[BP#11] The American Thanksgiving

NY Times Article


This article simply goes through a list of different cultural dishes from different ethnic backgrounds throughout the US. It’s an interesting read, especially considering the closeness of Thanksgiving. It’s a fun read for anyone interested in trying something other than turkey or ham this Thanksgiving.

Ethical Analysis

I know what you’re thinking. How does this relate to ethics? It does. Just trust me. I’m an expert on this matter. Okay okay, not really. But I’ll apply it today. My analysis will not be on the article, but the intended (perceived) meaning behind the article, and a few other aspects. Plus, who doesn’t like talking about food?

Let’s talk virtue. By now, we all have a general understanding of who defined virtue, and how they defined it. No need to constantly cover that area. What I plan to focus on, are the virtuous characteristics behind the people who keep there heritage alive through food.

To some this may seem ridiculous. How can the creation and spreading of food be virtuous? To some degree it can’t, but if you look at the consistency at which it is taught, and what it does to affect general human happiness, to some degree it can be virtuous.

Consistency: Teaching a child to make a special dish is considered tradition in some families. It’s a way to carry on a memory of a bond, or to honor a dead relative, etc. By consistently passing down this tradition to teach a certain recipe a certain way, the teachers are, in some way, performing virtuous action. This tradition teaches people a way to create bonds, or strengthen them. It also teaches families about the importance of familial bonding and the “true” meaning of happiness (which is obviously food).

The article also helps us reflect on recent events and the fear that is suffocating the atmosphere. It shows that America is not just white Christians that want to purge the country out of fear. It points back to the Americas that people originally went googly-eyed over when hearing the name. A country full of hope and dreams. “The World’s Melting Pot” as my Finnish friend, Max, would say. “In Finland, there’s a lot of white people. Seeing a black person is rare.” Max said.

For me, this article reminded me to treat people like they are; PEOPLE. In the chaos of elections, and other recent events, we tend to overlook the core of some ethical arguments. As a species, humans are the only animals to have a written language and civilized society. We do not merely act off of instinctual desires, less we strive for a state of nature. In order for a society to properly work, we have to remember that all humans are rational, autonomous beings. With this being the case, we must treat them as such.

So, what’s my point here?

  1. Ethics is applicable to everyday life. Even things we tend to overlook. (But you already knew this)
  2. Virtue is consistent with simply teaching a recipe and sharing it. It must be for the sake of sharing, and not to hold some advantage over competition. (Yes, I am kind of attacking trade secrets)
  3. People are people. Treat them as such. Our judgement can be clouded in times of anger, fear, or confusion. We just need to slow down, think about it, and then move forward. Never fear to ask for help.

Something along those line.


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