If my current anthropology instructor is to be believed, An effective anthropologist is kind of a terrible human being. In order to properly analyze and consider what's happening in a culture and with its people, you must first divorce yourself from judgment and bias of any kind. This is called objectivity, and presumably springs from the ability to turn oneself into an object. This complete abandonment of what is seen to be entirely cultural bias requires an additional commitment we've not discussed in class yet and is a bit broader than the simple Western conception of "keeping an open mind." I shall illustrate.
Picture your mind as a home, open for a party. Your own ideas are already there, comfortably slumped in overstuffed chairs, feet up on the marble table-top, sipping brandy in front of the fire, reviewing the books of your memory. They've eaten many of the snacks and for some reason play the same songs over and over again. Eventually, other ideas will arrive, and the door is open to them - after all this is a party, and we often benefit from our exposure to others as a major component of growth. But let's say that after "Gay Marriage is Just Marriage" and "Life In Outer Space Might Exist" arrive, "Cold Fusion" shows up. Okay, you'd let her in. I'm totally letting in "Bigfoot" even though we don't get along, because he's a lot of fun and other people like him. Same with "Communism" and with "Religion Provides Solace for Some." But what about "It's Okay to Place Dollar Amounts on Brides?" Do you want to talk to her? You might, but the conversation's going to bore you pretty fast. What about when you get to "Forced Child Labor" or "Female Circumcision" or "Child Sex Workers?" I don't know about you, but this simply isn't that kind of party.
So I would make a bad anthropologist, because I eventually ride right up to stuff that I cannot help but judge, and I can't call that a bad quality in a person - a person who judges nothing must be the opposite side of the coin from sociopath, right? I think there's one of those in my class right now, actually. I don't know her name, but she's pretty and blonde and covered in sorority stuff and postures herself as a "Rebel Traditionalist." She doesn't call herself that, but you know the type; crusading for traditional values and backwards ideas because no one else will crusade for them anymore 'now that the whole world's going to hell.' She argued once in class that men make better leaders than women - biologically, based on emotions and hormones and stuff.
That's not what ruined our non-existent relationship, though; she and I got into it in class last week when she asserted that it was wrong of us to judge people in other countries who push their kids into illegal sex work "because they might have reasons of their own." I'm sure they do, actually - everyone's reasons are their own reasons unless they have no minds of their own to begin with - but I don't care. If you live in a culture where people have sex with children and people feel justified into getting their kids into that business, then your culture needs work. ALL cultures need work - we're all fucked up. But I don't believe that everyone is solely a product of their culture, can't see their culture anymore than a fish sees water, and should be able to justify whatever they want based on a bullshit bandwagon culture.
And so I would make a bad anthropologist.