Who is Nacirema

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  • The Nacirema value avoiding disease and infirmity.
  • The Nacirema believe that ceremonies and rituals can be used to avoid disease.
  • A norm is having shrines in houses.
  • A ritual is that the each Nacirema person washes himself or herself with holy water each day.
  • The charm box is part of Nacirema culture.

Practices/ beliefs found to be bizarre:

  • The Nacirema would put hog hairs into their mouths in order to take care for their mouths.
  • The Nacirema would allow the “holy-mouth-man” to enlarge cavities in their teeth or take out pieces their teeth if there were no holes. They believed that this would prevent decay of their teeth.
  • The men cut their faces every day.
  • he women would put their heads in ovens

I find these practices strange, because although they are meant to care for the person and prevent disease, they seem more likely to cause harm and disease instead. They essentially do the opposite of what they are intended to do.

Since our society places a larger emphasis on science for medicine and care, these scientific views cause me to assume that the practices of the Nacirema (which are based on tradition) are not beneficial for care. Durkheim’s idea of social facts help explain my reaction, since one social fact in our society is that good medicine is almost exclusively based on science (biology, chemistry, etc.). As a result, we fail to look at the other aspects of medicine that may be helpful (but are not scientifically based) and fail to consider them.

Texans seem to assume that everything is bigger in Texas. Many Texans also assume that legalizing marijuana will be debilitating for the nation without fully understanding what the effects, both positive and negative, of such an act will be. Another example would be rapid eye movement therapy that psychiatrists in Texas use for the treatment of trauma. People accept that the therapy treats the mind to move on from traumatic experiences without actually knowing how it heals the brain.

Knowing who the Nacirema really are causes me to view my original perspective as uninformed and too quick to judge. I made judgements about the practices stated in the test without thinking about the underlying reasons for the practices. Additionally, better descriptions, such as pictures would have left me less uninformed about the topic when I made my judgements. Knowing who the Nacirema really are also changes the accuracy of my answers. For instance, I now do not find many of the acts weird that I previously thought to be before, since I know the underlying reasons for each act.

Also, some of the acts described are different from the conventional or normal images that arise in the mind when the descriptions are heard. For instance, the ovens that women put their heads into are for perms. However, the first thing that comes to mind when hearing about the ovens is women sticking their heads in cooking ovens, an act which can lead to death. I have learned not make premature judgements about the practices of other cultures. I have also learned to take descriptions with a grain of salt, since they may not tell the whole story about a practice or culture.

Cite this paper

Who is Nacirema. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/who-is-nacirema/

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