Nacerima

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Essay Assignment The Nacirema

An Essay Response to The Nacirema

When reading the Nacirema article for this class, I already knew about the article being a satire of American culture. Even read I did read it without prior knowledge, by time it started explaining the role of the listener, I was already skeptical that this new culture was anything new. My first impression of the article is that it goes too far to make its point. The point is to make regular Americans realize that the Nacirema’s are an elaborated ethnocentric-based writing about them. This is a great purpose and is needed to have a better perspective about how your perspective of self can be interpreted differently based on another’s way of thinking. However, the writer extends the culture into a place where it becomes whimsical and highly sarcastic. I think I have felt this way, because while reading I understood gradually that there were connections between American culture and Nacirema culture. The only difference separating them was the context in which they were referred in. Another problem was the oversimplification to present a cultural relativistic paper. A quote I remember from high school that makes me think that there is such an issue. The quote is from Lecomte du Nuoy and it says to the effect that, “The brain craves understanding [, but to do so requires simplification, however all simplifications are not full pictures of the reality. The usage of them can take us away from the reality of whatever is going on.]” I feel the author oversimplified the entire life of the Nacirema to make a statement. The point is made, but I don’t feel a sense of having learned a lesson from it. The article extends into the American lifestyle in a tone that makes the paper more of a joke then an academic resource. The report of his findings is mostly culturally relative. He is seeing the culture and explaining it as it was to him through his rapport with the people. The explanations when put in...
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