Values as embodied and culturally specific – my thoughts

Prior to watching the videos provided on MyDundee and attending Tuesdays lecture, my thoughts on the topics provided were;

Race – Skin colour, your origins that are similar to others

Ethnicity – your background, social group that you and others are alike in

Prejudice – a preconceived opinion on something or someone for no apparent reason

Discrimination – racist remarks, unfair and unjustified treatment of people who may look, sound or behave differently to you

The words above are ones I thought I knew well due to their frequent appearance in the news and current events, however after this weeks lecture I soon realised my understandings were not entirely accurate.

I learnt that racism is very much still apparent in every day life, on a greater scale than I previously knew. During the lecture, we were taught about the origins of racism and the sociological perspectives. We explored key events in American history such as the Civil Rights Movement, the Jim Crow Laws and the murder case of the young boy Emmet Till. Each of these topics I have previously learned about during my Higher History course in high school. This certainly did not make them any easier to listen to, as the brutality and injustice faced by African American’s in the late 1800’s to 1970’s was ridiculously high.

We also explored cases of racism in the UK, something I was not aware was so drastic. For example, in the 1964 General Election a Conservative MP was elected with a campaign based on a racist slogan. As a result Malcolm X, a human rights activist and huge figurehead in America for black pride, visited the town of Smethwick at this time to offer support to the local community. To me, this suggests just how severe the racism and injustice truly was in the UK. Not only did this election and Malcolm’s appearance shock me but it showed that only 50 years ago racism was very much supported in our country. Fifty years is within my parents generation, this thus shows that we have come a long way in a short space of time but certainly does not mean there aren’t changes that could be made.

The article above discusses the 1964 election in depth.

In November of last year I had the amazing opportunity to visit the once Nazi occupied concentration camps named Auschwitz, this experience is something I will never forget and I believe links perfectly with week 3 in the Values module. I became so inspired after my trip and I feel I have been reminded to keep the memory alive now more than ever as it is essential to take the information I have learned and pass it on to others. This I hope to carry out in the future when I have my own class of pupils, to teach them to be inclusive and respectful of all types of people, no matter where they come from or what they look like. It is so important to discuss the terms mentioned above to ensure young people are aware that horrible things do happen outwith our control but in turn this will hopefully lead them to carry forward an open and accepting mind set.

1 thought on “Values as embodied and culturally specific – my thoughts

  1. Derek Robertson

    Yes, the visit to Auschwitz must have been quite an experience. The horror of the thinking behind such a place, such a plan such behaviour shows how underneath the veneer of civilisation can lie such actions. I don’t know if you saw the programme about the poet W.H.Auden on Saturday night but one of his poems seem to be most apt in this discussion. Have a read:


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