Camille A Brown and Dancer’s “Black Girl Linguistic Play” brought out the humanity and the reality that society has been stripped from black females narratively. Whenever people hear that black girls are involved in something or are starring in something, they tend to automatically assume that the work would be of “ghetto” or raucous quality. Two characteristics that society has placed as inherent factors of black femininity. “Black Girl Linguistic Play” broke down those stereotypes by showing snippets of the raw side that is the black female experience. Camille A Brown and Dancers also did well on showing the audience that their misconceptions of the play based on the title was wrong, by asking the simple question “What did you think when you heard Black Girl Linguistic play?” The silence that filled the room of predominantly Caucasian individuals either shows two things: the first being that everyone went into this with a clear mind and no preconceptions of what the play would be (which is implausible), or that their preconceived notions of Black girl linguistics were shameful and there was nobody around to make a fool of themselves by stating what they were all thinking; which is that they expected it to be “ghetto”. The only question that the play stirred in me is this: Was black girl linguistics made to change the narrative of black girls everywhere, or to show that black girls are not alone in their experiences? Essentially, was this a unifying piece or a clarifying piece?
Schneider’s “Performance Remains” and Birns’ “Ritualizing the Past: Ralph Lemon’s Counter-Memorials” provide two alternating perspectives on performance’s role as a medium for history. Schneider gives us this definition of performance “The definition of performance as that which disappears, which is continually lost in time, vanishing even as it appears…”. Which is adversarial to the way that Birns uses performance, a medium that he likes to describe as ritualistic, or a form of documenting a set of experiences that informs the viewer. Essentially reliving a piece of history.
In comparing these two ways of approaching performance, I noticed that there are still some loopholes that are evident in both theories. In Schneider’s theory, performance is seen as fleeting, but doesn’t take into account the many performances that have been written long ago, whose reenactment act as an homage to the culture, or as Birns describes it, preservation. And in the case of Birns’ theory of performance as documentation, is it truly a reliable medium of documentation if the performance differs form the original, which is inherent in all reenactments?
Poke around and see what you can find out about Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells, including any information about their respective religious affiliations/backgrounds. Terrell described one kind of violence: Wells, another. Based on each woman’s comments, can you discern common roots for these different expressions of violence? How do women (black and white) constitute the particular focus of both Terrell and Wells? Do Terrell and Wells propose responses or solutions to anti-black violence?
Ida B Wells was raised in the Catholic denomination of Christianity and uses her religious to pride commentary on the lynchings that occurred during the Jim Crow era of American history. She refers to the lynchings as a calculated, deliberate act carried out by intelligent people who “avow that there is an unwritten law that justifies them putting human beings to death…” This is a form of institutionalized violence as well as symbolic, and normalized violence. These were meant to keep African Americans in a state of fear, in an attempt to prevent them from rising in the societal hierarchy. Mary Church Terrell, a member of the Methodist Episcopalian denomination of Christianity, speaks on a form of structural violence that also becomes a normalized form of violence. Terrell specifically speaks of the discrimination that highly and in most cases, overqualified African Americans faced in the occupational sphere. This structural violence was applied simply based on the single drop ideology which states that if one contains a single drop of African blood then they are considered Black. A race that could not be employed in white institutions due to the backlash that those institutions would face from their respective intended audience. These two forms of discrimination are similar in the fact that they were both used as tools to not only oppress Black people but also to reinforce the inferiority that they believed was inherent in being African American. Both women also comment on how those forms of discrimination affected the African American community stating that they simply became a fact and that black people should just accept it. This acceptance is what makes these acts of oppression a form of normalized violence because the black community eventually internalized the toxic environment that they were placed in. While they describe these daily occurrences of time, they do not provide possible solutions to the violence, almost as if they too have internalized the normativity of them.
