The Nacirema

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Stephanie Brinks
Sociology 151
September 30, 2008

Would you want to live among the Naciremas? Why or why not?
After reading Horace Miner’s Body Ritual Among the Nacirema I cannot say that I would want to be part of the tribe. A huge reason would be that I could never go from my own Christian faith to the religious practices of the Nacirema. My second reason for not wanting to be part of the tribe is that I could never be subjected to the horrific medical practices and “magical potions” used on every citizen in the tribe. One of the fundamental beliefs of the Nacirema is that “the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease.” According to the Christian tradition, the human body is fallen and is therefore prone to disease and weakness; so in that respect, I do not completely disagree with the Nacirema. However, they seem to take the ugliness of the body to a whole new extreme. Their fascination with the mouth is extremely interesting. In today’s society we don’t necessarily see the mouth as an evil device, but more as a tool for communication and sexuality. The relationship between oral and moral characteristics is an interesting way to see the world. I had a lot of cavities before the age of 16, and I can honestly say that I wasn’t an overly evil child; it’s just a byproduct of not brushing and too much sugar. The Nacirema seem to read a lot into things that are just repercussions of a life lived. The medicine men seem to be taking extreme advantage of the people he is supposed to be taking care of. They seem to be out for more selfish pursuits as opposed to really sincerely helping the people. I could not believe that the sick had to give gifts before they could be “helped” and after they were “helped.” The fact that they experienced immense torture in pain in order to live is bizarre. Many people never even walked out. I could not imagine if our medical system was that flawed and tyrannical. Women were also worse off...
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