Thursday, July 12, 2007

Assimilation Vs. American Capitalism

I was reading an article in a local newspaper on terrorist attacks in London. The article brought up the point that Britain even though they have a smaller population tend to have more terrorist attacks than the United States. They attributed this to the cultural differences of the two countries. Britain’s immigrants often keep more of their native culture, which seems to lead them to feeling ostracized. In America, immigrants are taught to become “Americanized.”

Is being Americanized really culture or is it the pursuit of the American Dream, which is Political, Financial and Religious Freedom.

For my international readers do you have these same discussions with people “assimilating” to being “more white” or more like the majority?

To get a “chocolate” perspective on this topic I got the help of my “chocolate” friend (Because I have chocolate friends) Brandon, author of Intellegent Ignorance.

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Assimilation

Defined loosely, assimilation is the act of giving up ones cultural background, practices and beliefs and adopting those of the dominant culture. It is what America is known for. We are the “melting pot” (or salad bowl) of the world, where immigrants from every corner of the globe come in search of a new life and submerge themselves in OUR culture. Right?

Ummm… I’m not so sure about that. Besides, what culture would they adopt? Is there truly an American culture? On the contrary, America is a place where you can come and freely and proudly celebrate your individuality.

Most immigrants that come to this country tend to maintain their way of life. Though Christianity is the primary religion here, very rarely will you find a devout Muslim from the Middle East convert to Christianity when his feet hits US soil. The only difference is that they are able to take advantage of capitalism in its purist form.

Okay… so if the active pursuit of capitalism is what we are assimilating to, why do some people view assimilating so negatively?” Don’t we all desire financial stability? The customs and culture that make up the American brand of capitalism were established by the dominant culture. Since they created the system, “getting ahead” in America requires playing the game according to the established rules, no?

When you think about it, immigrants do not usually have a problem grasping this concept. Most groups come to America with their families, maintain their way of life, and actively pursue the American Dream.

On the other hand, ethnic minorities that are already here have a different take on it. Being that ethnic minorities in America (African Americans, Latinos etc.) have had a history of being discriminated against and shut out by the dominant culture, whether it be socially or economically, many have been hard-wired to view anything established by the dominant culture as negative; and to many in those communities, striving to obtain the acceptance and possessions of the dominant culture is to sell out and to betray your culture.

Sure, assimilating may be a bit harder for ethnic minorities due to lack of access and opportunities afforded to those of the dominant culture, but does that mean that we shouldn’t try? If you want those opportunities, in most cases, assimilating is a requirement.

Many people don’t understand this concept and feel that playing the game is to turn your back on your culture. Is that true? Is it possible to maintain your cultural identity and assimilate into American capitialism?

20 comments:

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

The reason why we have more terrorist attacks in the UK is because we are closer to their country than America is (and easier to get into). I don't think it has anything to do with 'conforming'.

Hey, I'm an Aussie in the UK for eleven years and I still haven't let go of my religion of drinking beer and having BBQ's!!!! ;P

Jim said...

heyyyy dumbass
we are supposed to ask the questions


u give the answers

Jim said...

Christian activists briefly disrupted a Hindu invocation in the U.S Senate on Thursday, marring a historic first for the chamber and showing that fundamentalism is present and shouting in the U.S too.

Invited by the Senate to offer Hindu prayers in place of the usual Christian invocation, Rajan Zed, a Hindu priest from Reno, Nevada, had just stepped up to the podium for the landmark occasion when three protesters, said to belong to the Christian Right anti-abortion group Operation Save America, interrupted him by loudly asking for God’s forgiveness for allowing the ”false prayer” of a Hindu in the Senate chamber.

“Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight,” the first protester shouted. “This is an abomination. We shall have no other gods before You.” (Times of India)

That this article uses the term "Christian activists" to describe these folks, disturbs me. This was politically-motivated zealotry on display, not a true defense of the Gospel. Contrary to the opinions of some, the United States is not a Christian theocracy but a secular nation founded upon Judaeo-Christian & Enlightenment ideals. There's a notable difference between the two which is why we find such things as this bit from Article VI:

no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States

Andrew The Asshole said...