Connection between Gourevitch and Sontag
Sontag and Gourevitch are connected in the way that they comment on those who do not face violence directly, yet view photographs and hear news and attempt, if not pretend to feel empathy. In the Gourevitch reading, the example of the United States’ involvement or lack thereof in the Rwanda Genocide, knowing all of the information and being obligated to intervene based on the Genocide Convention of 1946. Their excuse was in naming it a genocide, because at the recognition, they would be forced to intervene. Sontag brings up the point of censorship of the photography during war times when it comes to issues of the home team. Any war-time photographs taken of American soldiers are done so as to not show the visage, however, any exotic photographs of war explicitly show the faces of the damned. Both situations presented are examples of how there is an explicit distancing from the violence of war, which in a sense makes it impossible for the viewer at home to sympathize, let alone empathize with the gruesome images that they are presented.
Making a passport was eye-opening, to say the least. I never knew how ignorant I was to the greater world outside of the U.S. until I randomly got Tonga as my country to make a passport from. For starters, I had never heard of Tonga before in my entire existence, and second, it still is a monarchy! I truly believed that monarchies were a thing of the renaissance era. I normally would’ve made assumptions to the level of advancement of the country, but if this course has taught me anything, it is that not everyone lives in a society where cognitive relativism and formal philosophy is the most prevalent conceptual scheme. If their conceptual scheme is supported by a monarchy, then there is nothing wrong with that, considering that it has lasted them this long.
Photographs of war are meant to convey emotion no matter who sees the photo. What someone feels can be universal if the photograph does not have a caption. It is when a caption portrays the story behind the photo that the message and the feeling behind it can be altered.
Photos are tools whose power depend on how you present them.
People view gruesome images to not only feel sympathy but to also satiate this desire to see misery. It is a feeling as natural as hunger and yet we all do it. Everyone looks at images of horror because they can do it from a safe place and be indifferent to the violence through the pane that is sympathy.
Gruesome and violent images fulfill the desire that one who is safe from violence can sympathize without being a part of the solution or the problem.
Photos act as reminders that “that is what people can do to each other”. It is not wrong or unethical to turn away from a photo that illicit negative emotions. It is also not unethical to continue staring at an atrocious photo because looking at a photo is synonymous with sight.
Photos remind us of what humanity can do, whether one decides to look or not.
Suppose that after finishing the reading, a student says: “Any belief, however unlikely it may appear, can be saved from refutation if you’re willing to make enough secondary elaborations.” Is the student, right? Defend your answer. (For the term “secondary elaborations”, see p. 346.)
I disagree with this student. If they were to propose a belief in an adversarial society, then no matter how many secondary elaborations there are, unless there is evidence to support it then the belief can be refuted. Or what happens if the secondary elaboration is wrong, is there another elaboration after the secondary? Then, what happens if that one is wrong, and so on and so forth. Secondary elaborations can only support a belief to a certain extent if it is at risk of being refuted and the belief is not based on evidence. Secondary elaborations can only justify a belief in an accommodative style of arguing. This style of arguing is less based on evidence and is more for folk philosophy, in which the secondary elaboration is the most applied form of justification. Take the chemistry example and the chicken example used in the text. If the results of a chemistry lab happen to be off, then the hypothetical sources of error stand as a secondary elaboration. However, if the experiment is done without sources of error or minimal sources of error, then there is a change in the results, meaning that the secondary elaboration was right. On the other hand, if we consider the chicken and the oracle where the chicken dies both times showing an inconsistency in the oracle, then the secondary elaboration is witchcraft. But what is the elaboration in the instance where it is proven that the oracle has not been hexed nor broken any taboos, but the chicken dies both times? The explanation for the inconsistency has now fallen apart. The only instance where the chicken and oracle situation is justified is in an accommodative argument where the belief in witchcraft is just as much truth as the belief in atoms and chemical laws since there is no need to refute with evidence.
All throughout unit 1, this distinction between man and beast is made several times, with the main reason being that man can reason. Then, also in unit 1, the notion of identity and race is brought into the conversation. However, race is one of man’s most unreasonable creations. It isn’t something that exists in the state of nature. And it isn’t based on biology and genotype since there is no minority gene. Just the fact that race plays such a large part in our current society where one becomes uncomfortable when another’s race is undeterminable based off of phenotype is beyond unreasonable. How can we still distinguish ourselves from animals when we are just as, if not, more unreasonable than they are? Is there a way to see race as a reasonable concept, if so, how?
