviously, exposure isn’t the principal reason minorities shy away from the discipline of anthropology but it does appear to have its appropriate stake in the subject. The truth is there’s a need for more diversity in anthropology and as anthropology continues to advance there’ll be a recognition of these finally providing ways for people who would not even consider getting an anthropologist as people can’t divulge in something they’ve never been subjected to.

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