Ethnographic Notes A – Without Sanctuary


On planet Earth, and in America, humans are made up of different races, meaning, they have a variety of skin tones and ethnicities. Different physical attributes may be an indicator of race depending on what part of the world a human’s ancestors originated from. Although anthropological evidence indicates that all humans originated from Africa, it would appear that they developed different attributes after migrating to adjust to their environmental surroundings and possibly as a result of their diet. Ethnicity can be in reference to biological characteristics which contribute to a persons facial features and skin tone. From a cultural perspective, ethnicity has to do with behavioral aspects of a person which are normally learned behaviors associated with the cultural environment they were raised in. Hence Ethnicity in terms of sociological aspects can be passed down generationally in a specific culture which is what separates cultures on a behavioral level.   Many historical instances provide evidence to show the difficulty that humans have with being tolerant of their fellow humans for reason associated with race, culture, religion, etc.

Nationalism is a word used by humans to describe the belief or attitude of one’s devotion or feeling of superiority to one’s own culture. Hence, humans may ostracize or even commit acts of violence towards other humans who differ from them culturally, ethnically or ideologically. For example, segregation of black and white people took place for many years in America. Lynching was an act committed on many African Americans by white people. Many African American people were murdered die to what is called racism (hatred towards another ethnicity or race).

I would cover the historical aspects behind racism in the human race. I would quote any remarks hat were said by the victims and perpetrators of the lynching. I would try to get as much information surrounding the “event” in order to try to convey a clear picture of the motives involved. Although if it were me, I would be terrified and not want to talk to the people doing the lynching, I will try to put this in terms of a non-emotional voyeur sent to gather information…

It would be important to conduct interviews of everyone in order to get an understanding of what motivates humans to carry out such acts. I would find out if the humans doing the murdering feel justified in the act and the reason behind those justifications. In, theory, I would also try get any information or statement from the victims.


I would focus on the religious significance that seem to be tied to the acts. For example, the bodies are displayed in such a way that they have a similar look to images I have seen depicting Jesus hanging from a cross. Some of the descriptions provided illustrate how the person who was to be hanged was usually forced to walk to the site of the hanging. Along the way they are beaten prior to being hung. This again mirrors descriptions provided in the Christian bible concerning Jesus being forced to carry a cross to the location where he would be executed. Another example would be the number of people depicted in the photos as being dressed in clothes that they probably would have worn to Church.

I would focus on the composition of the people attending the lynching. The traditional stereotype is that these occurred primarily at the hands of white men. While looking at the pictures on the site I see women, boys, and girls appearing to have been actively engaged in the process. I would also focus on the language and body language of the people involved.


I would look at the hate behind it.  In most of these pictures you can see that the people who are standing around it don’t look to care what they have just done.  What did these people who do that made these other people hang them from trees and set them on fire.   There is a lot of violence behind it.  They tortured these people and then gave them relief in the form of death, but then decided to torture them once more by setting the bodies on fire.  There has to be hate behind what they are doing. I would also look at if this happened around the world or if it happened just in the United States or just in parts of the United States.  Is their a reason behind this? So I would want to focus on that.


I would also look at the current world and see it this type of lynching still exists. Or do they do it a different way now? Or do they not do this at all?   How do the new people feel about what happened back then? Do they ignore their history? Do they think its normal? Or do they hate their ancestors for it? Why would this society still do something that I can’t understand? Is it religious? Or is it simple hate?  Have their targets changed?

lynching Ramallah


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