Wednesday, February 3, 2016
When Ignorance Makes Me Mad
I don't normally blog when angry, but I'm just so irritated at how small-minded some people are that I want to scream. In biology discussion section, we started talking about how there are some genetic variations that still affect human reproduction. One of them affects portions of Tibetan women, and if they don't have the correct variation, they tend to have stillborn children. It's a very sad example of natural selection in human populations.
One student thought the problem wasn't that difficult and broke it down like this: 1) Tibetans are less developed peoples and have less technology, 2) They should move to lower altitudes and are choosing not to and 3) They should get educations.
I don't think I've ever been that angry in a classroom environment before. The amount of ignorance was honestly stunning. I think my mouth was open in shock for most of the time that he was talking. While I'm not Tibetan, and I am Chinese. I've been to the edge of Tibet in Tibetan-culture dominated areas, and it was beautiful
I don't think he realised that by saying what he said, he was breaking it down like this:
First of all, who is to say that Tibetans are "less developed" or "more developed" than anyone else? Tibetan people are human, and all humans should be respected. Having less technology does not demonstrate a lack of development-- it is more due to a lack of resources and accessibility than anything else.
Second of all, who was this random, male, white student to say that Tibetan people should move to lower altitudes? Apparently heritage, culture and tradition are simply irrelevant. Also, moving from a remote Tibetan village is nothing like the moving done in the Western world-- there are no U-Hauls, safe roads or obvious paths to take.
Third, who is going to provide these educations you speak of? Many Tibetans live in remote areas that are hard to access-- there's no electricity to speak of. How would getting an education directly impact if those poor women's babies were born stillborn or not, considering the difference was in their genes?
I am generally not someone to say "check your privilege", but I think in this case it is deserved. Your normal is not other people's normal. What seems like an easy solution for one person would mean the destruction of another person's culture, heritage, livelihood, and identity. The world may be globalising quickly, but other people's cultures are still valuable simply because they are what they are.
Rant over. But seriously, so much of that is not okay.