The Nacirema People

Cultural Anthropology 28 September 2011 The Nacirema People: Sadistic Exploiters? It’s difficult to say whether or not a different culture, other than my own is politically correct in the ways they go about their daily lives, but after reading the article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner, it got me to question; What type of society are we making out our culture to be?

Often people look at different cultures as primitive and contradictory through the eyes of ethnocentrism, and after reading this article over and over again, it hit me that Horace Miner was explaining the American culture using character substitution, to depict how we live our lives today. We, as people in modern society, think that what we have and what we know is culturally correct, and for the most part it is, but when you look at it through the bigger picture, we are exactly what we would deem to be primitive and contradictory.

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In past societies, healers were deemed to be the most genuine and heart-filled people in their villages, and all that they wanted to do was help make their people better, without any reward necessary. But in today’s society, our healers or so to speak doctors want nothing more than money before and money after our desired healings. Then when people come in with just the littlest of an illness, they give that person a prescription for a certain medicine, that we have no idea what it actually pertains to, and yet they take it anyway in hopes that it will cure them as soon as possible.

Yet the most contradictory routine our culture has developed, is that even though we preach “you are beautiful just the way you are,” we still have vast amounts of brands for make-up, hair products, slimming pills, and even surgery for those who can afford it, just so that people can feel “prettier” than they already are. We go off in our little worlds, loving people not for who they are or who they will be, but rather on what they have, and what we hope they will have in the future.

Just a lot of extrinsic values determining the value of how we view one another. That’s our culture in America, because that’s who we are as a whole united nation. We contradict our beliefs while doing nothing but dragging our society down in it all. Some people outside our culture will often question how we as a society, still exist even to this day, but then again it’s just because of the fact that our culture adapts to the changes while never doubting nor questioning what we do, and whether it is correct or not.