R1 – Response to Readings

Response to “Storytelling for Oppositionists and Others: A Plea for Narrative” by Richard Delgado:

Fascinating creatures humans are. We are all the same species, and yet we live with both personal and institutional racism. Why is this so? Is this something that is taught? Or is racism an intrinsic part of our very human nature? If the former, then all we need to solve is the institutional aspect – this can be done through an improved effort towards education. However, if the latter is true, then we have a problem much more difficult to solve. Is racism natural, a sort of primal instinct? Perhaps essentially, what makes racism tick is the “us vs. them mentality,” initially needed in order to ensure the survival of one’s tribe against others in a world of limited resources during the early development stages of the human race. If this is the case, then racism can be solved by creating a world of unlimited resources, where there is no need for competition in order to survive. In the corporate perspective, the limited resource is money, which directly limits the amount of people that can be hired. Even with the corporate structure, we are still human, and then all that really matters is how we define “us vs them.” If so, then maybe the only way to truly eliminate racism forever is to have a much bigger “them,” like an invading alien army threatening to render humanity extinct. Strange creatures we are indeed.

Response to “Data Culture” by Christian Marc Schmidt:

Data. Data. Data data. Data data data data data. Apparently, digital numbers being used to present the times is all the rage in recent years. But is this really to be celebrated? Pardon me for being cynical, but society is made up of people, and people are not numbers. What happens when all we know of our friends, family, colleagues, and teachers become a set of digits? When all we get to see of our fellow humans is not their kindness, laughter, misery or personality, but staid numbers posted on flashing screens of light? When our personal histories become dots in an infinitely large muck of undifferentiated text and images, dehumanization is a likely outcome. We’ve all seen quite well what happens  when the value of people are judged through a few numbers – they invariably become nothing more than statistics. Is this what we want when we quantify ourselves? To give ourselves grades based on arbitrary metrics to post on lifeless social networks so that we may wag pixelated fingers towards the goal of upping tiny numbers on so-called “social currency” for likes? Again, pardon me for being cynical, but the trend of data culture seems to me a siren song designed to distance people from what really matters – human culture.



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