Monday, March 19, 2012

Essay Question

Describe how the Stanford Prison Experiment relates to the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. How do you think you would act if you were a guard in either of these situations?

What happened during both the Stanford Prison Experiment and at Abu Ghraib are examples of the power of the situation. This demonstrates that these situations do not result because of "a few bad apples" but rather power that roles have. One former prisoner during the Stanford Prison Experiment said that the role of the guard lends itself to sadism. So once in that role, if there aren't any rules or supervision, a person acting as guard will become sadistic towards the prisoner.

If I were a guard in that situation I do not know what I would do. I would like to believe that I would not become sadistic and torture prisoners, that I would be fair and kind. But both these prison examples show that people who were previously model citizens became cruel once in the role of prisoner.

One thing that I disagree about in regards to the torture at Abu Ghraib is the lack of punishment the the guards received after they were discovered. Despite the power of the situation, some who has tortured another human being to their death should receive time in jail. I support this with the fact that often times people who become killers or rapists do so because they were treated cruelly as children and did not develop empathy. Yet, they still receive the same punishment as if they were raised in a healthy environment. I would hope that if I were a guard in that situation that I would be punished to an appropriate degree in which reflects the crime committed.

1 comment:

Sam Ryser said...

I think this question would be good for the midterm because it would allow people to expand on something we learned in class in a more personal level. Instead of something that would have a right or wrong answer people could apply what we learned in class to to their own experiences, thus allowing them to have a greater and more significant understanding of the material. I really think that this is the best way to learn something. in my own experience, attempting to drill facts into my head never works unless i can relate to those facts, or apply them to my own knowledge and experience. nice work heidi.