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Thread: Is there an ethics question here?

  1. #1
    Premium Member Candybar's Avatar
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    Is there an ethics question here?

    I don't know if there is another thread for this. I think the treatment that the Amish are facing with this group clearly shows the ugly face of discrimination. I wonder if the "city kids" prior to the show all maintained that they do not discriminate against people who are different from themselves. Reminds me of a sociology experiment at the expense of both sides. The Amish being abused and the city kids finding out just how deep their prejudices run and visa versa. Feels unfair, not reality tv unfair, but truely unethical.

    Anyone remeber the Zimbardo prison experiment. It is usually taught in freshman soclology courses. In this experiment students played both prisoners and guards. The guards were given a lot of power and soon divided up into good guards and bad guards. It turned out that the good guards were not actually stopping the bad guards ill treatment of the prisoners. But they did get to maintain their illusion that they were "good" That is a less than complete summary, please forgive the limitation of my discription. The reason I am mentioning this is that the students who played the roles of guards found very dark sides of themselves in what was to be a simple little experiment were deeply, profoundly disturbed by their behavior. The experiment was disturbing for everyone involved. This is my recollection.

    This show is not a sociology experiment, there are no academic ethical human experimentation controls govenrnng the show.

    I feel concern for the city kids as well as the amish kids. I hope they all prove me wrong, rise up and transcend cultural diifferences.

    This one feels different to me.

  2. #2
    FORT Fogey Catniptoy's Avatar
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    Well, I would agree with you if the Amish didn't have a tradition of encouraging their children to go out into the world during rumspringa, but since they do have that tradition, I see this as just a larger extension of what happens naturally. Yes, it is true that the Amish who don't go very far from their homes may end up only 10 miles away drinking, having sex, etc., but they probably also come into contact with a lot of people who discriminate against them, make fun of them and take advantage of their innocence. So at least in this case everything is being filmed and they have the guidance of producers (and maybe counselors--I'm not sure about that) as they take this journey together.
    I agree with you, though, that if they just took a handful of Amish kids (with no prior tradition) and threw them in a house with a bunch of city kids just to see what happens, then it would be like lambs to the slaughter. I really think that for the most part the Amish kids expect to come up against some ugly reality in the world outside their communities, though. They are taught that they should live apart from the world for that very reason.

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    FORT Fogey Anonymous's Avatar
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    (apologizing now for the long post)

    I agree, Catniptoy. The Amish kids will probably decide to go back to their communities because of the way the other parts of the world treat each other and treat the Amish. They were brought to LA to experience it in its fullest, and the reality of it is, LA is like that. Most other parts of the world are like that. A person accustomed to being asked to pick up after themselves wouldn't have made such a big deal about being asked to do so, and since that one Amish boy wasn't accustomed to it, he made a big deal out of it. Which made an even bigger deal with the city kids talking about the Amish kids not picking up after themselves. And even then, I don't think a city kid would have cried over it because it's not a big deal to us.

    Mose being made fun of for "almost drowning" (and I can't really say whether he almost drowned or not as I wasn't there) wasn't that big of a deal to the city kids. Maybe the one guy who was doing it took it a bit far, but then maybe it ruined the mood everyone had at the beach. When you're in a sour mood and it's because of someone else, you usually say bad things about them ("you" being a very general term). I just don't think the Amish were used to confrontation and the likes because people who are wouldn't have reacted the way they did.

    And I'm not worried about either group to be honest. I think the Amish will probably realize that they're much better off in the communities they grew up in because they don't like how they're treated outside of them, and will appreciate what they have even more. Plus (and correct me if I'm wrong) the Amish back home most likely would not have seen this show and these Amish kids can go back to their normal lifestyle with ease (and hopefully we'll let them if they want to).

    Or maybe they will become more accustomed to the lifestyle outside the community and will then leave their Amish lifestyle. Either way I think they're going to walk away with some good experiences that will most likely outweigh the bad. The city kids, well, I think living with the Amish might give them a distaste for that way of living just as much as the Amish with the way we live if they end up feeling that way.

    The difference of the two is that the city kids look like they're horrible people and how they're treated outside of this show is the only thing I think you should be worried about, if you've got their best interests in mind.

  4. #4
    FORT Fogey
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    I am sure both groups are learning a lot about themselves. I thought the city kids were quite rude, but a normal reaction to the unknown is quite often fear, which manifests itself in strange ways. How many of our discriminatory ways are based on fear of what we don't know? Isn't it sometimes easier to push someone away than to take the risk of opening yourself up to them?