The early modern view of “the connected world” (ch. 2) is an example of a large-scale conceptual scheme. See if you can describe this worldview in your own words. Are there any parts of it still present in contemporary science? (See p. 38 for some suggestions—try to expand on these or come up with your own examples.)
This worldview is one that is based on observation, where the philosophers of the time noticed that there is a connection between objects. An example that they referred to often was the connection between the sunflower and the sun. The sunflower always faces the sun, as well as blooms in a way that is similar to the sun, therefore, there must be a connection between the sun and the sunflower. There is also the idea that everything has two innate set of qualities: their manifest qualities that everyone with sensory organs can notice, and their hidden qualities, qualities that cannot be detected. An example of such a quality would be the connection between the sunflower and the sun. In contemporary science there is still some belief that there is a connection between objects. An example could be flower pollen in the spring and the sudden increase in romantic attraction that humans exhibit at the same time. Pollen is a plants way of procreation, so the sudden increase in airborne particles influences humans desire to procreate. Hence, pollen being considered an aphrodisiac.
How would Locke define man’s efficient, natural, formal, and final causes in the state of nature?
In Angela Davis’s writings she speaks on the idea of the modern day US judicial system and how there is a stark overrepresentation of individuals of minority populations incarcerated, and how said incarcerations lead to the removal of many rights that are seen as unalienable to many in the contemporary political sphere, one major right being the ability to vote. This is interesting because according to Davis, in her research it is shown that offenses as grave as murder do not lead to the removal of voting rights however, if one were to be convicted of an interracial relationship or conception, then voting rights can be removed. This is blatantly biased to minoritized populations and is quite harrowing taking account the fact that the 1 in 100 Americans incarcerated statistic is sharply skewed when factoring race; where the statistic now becomes one out of four black men and 1 out of 100 black women. Taking that into consideration, if I were to form a panel, I would place Davis with Locke and Diderot with the following questions:
Is there an inherent general law for all that live in organized nations or does the general law differ based on the status of those within the nation?
How does race play a factor in deciding who has reason, and who is a beast and is socially exiled?
Within a racist society where the incarceration rate skyrockets depending on race and socioeconomic class, what are the freedoms that are basal and unalienable?
2) that in every individual the general will is a pure act of understanding that reasons in the silence of the passions about what man can demand of his fellow man and about what his fellow man has the right to demand of him. Diderot 9.2
I selected this passage from Diderot because the wording seemed out of place or in the wrong order at first glance. To understand the passage, I had to read it multiple times and take the advice that he gave on the beginning of the chapter, which is to “meditate attentively on everything said in the preceding” (Diderot 9). With that I noticed that this paragraph was about the paragraphs before. I then backtracked to find the paragraph in which he describes general will, like the passage. Surprisingly, I found my answer in the preceding paragraph that describes where general will is and not what general will is. To that Diderot says “In the principles of written law of all the organized nations; in the social actions of savage and barbarous peoples; and even in indignation and resentment, those two passions that nature seems to have placed in all creatures including animals to make up for the shortcoming in social laws and in public vengeance”. What I took from this passage in relation to the chosen passage is that this thing that Diderot calls “general will” can be found within moments of coexistence; note the use of wording such as organized, social, and convention. These words cannot exist without coexistence especially in relation to what he is describing, even words such as indignation and resentment cannot be without a shred of coexistence. Basically, general will is found in places or times of coexistence. So, looking back on the chosen passage with the theme of coexistence in mind, it sounds like Diderot is saying that in order for coexistence there must be an understanding of the limits of what someone can ask of their neighbor and vice versa, independent of the situation.
This goes back to the question that I asked on Thursday, what is reasoning and how does that make man different from beast? Well, this is a way that reasoning differentiates us from beast. Within the bestial world, the only limit to demand is the physical limit to what one can either gather or eat in one sitting. However, general will gives us the understanding that there is, in fact, a limit to what one can demand and what can be demanded of them.
Question: Why must there be one specific aspect that acts as the definitive identity?
Agreement: There is much more than one single aspect that defines someone and/or somewhere. The single story leads to construed misconceptions that forces individuals to fit into a mold outlined by the stereotype.
Disagreement: The idea that power makes the story definitive