Vivi voom - hey we american drink and have bbqs too!! Where is my plate!!

Jim - thats a great point... now as far as our founding, genicide and slavery what part of the christian faith is that?

Jim said...

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JustMeWriting said...

to assimilate or not to assimalte...that is the question!!!

well, I say...you most certainly can assimilate into this 'great' american dream without losing your identity, but it all depends on WHY you choose to do so. If it's done solely as recognition of a necessity of progression then assimilate away...we can't really fight the battle if we've locked ourselves out of the arena... you've got to get yourself in there GOOD in order to be fruitfull within your own culture.

Then there are those who assimilate as a form of escape from their cultures...to those...also assimilate away...can't have you bad apples hanging around spoiling the whole lot.

Lil-Lolita said...

Nice Blog

Jim said...

i want to settle in america coz my girl lives in california

but she fears for me coz of my attitude

says the americans will crucify me
will they Andrew ?

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Jim said...

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Posted by Jim at 11:28 PM 0 comments

am i right Andrew ?

Anonymous said...

Michael Moore's latest film Sicko is a scalding indictment of the American health care system which has been exploited by rapacious medical insurance companies and Big Pharma. You can't help feeling sick after watching the movie. Moore's account shows that the world's most advanced country is letting its corporations suck the life of its citizens.

Moore examines the system in Canada, France, Britain and Cuba, all of which have free, universal health care, to humiliate US political leadership, most of which he shows is in the pay of big corporations. But as far as Maggi Grace is concerned, Moore has missed out on one story closest to her heart. In 2004, Grace arranged for her friend Howard Staab, like her a North Carolina resident, to visit India for a heart surgery. Like some 50 million Americans, Staab, an otherwise healthy carpenter, did not have health insurance. A routine exam revealed a serious heart problem. Worse news followed fixing it without insurance cover would cost $200,000.

That's when Grace began hunting on the Internet for a way out and discovered India. Staab and she came to Delhi in September that year and got the mend for less than $20,000, with a trip to Taj thrown in.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/American_Sicko_can_reach_India/articleshow/2206011.cms

Ticia said...

Good post!!!

dcsavvystar said...

Good Post Andrew.... I agree with JustMe "If it's done solely as recognition of a necessity of progression then assimilate away"....

those of us who are minorities who take this view and NOT turn our backs on our cultures are also those who lead the so called double life. One in the workplace/environment and one around the group that Intelligence Ignorance referred to viewing the anything majority related as negative. we have an equal understanding of both.

Again, great topic, Andrew.

CapCity said...

i like the info. that anon shared! maybe that's the REAL American way to "assimilate" - freedom of choice = seek out best value, have the freedom to get healthcare & any OTHER needs taken care of in OTHER countries AND tour the world while DOING so....hmmmmm...

jim is funny - u're supposed to answer OUR questions. LOL! i guess that's what makes him an A-Hole, Jim - he don't follow his own rules. LOL!

Andrew The Asshole said...

Jim - They haven't crusified me yet, but primarily because I am a character and not on tv or radio.
Size matters whether she loves you are not. Also length of time is important too.

JustMe - would you say that there is a thin line that minorities dance between mainstream and their "own culture?" At what point are they trying to leave their "culture"

Yes Jim is an ASShole that doesn't follow the rules and I do like him for that

Anonymous - I haven't seen the movie, but I like I say through many post on similar topics its about money and marketing. American companies will not market a surgery in another country. Politicans aren't going to vote to make it available, because corporations give them money to get re-elected. Its not happening. We will manufacture overseas so we can have a higher profit margin, but not drugs nor surgery.

Dc - So for a minority to keep it real they have to choose or choosing to live a completely "corporate" life being a sell out or is assimulation more of a class issue?

Cap - Choosing the profitable way is capitalism at its core

Jim said...

DAMN
u cud have lied for me
my girl did

Andrew The Asshole said...

Jim and Every Other guy - yeah your girl must really love you. every woman needs 3 men. The one they love, the one that has great sex, and the great conversationalist (usely gay) Then the trick is making sure those 3 guys never meet!!!

Anonymous said...

Some level of assimilation is the rule of thumb in most capitalist democracies. It is what it is.

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