Journal: Race and Poverty Journal Introduction to South

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Race and Poverty Journal

Introduction to South America

Points

One of the first points the document makes relates to the geographical situation of the South American continent, which is said to be far more prominent into the Atlantic Ocean than North America.

A second point is the new era within South America in terms of its multinational relationships. Despite regional disparities and political turmoil that marked its past, the continent as a whole appears to realize the developmental potential that lies in forging multinational ties.

The third point relates to the ancient Andean cultures in South America, which thrived prior to the coming of the Europeans. The document focuses on the magnificence of these cultures and the success they had in developing their social and economic prowess.

Reactions

My first reaction to the first point was surprise; I never had any idea of the lateral relationship of South America to its northern counterpart, so it was interesting to learn.

The second point offers some hope of a better future for a continent that has been well-known for its general poverty and lack of development. This point therefore gives me a sense of optimism, not only for the continent itself, but also for a world in which such change is possible.

Reaction: surprise

I find the third point a little tragic. It is sad indeed to think that nothing more than the invasion of a foreign nation could have created the effective ruin of formerly prosperous nations. On the other hand, what the document says also fascinates me, since the Andean peoples and their history are shrouded in mystery. I find myself somewhat fascinated and inspired to investigate more deeply into this aspect of history.

Introduction to North America

Points

One of the first points the document makes is that more than 75% of North Americans live in towns and cities, and that the country is the most urbanized in the world.

A second point is that Canada and the United States, both grouped together in the nomination of "North America," are going through a period of extreme geographical and infrastructure change. New regions are emerging. Old ones need to reinvent themselves to survive in this dynamic new world.

Another point relates to Canada and its tendency towards social division relating not only to culture, but also to language. According to the document, the two most dominant groups in the country are those who speak English and those who speak French. Interspersed with these there are also native ethnic groups such as the Inuit and other tribes.

Reactions

While the first point does not in fact surprise me, I am surprised by the extent of urbanization in the country. I did not know that the country was the most urbanized on earth; I had always assumed that one of the European countries would possess this statistic.

I found myself both surprised and inspired by the second point. My idea of the United States and especially Canada has been of a somewhat static country, where the social and economic dynamics were more or less stable. To find out that this is not the case makes me want to find out more, especially from a sociological viewpoint, in terms of the "new" and "old" territories.

The third point also surprised me, since I had no idea of the extent of division among the ethnic and linguistic groups in Canada.

Garbarino: Chapters 2 and 3

Points

One of the first points made by these chapters is that the origin or at least one of the origins of ethnographic research was based in imperialism. Conquering nations were faced with issues of control and communication, and were therefore encouraged to do ethnographic research to help them face these challenges.

A second point relates to church interests. With imperialist conquest came the drive to convert native tribes to the predominant European religion, which was Christianity, and more often than not Roman Catholicism.

The author also makes the point that the Europeans used their economic and technological superiority as a basis for the idea that they were in fact superior, on all levels, to the native tribes they conquered.

Reactions

What is interesting here is how the chapter starts, with a focus on ethnographic research as if it occurred with complete academic integrity. I find it very difficult to believe that this offers a full and unbiased account of what truly happened as a result of the imperialist drive among Europeans. Surely research was not their only focus when interacting with native tribes.

When the point about religion is made, the author appears to ignore again the brutal methods often used by European missionaries to convert the natives. While he does make a good point about preserving native languages in written form and understanding the importance of relativism, I think the way in which it is presented is a little misleading.

This section seems to have a more balanced view of colonialization. I am just not sure that it is not still a somewhat downplayed version of the actual effects of a sense of superiority.

Brown: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Points

One of the first points, made in the introduction, contrasts wildly with the somewhat subdued reference to colonialism and imperialism in the previous reading. Here, the focus is on the violence and greed that often accompanied imperialism and colonialism, with the author focusing on the reverential attitude towards personal freedom not for those who did not have it but by those who already did.

A second point, also in the introduction of this work, is that authentic Indian writings about their experiences of this period were not published prominently, but did survive in the form of obscure publication in subdued circulation.

At the start of the narrative itself, after the introduction, Brown makes the point that Christopher Columbus saw the perceived "goodness" and gentleness of the native tribes as weakness, and began a legacy that is well-known today, as the abuse and extermination of the native people of the United States in favor of European superiority and colonialism.

Reactions

The first point here, and indeed the entire reading, is written by a victim of imperialism and colonialism rather than by those perpetrating it. It appears to be the other extreme to what was noted above, with Garbarino's writing. I as reader am left with the question of which of these experiences is most authentic, or is there a middle ground that has not been considered?

My questions are further strengthened by the second point made in this work, that European writings were far more prominently published than those by the native tribes.

Finally, the point made about Columbus and his view of the native tribes seem sad and pointless to me, from a viewpoint centuries later.

Nabokov: Native American Testimony

Points

One of the first points made in the document is the first reaction of one of the natives to the physical differences between them and the white invaders. The beards of the white men were something unfamiliar to them, which they did not like, although there is an acknowledgement of kind eyes.

A second point concerns the Indian tendency towards thievery from the invading peoples. A representative told them to stop their thievery, on the threat of being punished for this.

The third point concerns the circumstances imposed on the Navajo tribes. Starvation was a reality for many, which explains why many felt a need to steal to feed their families.

Reactions

What I like about the first part of the narrative is that it creates a subtle connecting factor in terms of preconceived ideas, which is a human trait, connected to experience, rather than a purely European one, although it is often presumed to be so. It appears that there is a relatively mutual distrust of what is unknown.

What is interesting about the second point is the factor of perspective. From the Native American perspective, the colonizers came to steal their land and means of making a life. On the other hand, the Europeans and other colonizers viewed the Native Americans as no more than thieves, who would use any opportunity to steal.

The third point makes me profoundly sad, since it brings home to me the terrible suffering caused by the meeting between the cultures. Regardless of all claims to the contrary, there has been terrible suffering as a result. This is indicated by the chapter title itself, which proclaims "Exiles in their own Land."

Information Sheets on Big Mountain

Points

One point made about the Big Mountain project is that the Office of Surface Mining issued a decision to approve Peabody Western Coal Company's mine permit revision, which would allow the company to continue with a mining project in the region.

A second point is that the two major political parties in the United States, the Democrats and Republicans, have approved the project.

One of the most interesting points the document makes is that the area has been home to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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