Robust knowledge requires both consensus and disagreement
Knowledge is robust if it can overcome sustained criticism. One of the methods to test it is through disagreement. If it survives with consensus then it is robust, otherwise, it will stop being knowledge at all. In other words, knowledge must have people argue for it or against it before it is considered true. Disagreement is very important for the process of refining knowledge. It follows that if knowledge was purely attained through the scientific method, one will never know if it is robust. For the purpose of this question, the areas of knowledge that I would base my analysis on are ethics and history in relation to the film 13th. Note that before knowledge is considered true, both strength and weakness must be explored (Lacroix, and Lavency 123).
Defining knowledge is necessary for the knower’s pursuit of knowledge; one needs to know what he or she is looking for. For instance, a good definition of knowledge needs to be wide enough to allow both the disagreements and consensus. It is important to look at different views concerning an issue before putting all your believes in it. Sciences have achieved this because it allows the participation of enough people and as a result, individual biases are phased out with time. When you bring different people together you will always have some consensus and disagreement.
The thirteenth documentary focuses on racial equality that exists in our country’s justice system. The documentary was an eye opener into what is little known and how it can be synthesized. The film went a step further to look into the historical impact of the laws that exist today and the population of people in prisons. Additionally, it touches on the oppression that the people of color face and how the law takes social standpoints and includes them into the justice system in the form of laws. In other words, there was a large predisposition when it came to the people of color either being of crimes and those who are not. In essence, the film gave me an insight into the injustices that exist in our criminal justice system. Prior to watching the film, I was aware injustice existed in the system but what I did not know is that it was to a larger extent. Since the abolishment of slavery and other civil rights movement, I believed the society had made some tremendous steps. However, I still feel that there needs to be a serious change before justice is served. However, change requires sacrifice and time.
The first area of knowledge that plays an important role in this documentary is ethics. The entire film looks at how justice is portrayed in our justice system and the lack of it. The main problem presented in the film is on how to draw a fine line between social stability and racial injustice. In most cases, the government proposes different measures to curb crimes in our society but at the same time targets the people of color. It emerged clearly in the film that the high rate of crimes is linked to people from these communities. This brings me to the question; is it ethical to try and curb crimes in the society by targeting a particular racial group? To answer this question, it requires an understanding of the racial profiling that exists today. Many companies which are linked to private-owned prisons benefit more when there is mass incarceration. Additionally, it is the government that is involved in incarcerating the people. Although the 13th amendment abolished slavery and unpaid except when it is done as a form of punishment, the exception continues to be used up to days. It is not surprising that today; many companies have products which are made from prisons. This raises many ethical questions.
The second area of knowledge is history which has been well covered in the documentary. The film focuses on drawing a connection between historical racial injustice and the racial injustices that we experience today. History can help us understand the racial tensions that arise today in our country. Without revisiting the past, the message that the producers in the film were trying to send would have less impact. Therefore, unless films consider giving a historical background, many of their questions would go unanswered and this affects the validity of the knowledge gained.
My first knowledge question concerns whether the country’s history with racial injustice promotes or hinders the current fight for equality and justice. My straight answer to the question is that the country’s history with racial injustice both promotes and hinders the fight for equality and justice. The many years of historical oppression keep on resurfacing. The pain and suffering only add fuel to the present fight for equality. A discussion on equality on equality and justice never ends without revisiting the history and this, in most cases, complicates everything. I think the racism in our society is deeply rooted to the extent that it is near impossibility to remove it in our social infrastructures. I also think the rich history of racism has for some time now helped us gain the knowledge, experience and the tools of combating it and a result racial acceptance is becoming a common thing today. I also believe history helps us learn from our mistakes and make the necessary changes; helps us understand where we came from to where we are now and how we can achieve the dream of a completely equal society.
My second knowledge question revolves around the increased crime rates in the communities of color and whether history has a role in the issues surrounding these people. I think the issues surrounding the people with color started sometime after the end of slavery. I would say the country itself a particular perception about the black people which is not easy to erase or change. Many of them continue to be jailed for minor crimes and occasionally labored as a form of punishment. Historically, the African American has been portrayed as criminals and in the end, most of them are denied the tools and opportunities to better their lives just as other communities. The lack of opportunities led to poverty within this community (poverty and crimes are sometimes inseparable). With the harsh economic conditions, most of them resort illegal activities in order to meet their daily needs. This portrayal of blacks as criminals no matter how much one would try to argue against it is as bad racism. These beliefs are deeply rooted in our society to an extent that they are being considered to be true. Statistics show that there is little being done to un-weave them (Chavous et al 13).
Based on the above scenario, I would say that the laws are not passed specifically to target the African Americans anymore. The issue of stigma is what brings in the confusion. I would say that the stigma that is linked to being black in America is what makes the laws passed appear to be targeting these communities. Although the criminal justice system and law enforcement uses different methods in their daily operations, they have some consistency. The consistency comes in because sometimes they both wrongly accuse and sentence people. Most situations are treated with equality but critics maintain they tend to follow the system of being racist when the people of color come into the picture. The only way out of this mess is that the two systems (criminal justice system and law enforcement) should consider using the same method of punishment. The point is that this should be an equal trial. All situations and all people need to be approached the same way but the system is yet to find an effective way of achieving this.
In conclusion, the film 13th was indeed an eye-opener into the racial equality that exists in our country’s justice system. Basing on ethics and history as reference areas of knowledge it emerged that in order to achieve robust knowledge both sides of an issue need to be addressed; weakness and strength. Indeed, disagreement is very important for the process of refining knowledge. For instance, history focuses on drawing a connection between the presence and the past. The many years of historical oppression can either hinder or promote the fight for equality. Ethics, on the other hand, begs us to try and draw a fine line between social stability and racial injustice. Based on these two areas of knowledge, I would say that robust knowledge requires both consensus and disagreement.
Chavous, Tabbye M., et al. “Racial stereotypes and gender in context: African Americans at
predominantly Black and predominantly White colleges.” Sex Roles 51.1 (2004): 1-16.
Lacroix, Martial, and Pierre Lavency. “Preferences; Putting More Knowledge into
Queries.” VLDB. Vol. 87. 2000