Nice Girls Dont Talk to Rastas

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George Gmelch’s article, “Nice Girls Don’t Talk To Rastas” (2012) explores the idea of naïve realism, and the affect it can have on an anthropology study that is being performed. Naïve realism is a theory that every person perceives the world in the same way and when this way of thinking is used, like in the article, negative repercussions can occur. (p.35) This article explores the concepts of different societies in the world live by different norms and cultures than what others are used to, and what may be acceptable in one society may not be in another. I found this article intriguing to see how a conversation between an anthropology student and a local Rastafarian can have a negative impact on her reputation and studies in the society. If I were in the same situation I probably would have made the same mistake due to the fact that I do not have enough knowledge of other cultures because I have yet to be subjected to anything other then my own. It was interesting how Johanna’s host family reacted to what she believed to be an innocent action. The way her temporary family and villagers wanted nothing to do with her anymore was a rude awakening for her to become aware of what is obviously a very significant class distinction in the village. I believe the experience that Johanna went through broadened her perspective and allowed her to gain more insight into what she was studying, even if it wasn’t the preferred way, she now has a unique story. This article has made me think about the class distinctions in our society, which is focused on the gap between the rich and the poor. We don’t follow class distinctions as strictly as the Barbadian village but they are still prevalent in society. It would be interesting to discuss the idea of naïve realism further. Do you think Johanna, as an inexperienced anthropologist should have been aware of this issue? How would someone from the Barbadian village fall victim to naïve realism if they were to be studying our...
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