October 1, 2023

Picture this: A realm where curiosity meets revelations, where the past intertwines with the present, and where the enigmatic tapestry of human existence unravels before your eyes. Welcome to the fascinating world of anthropology – the captivating study of humanity itself.
Derived from the ancient Greek words “anthropos” and “logos”, meaning man and study, anthropology goes far beyond a mere academic pursuit. It is a profound exploration of our collective heritage that sheds light on the intricacies of our past, present, and future, holding the key to unlocking the mysteries of our own existence.
However, anthropology isn’t just about satisfying our curiosity. It possesses the power to transform societies and address pressing social issues that plague our world. Take, for instance, the pervasive problem of social discrimination that currently plagues the Philippines. It is through the lens of anthropology that we can unravel its complex roots and pave the way for lasting change.
As Albert Einstein once stated, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” When tackling discrimination, understanding the behavior of those perpetrating it becomes crucial. Through the study of various anthropological approaches and theories, we come to realize that ethnocentrism often lies at the heart of the issue.
Ethnocentrism, which involves the evaluation of other cultures based on the standards and customs of our own, can give birth to negative judgments and discriminatory actions against those who differ from us. It is typically minorities, such as people with disabilities and indigenous people, who bear the brunt of such discrimination. These minorities possess unique cultures, distinct from the majority. Discrimination arises when ethnocentric majorities pass judgment on these minorities, fueling a vicious cycle.
Moreover, the study of anthropology becomes particularly significant when we consider the context of our city, Baguio. Nestled amidst the scenic Cordillera mountains, Baguio is home to diverse ethnic groups, including the Ibaloys and Kankanaeys, each with their unique cultural practices, traditions, and languages. Yet, in this city, discrimination manifests in various forms, affecting marginalized groups – not only the indigenous peoples but also people with disabilities and other minority groups. Unfortunately, these minority groups have long experienced discrimination and marginalization due to ethnocentrism and lack of understanding from the majority.
Nevertheless, how can anthropology be the catalyst for change? The answer lies in the profound concept of cultural relativism. By embracing cultural relativism, we shed our judgmental lenses and seek to understand the cultural practices of others within their own unique contexts. Imagine a city where students, taught the principles of cultural relativism in school, become empathetic and open-minded individuals, ready to embrace diversity. Gradually, the walls of discrimination crumble as society at large adopts this approach, fostering an environment of acceptance and harmony.
Anthropology’s reach extends far beyond discrimination, permeating every facet of our lives. It possesses the potential to illuminate the origins of a multitude of contemporary problems. Just as we identify the roots of discrimination through anthropology’s lens, we can unravel the complexities of other challenges by applying its concepts. This discipline empowers us not only to comprehend ourselves as human beings but also to confront and resolve the pressing issues that define our time.
In today’s world, a growing number of experts recognize the value of anthropology’s theories and approaches in addressing these contemporary problems. It has become a beacon of hope that guides us toward a brighter future, where our collective understanding of humanity propels us to overcome societal hurdles and build a more inclusive and compassionate world.
Hence, dare to embark on this extraordinary journey into the realm of anthropology. Immerse yourself in the depths of human understanding, for it is here that you will discover the transformative power to reshape our world for the better.