Sunday, April 25, 2010

“No one has ever suggested that a single nation should range over the world like a knight-errant, protecting democracy and ideals of good faith, and tilting like Don Quixote.”
- Ohio Republican Senator Robert A. Taft, 1939

In the terms of globalization many of us think about diversity and toleration: mostly positive stuff. We allude to “the melting pot”, we laud the prospect of US liberalism, and we pull examples from all the diversity in the US culture. While these observations are undeniable, I think we are missing a crucial area in the discussion about globalization: the rest of the globe. So in this journal entry, I will be talking about the type of globalization that is synonymous to what professor of modern history, Reinhold Wagnleitner, calls “Cocacolonizaiton”.
The concept of cocacolonization is simple; it is the spread of American culture. In the recent years, with the aid of business interests and the internet and other types of media and communications, there has no doubt been a spread of Americanism (if this is too specific then western culture would do) in the globe. This spread is apparent when you see people of other cultures wearing western style clothing, going to fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, living in western style homes, etc. In this sense, the US does not seem to be the only one in “the melting pot”, but rather the whole world has now become a melting pot.
If we continue to use the melting pot analogy, I think globalization becomes problematic if we consider who is choosing the ingredients to the pot. It seems that not all cultures become accepted in the new over- culture. People seems to neglect the other and they seem to shun and discriminate against those who are not conforming to the new westernized world. Therefore, those who choose which culture is worth putting in the mix are also those who choose which ones should be left out. Whether the person or thing that makes this decision is good or bad or whether the decision itself is intended to do good or evil, the practice of exclusion is evident in globalization. For example in America, Native, hippie, “red-neck”, etc cultures are cultures, even if in the mixing pot, that are looked down upon (at least to the general public). These cultures represent, as postmodernist authors call, “the other”. In the global scale, “the other” points to the nations or groups of people that do not conform to western culture. Preservation of tradition becomes an object for the entertainment industry. Preserving traditional practices is considered old fashion. These are just minor stuff that globalization brings. The major implication of globalization is that the non-conformists become neglected. If you analyze global trends and economy, you will see that only the countries that are within the western frame of thinking are the ones considered allies and the ones who are well off. Countries such as China (at the time before they started westernizing), countries in the Middle East, Japan (at a time before they were forced to adopt westernization), and countries in Africa are all examples of how those who do not conform to the “globalization” are left for the worse.
My argument therefore is not whether or not globalization is good (I think KFCs around the world, although not the healthiest thing, are pretty good things, definitely saved me in China). My argument is that the prospect of singular cultural promotion opens up the possibility of discrimination.

1 comment:

  1. It seems like that every journal you post contains an epigraph of some sort, but whatever ups your word count I guess.
    I can't really say that I disagree with your argument but that is because I believe that your argument is self evident, because do we all not know from experience that in every culture there are certain stereotypes and behaviors and topics that are all frowned upon. To say that this will happen on a global scale where Westernization is the singular culture is not anything controversial. By the way, I too frequently visit KFC whenever I'm in China.