Article Critique: The Reason behind Good People Doing Bad Things

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Milgram experiment, Philip Zimbardo Pages: 4 (1332 words) Published: April 10, 2011
Article Critique
The main points discussed are the reason behind good people doing bad things, dehumanization, heroes and the effect of institutional power. The author was arguing that a person cannot quite literally be sweet, if they are surrounded by a sour environment. The strengths possessed in this article were that dehumanization is a very real notion as well as the fact that people change with the induction of anonymity. The weakness that is portrayed is that there are heroes around when in fact, yes they are around, but they are a quickly dying breed. My conclusion is that by uniting everyone and seeing each other as another human life regardless of being anonymous or not that maybe experiments like the Stanford experiment might not have needed to be done. Phillip Zimbardo’s, You Can’t be a Sweet Cucumber in a Vinegar Barrel has many valid points. The first point that could be considered obvious is the question that he prose’s is, “Why do good people do bad things?”(Zimbardo 1). This question can be answered by a number of contributing factors. Such as how a person was raised and where they were raised. He uses the example of the police man stating that it was a bunch of black and Puerto Rican kids that were vandalizing an unattended car(Zimbardo 7). The officer, probably said that because of how he was either raised or how he was conditioned to think while in the service. By assuming that the vandals of the car were a certain demographic, he makes it seem as though the people he believes is capable of such things fit that same group of kids. This attributes to the circumstances of why the car was vandalized by those kids in the first place. The setting, more than likely a dark area of the Bronx or also maybe in a “bad” neighborhood allows for the inhabitants of that neighborhood to act or be expected to act as such a person in a “bad” neighborhood would act, i.e., stealing, vandalizing, and selling illegal substances. In retrospect, Zimbardo also...
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