Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Outliers & Cultural Legacies

Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups

In chapter 6 of Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell highlights cultural legacies. He opens with disturbing descriptions of how longstanding cultural patterns and beliefs influenced violent conflicts among generations of families in Kentucky during the 19th century.

The compelling research findings concerning long-term and deeply held values led Gladwell to the conclusion that cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them. He goes on to note the possibilities of “taking cultural legacies seriously” in order to learn “why people succeed and how to make people better.”

It’s worth noting that highlighting cultural legacies can easily give way to problematic racial and gendered generalizations—generalizations we have necessarily been inclined to critique or avoid.

How did his narratives or claims alter or confirm your views about the significance of cultural legacies? 

17 comments:

Alex J said...

In Chapter 6, we see many examples of individuals being affected by not only where they grew up, but how they were raised. Even when discussing certain location in conversation today, a certain "regional stereotypes" always seem to pop up one time or another. Ultimately, I found the insult experiment very interesting. As discussed in this chapter, residents of Harlan Kentucky are very used to violent disagreement; it becomes a norm. In the south, these occasions weren't out of the ordinary during this time period. What is interesting, is that this idea is prominent in the entire southern region. Overall, Gladwell confirmed my views that as much as time goes on, and things progress, history remains a big part of who people are, how they act, and what they want to become.

Sierra Ewing said...

The reading was very interesting this week. I personally think that the chapter confirmed my views on cultural legacies rather than altered them. I appreciated his stance that we can learn about success from cultural legacy and I also appreciated the challenge to evaluate our generalizations and test whether or not they are true. There is validity and falsity in every claim and opinion, but I think from the chapter I am inclined to believe that our present attitude, our cultural norms and our path to success is heavily influenced by what has occurred before our time.

Deandre Howard said...

Well, It doesn't change anything for me. I would agree that cultural legacies are powerful, but only to the extent of the mind; it still needs some high or complete influence on the person.

Cultural legacies are not really a unique way of creating outliers; it is just a specified way of influence. By Gladwell's logic, the same could be said for any situation, event, or information (not just cultural history). A culture itself can also repel and/or give a "negative" effect on people.

The effect described above can be seen anywhere. It could be due to more information and understanding of other cultures provided to other people,but logic plays a big part. However, I may be treading into the different forms of indoctrination...

Lindsey McCall said...

This reading more so confirmed my view on cultural legacies than altered. As a church girl I was always told about things like generational curses and blessings. I think that ties into cultural legacies, I also believe our cultural legacies can sometimes conflict with others.

Rodrick Robins said...

I think that Gladwell was right spot on when it comes to something like stereotypes. I believe that stereotypes definitely are passed down from generation to generation. In order to destroy the stereotypes that plague families, people outside of the family must let go of the stereotypes also, in order to support the new behaviors of the generational trapped individual. The family member doesn't do all of the perpetuation, society does it also.

Rodrick Robins said...

I believe that Gladwell is spot on when it comes to his stances on the stereotypes and legacies that are passed down through the generations. I feel that generational legacies aren't just perpetuated by the family members, but also by society. If society tells someone that they are something and their family tells them through example that they are, they are more than likely to accept their respected "legacy" (negative or positive), and the generational curse or blessing. As productive members of our society, we should challenge stereotypes and generational legacies daily, to make our society more strong and diverse.

Shervonti Norman said...

This chapter confirmed my views about the significance on cultural legacy because I've always felt that certain things "run in the family." The examples he gives of violence running in families kind of compares to my family at a smaller scale. Short fuses run in my family. I can say that we do not run out killing people but we let it be known that we are angry. The "legacies" even applied to what location a person was raised in and I can say that I have witnessed certain stereotypes depending on where a person is raised.

Andriana C. said...

This section only further verified and strengthened my pre-existing beliefs on this subject. Ultimately, it is our job to disprove these generalizations in order for these generational beliefs to begin to be diluted in a diverse societal solution. This would do especially well in regards to regional stereotypes. Negativity becomes the norm when no one proves one side wrong or right.

gabriel said...

Gladwell makes a valid point when he spoke about stereotypes. Stereotypes definitely do stay with us throughout our lifetimes. Stereotypes are also passed down from the parents to the children. If your parents are perceived in a certain way people expect you to be very similar. Cultural legacy is quite true in most cases however not always true. On the most part when we all grow up we begin to see our parents, or bits of our community, in ourselves.

Isaiah Blackburn said...

This chapter altered my view on cultural legacies because I always thought that a person could grow out of his family's culture if he is away from that environment from an extended period of time. However, the study involving the college students showed that they still live by their ancestors' "culture of honor" lifestyle. This lifestyle appeared to be dormant until they felt like they were being threatened which caused them to turn toward violence.

Quincy Sanderlin said...

Overall, Gladwell confirmed my prior thoughts on the importance of cultural legacies. While we are not completely bound by them, they can have a powerful effect on us. In a positive sense, our cultural legacy can either push us to conform to its conceptions or motivate us to break free from its dogmas. Yet, it can have a negative effect if we allow our legacy to mentally hold us down, or determine our worth and future. Whether we choose to let our cultural history be an asset or a deterrent is up to us. Either way our cultural legacies will remain with us and influence our lives.

Evan Townzen said...

These narratives were very intense, but not all that surprising. They really confirmed my ideas of cultural legacies. While I was reading about the Howard-Turner feud in Harlan the whole time I was thinking about modern day gang violence. It is the same story, he killed them because they killed his friend. They killed him because he killed their friend.

The study of the guys reactions also surprised me. I did not think that where you were from had that much effect on how you reacted to a specific word. Overall this chapter though did confirm my views for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Mercedes H
This chapter was interesting with talking about cultural legacies. However, I do not think that it really changed my mind that much. Cultural legacies do exist in the same sense that traditions exist. People are effected by previous generations and the people around them. The saying "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" came to mind because when you're so close to someone or related it is common to have similarities and be a lot alike. This chapter did not change my views but confirmed them.

Rubin Logan said...

This is very interesing because we see this in every day life. I agree with the chapter and its view on cultural standpoints and it dont not contridict my belief upon them either. Where we grew up and how we were raised has a huge effect on our success, and conflict may occur with other culture but ultimately its about how they deal with it.
Rubin L.

Joi M said...

Like many others, my views were confirmed in this chapter. I think that cultural legacies are so strong in an individual because they are something that are almost guaranteed to be picked up. Even if an individual doesn't get a proper education, for example, the things they are exposed to such as stereotypes are going to be reflected in their actions. Because these things often have a large influence on the level of success one achieves, we should be aware of the things we expose ourselves and others to and the affects they will later have.

Alexandra Donaldson said...

I believe Gladwell's narratives confirmed my view on cultural legacies. A family's culture always stays with a person no matter how long they go without being in that environment around their family. In my opinion, Gladwell's narratives and claims prove that simple fact.
Alex D.

Trion Taylor said...

This chapter kind of confirmed my views on cultural legacies and how they play into stereotypes. When I tell people that I'm from the south side of Chicago, they usually are surprised because I don't "act" like I'm from the south side of Chicago. It's because of stereotypes like this that I act differently from what people would expect because I don't like to live up to negative stereotypes, instead I like to disprove those stereotypes.