Blog Post #5
The threats of climate change are not simply on our wildlife and an issue for future generations, it is a matter of human rights issue facing us in the present. Several weeks ago, I discussed the issue of global warming harming the Inuit people’s way of life in the northern region of the world. The threat of global warming has caused issues such as the wild life’s ecosystem being harmed and flooding changing their regional landscape. These are issues that I had never thought of previously, but the threats of climate change are being seen now.
That was last week, this week we see yet another part of the world that is being taken from us that I had again not considered. Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey is an anthropologist whose roots are deeply embedded in the indigenous peoples of Hawaii. Dr. Lindsey was raised by native Hawaiian elders who deemed that from a young age, she would become the “steward of ancestral wisdom” for their people. Just as they had predicted, she now focuses on traveling around the world aiding in the preservation of these ancient cultures, languages, and lifestyle. As began to watch her TED talk, I was a little confused about the point she was trying to make. Her eccentric personality, mixed with her passion and intelligence, made it a little difficult to decipher her point in the beginning. However as she continued with her talk it became evident to me. She is saying that these environmental issues cannot only harm the general way of life, but can drive a cultural way of life to extinction.
Though I cannot really find any way that this is affecting the way of life in Morocco, this is not really surprising to me. Not surprising because to me, these kinds of things rarely receive much coverage. And this is why Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey’s work is so important. Shedding light on things such as the extinction cultures matters to these indigenous people and it should matter to us. Therefore, preserving these cultures really becomes a human rights issue.
Eurocentrism is based off of the word Ethnocentrism, which in very simple terms, means that one believes that ones culture is superior to that of another. The belief that ones cultural constructions, norms, etc. are “normal” and the best way to do things. Needless to say, these beliefs are harmful and can create a negative impact on outside cultures. In the country that I write about, Morocco, the impacts of eurocentrism are very clear. Not so long ago, Morocco was under the control of France. The relationship between France and Morocco has always been a rocky one: from conquest from France in the 16th century to several wars in the 19th and 20th century, France has always attempted to impose their way of life on Morocco. Even to this day, Morocco has a very heavy influence from France and struggles to find its own culture from time to time.
In my opinion, ethnocentrism is just a casualty of being a powerful country. I say this because whether it is a subconscious or a conscious decision, it is bound to happen. Having said that, since we know that it is inevitable, we need to take special precautions to prevent this kind of behavior and attitude towards fellow cultures. Before we choose to offer aid, education, etc. we need to consider the culture as a top priority.
Lindsey, Elizabeth. “Explorers.” National Geographic. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.
“Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World: Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey at TEDxMaui.” YouTube. YouTube. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.
Meijer, Martha, and Farish Noor. Dealing with Human Rights: Asian and Western Views on the Value of Human Rights. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian, 2001. Print.