Throughout history, all around the world, people have been challenging the beliefs and actions of other societies. It has led to wars, religious persecution, slavery, and the inhumane treatment of our fellow man. Because of their ethnicity, gender, religion, or even geographic location, many have been cruelly marked by others. They were set on a path of destiny they could not change. All of it was committed in the name of tradition. The tradition that pushed one to commit such horrible acts and the tradition of another to innocently fall.
The idea that another person or culture is subjected to cruelties, simply due to their beliefs, is sickening to me. We have a moral obligation to ...view middle of the document...
Sumner summarizes this stance by stating, “World philosophy, life policy, right, rights, and morality are all products of the folkways.”
Sumner forces us to look inside our own society for what we believe to be the right way. Sumner believed these traditions were set based on our life experiences. Whether they are positive or negative, we all face different experiences during our own challenges of life. Through those experiences, we have developed beliefs and behaviors we feel will give us the best chance at survival.
This notion lights a fire in my mind, turning it into an inferno in an instant. What is actually right or wrong in the world? Who are we to dictate the actions and behaviors of others if we have no idea what they are actually going through or experiencing?
The idea of one society telling another what to do and what traditions to continue celebrating is just wrong. They would more likely than not cringe at the notion of some of my traditions, like Thanksgiving. To see another person eat themselves sick just because, would torture millions in other countries and cultures. Taking it all for granted and going through our resources frivolously would put them in the same position as I am in writing this paper. They would then be obligated to help my culture to live the correct way according to them.
Carolyn Fleuhr-Lobban’s work, “Cultural Relativism and Universal Rights”, talks about anthropologist’s refusal to participate in the 1947 human-rights declaration. Because of that decision, their work within other cultures and unknown traditions has been suppressed. The knowledge and power of their studies may have been enough to change the course of history in retrospect, specifically within the issue of violence against women.
She talks about spending 25 years researching female circumcision in Sudan. An ideology that is archaic and cruel, it is still practiced solely based on traditions. There are no medical...