    I will give the city kids credit, there were times when they were pretty good sports. They were also very respectful when the prayer was said before they ate. I don't think the city kids were necessarily horrible, just very surprised and confused. I'm pretty sure the Amish had the heads-up on this one, they knew more what to expect than the city kids, who obviously thought they were in some kind of Real World set up.

    I'm hoping that over time, they all relax a little and take advantage of the opportunity to get to know someone so different from themselves.

  5. #5
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    Hello all I'm a new member and poster
    I watched the show and heard something that surprised me...
    After Mose' almost drowned and he was explaining it, he used the slang
    " I'm serious as a heart attack"

    For the amish not to have tv or or know anything of the outside world,
    I wander how he knew to use some slang. It threw me for a moment.
    I wandered if they are really amish. They seemed to have adjusted rather to
    quickly. Maybe it's just me...maybe it's just too much Big Brother...
    Thanks for letting me join

  6. #6
    Premium Member FinallyHere's Avatar
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    Cherokee

    I was sort of wondering the same thing. I noticed the two girls certainly new how to dress and do their make-up and hair. I guess it all has a lot to do with what Amish communities thaey came from and just how much contact with the outside worl they were allowed prior to coming to LA. On the other hand, as 'modern' as Miriam looked, she still said that she had never seen a parking meter before.
    Some people are like slinkies, they're useless until you push them down the stairs.

  7. #7
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    Finallyhere
    You mentioned Miriam. yes her hair is very short and "styled" somewhat.
    I tend to think they wer'nt just put into this show without them seeing
    *something* of the outside world (tv) before putting them in that house.

  8. #8
    Can They Do It?? mrdobolina's Avatar
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    Hmmm--

    I thought that just about all of the Amish kids were already entrenched in their rumspringa? That they had been in rumspringa for a few years already. So perhaps they already knew about makeup, and hairstyling and fashion before the show. You know the producers had them arrive at the house in their Amish clothes just to get the point across to the "city" kids.

    This is an interesting show. I haven't watched the entire premiere yet, but I am really intrigued by this concept. It's fascinating
    "You don't own a TV?!? What's all your furniture pointed at?" Joey Tribianni

    It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.

  9. #9
    Premium Member FinallyHere's Avatar
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    Mr Dob, Thats what I was thinking, but I wasn't sure. That would explain a lot. I missed the first 10 - 20 minutes or so, but from what I saw, you could get the imprssion that the Amish kids went right from the farm to LA.
    Some people are like slinkies, they're useless until you push them down the stairs.

  10. #10
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    I was totally offended after watching Amish in the City last night. Not by the way the Amish kids were exploited but by the way the "city kids" behaved! They give us city kids (I think the Amish call non-Amish people "English"?) a really bad rap.

    It was ironic to see people who probably all have had to deal with close-minded people (Reese because he's gay, Whitney because she's black, Ariel because she's vegan, Nick because he's from Boston, the red-headed cousin of NYC, Kevan because he's half Persian, and the other girl who's name I forgot because people tend to think blondes are all dumb?) be so quick to judge others just because they were different. I couldn't believe they stood there on the other side of the front door, just laughing and saying "oh my god, no way". How rude.

    Even after the initial shock, after they came to realize the Amish kids were just regular people (like Jonas and someone else kept repeating), they still had their complaints about the Amish. Even Kevan who wasn't shown being disrespectful at the beginning showed his ugly side.

    It's kind of funny, though, because these city kids think they are so cool (ooh, club promoter, yay! vegan waitress, yay! fashion stylist, yay!)- what are they doing on a reality show, trying to get their 15 minutes of fame? And since we the public have seen plenty of reality shows and know what kind of people sign up for these things, we're not fooled. But how about the Amish kids who probably haven't watched any tv in their entire lives- will they think us non-Amish behave like this? Yikes.

    I'm not sure if I'll tune in to watch next week (I wasn't planning on watching the pilot, but was waiting for Quintuplets on FOX and was a bit intrigued to see the city kids make fools of themselves)... I feel so bad for the Amish kids who have to put up with the city kids.

    BTW, about how the Amish kids picked up slang- I was reading online a while ago about how some Amish teens smuggle battery-operated radios into their houses and stuff like that. Maybe that's where they learn it from, or from interaction with non-Amish people back home. (Is Ruth's boyfriend Amish? In the images they showed of the two together, I think he was wearing jeans, which I don't think Amish people wear...) Although I was somewhat surprised to hear them use words like "freakin'".
    Last edited by ladybug; 07-29-2004 at 01:28 PM.

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