1. Name at least three ways that your race helps or harms you.
Being black has always resulted to racial discrimination. It makes me feel inferior to everybody else, an imposter, who is not part of the community. Racial discrimination angers me, offends me, frustrates me, but above all, it saddens me. Moreover, being black can make someone feel unsafe or uncomfortable and that he or she is not accepted or welcomed whenever one may choose to visit. This breeds mistrust, incites hatred, and prevents the word “community” in its tracks (Kincaid, 2012). Furthermore, it is well-known that racism imparts barriers to economic and social participation that may, in turn, lead to social exclusion and establish disadvantage, occasionally for generations. Research indicates that there are major links between experiences of discrimination and racism and poor physical and mental health (Kincaid, 2012).
2. What obligations, if any, do the lifelong beneficiaries of unjust prejudice have to correct this injustice? Suppose whatever benefits they get are not the result of their own actions, but the unconscious biases of others. Can they simply say, "Well, it is not my fault I got all this stuff because of unfair bias in my favor? I mean well towards others. Isn't that enough?"
Unjust prejudice can be stopped by the victims through fighting for their rights and protecting those individuals, who were mistreated, to show that they care for them and for the coming generations. Furthermore, they can begin by educating their children at home and in school about the effects of discrimination (Kincaid, 2012). Once they articulate their thoughts to their kids, that prejudice is not an acceptable behavior, it can make a great difference. If the prejudice emanates from your school, one needs to approach a staff member, who deals with these occurrences, or if you are not sure whom to approach – speak with a staff member, who you can trust, and tell him/her about the ongoing situation. One also needs to tell friends and members of the family about this, so as to get their help as well.
3. What sort of free will does moral responsibility require? Why does it require that kind of free will? Do we have that kind of free will? How can you tell?
Compatibilism upholds that in coming up with moral decisions people are free to do whatever they want to do, so as to pursue their needs. If they don’t have free will (in the sense that includes other possibilities), then they cannot rightfully be deemed morally responsible agents. Of course there are diverse accounts of the element of moral responsibility, over and above its circumstances of application (Cowley, 2014). An agent’s moral responsibility comprises in his or her being a suitable contender for attributions of particular ethical predicates, such as good, bad, charitable, cruel, courageous, dastardly, and so on. Whichever the account of the thought of moral responsibility one recognizes, it is apparent that if it turned out that people lacked free will, there would be a disturbing and deep dispute to the idea that we are responsible morally.
4. What are the best arguments in favor of our current system of criminal punishment? What are the best arguments against it? In developing your response, consider the four justifications for punishment we discussed in class.
Arguments in favor of the current system of criminal punishment include the fact that it is the ultimate warning. Criminal punishment in a larger sense acts as the critical warning against every crime. Once the criminal acknowledges that the system of justice will not stop at putting him to death, then the system seems more draconian to him. Furthermore, it offers closure for victims. It could not end with the execution of the murderer; however, the execution does stimulate a feeling of reprieve at no longer having to think about the torment (Cowley, 2014).
Arguments against the current system of criminal punishment comprise the fact that it teaches the condemned nothing, since the criminals are no longer alive to learn from the offence committed. A person cannot be rehabilitated via killing him or her. Moreover, it does not dissuade. Criminal punishment does not appear to be changing the mind of every criminal concerning killing an innocent individual. If it does not discourage, then it serves no use (Cowley, 2014).
5. Consider the two viewpoints on feminism that we discussed in class (humanist and gynocentric). What characterizes each view and why are they sometimes in conflict with each other? Pick two examples of women's oppression and analyze how both a humanist and the gynocentric feminist might respond to each.
Humanist feminism is characterized by its revolt against being confined in femininity. Therefore, humanist-feminism is a revolt against femininity and the patriarchy. Humanist-feminists argues that the patriarchy does not permit women to become free-subjects and transcendent (Dziedzic, 2012).
Gynocentric feminism is characterized by the fact that women’s oppression comprises of not only being prohibited from contributing in total humanity, but also of the devaluation and denial of particularly feminine qualities and activities by an excessively authoritarian masculine culture (Dziedzic, 2012). The two are sometimes in conflict since Gynocentric feminism is not a rebellion against femininity. It is an upheaval in opposition to the devaluation of femininity, unlike the humanist feminism.
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Women’s oppression comprises of the repression and devaluation of women’s personality and female endeavor by the patriarchal culture. Patriarchal values acclaim violence, death, selfishness and competition, repression of the body, affectivity and sexuality. Where humanist-feminism shattered the quality of the feminine, gynocentric-feminism reinstates it.
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