Subjective Thinking

Subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Throughout this course, I feel like I have gained more knowledge about racial and wealth-based issues by using literature and art. I have also through this class practiced not being subjective when thinking and talking about these issues.

During Professor Lytton Smith’s second lecture for this class, I was challenged. We were engaging in a conversation about my home town, Syracuse. It was hard for me not to be subjective because Syracuse is my home. However, the article we had to read was about the highway directly in the middle of Syracuse (I-81) that divides the city, one side filled with poverty and the other filled with wealth. We then split up into groups to really divulge as a group into discussing the main issue. When I was talking to my group, I had to keep reminding myself not to be subjective. Syracuse might be my hometown but the division of the wealth in the city due to the redlining and fleeing of the middle/upper classes to the suburbs is an issue that needs to be addressed. Because I had been practicing being non-subjective, I was able to approach this issue from an unbiased standpoint, which I believe should be important while approaching controversial social issues.

Steve Prince’s artwork deals with many social and racial issues that have happened unjustly. In his piece, “Rosa Sparks”, he included many people who were unfairly treated due to other peoples’ subjectivity. One of the many featured in this piece was Trayvon Martin. He was 17-years old who was shot because of one person’s subjectivity. Trayvon for me is a constant reminder to practice not being subjective. This young boy’s life was taken because his hood was over his head and he “looked suspicious”. George Zimmerman’s own subjectivity took away Martin’s life because he was influenced by stereotypes that link black teenagers with crime & suspicious activity.

Subjective thinking is a threat to society and is one of the causes of many recent/past social and economic issues. A subjective mindset is a dangerous one. When engaging in conversations especially about wealth and race issues, people should practice putting their own biases aside and think about the problem from others’ perspectives & opinions.


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