04 June 2014

29 May 2014

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26 May 2014

Assimilation or Acculturation?


Patel, Jay. “To Assimilate or Acculturate.” Interpolations: A Jornal of Academic Writing n. pag. Web. Spring 2012.

The essay, “To Assimilate or to Acculturate” stresses the impact that assimilation can have on an individual’s identity. The author of the essay uses his own experiences and the idea’s of others to support this idea in an essay he wrote for the Sociology Department at his college, The University of Maryland.  In his essay he focuses on both the positive and negative impacts that assimilation can have on an individuals identity.  Although he points out that in many ways it would be easier for all people to accept assimilation in order to be accepted by their peers who make up the cultural majority,  he also emphasizes the negative effects it can have on ones identity.  For example, he mentions how the loss of ones old cultural identity can make it much harder to relate to friends and family who may be living a lifestyle that still fully incorporates ones original cultural traditions and practices.  He even mentions that his assimilation had a negative influence on his relationships with his parents who seemed disappointed with how quickly he abandoned their Indian culture to accept the traditions and cultures of mainstream America. However, he also makes it clear in his writing that he greatly benefitted from assimilating because it allowed him to be accepted by his peers and that most young children from other cultures are in many ways forced to assimilate if they want to ever have a chance of blending in with the crowd.  For this reason, he mentioned that he had learned to start eating the typical American foods for lunch in order to not be criticized or to prevent him self from seeming different than everyone else around him.  The author of this essay explained that by assimilating in such a way, he was, “more comfortable being a part of society and no longer felt like an outsider.”  He was sick and tired of being asked questions or hearing rude comments whenever he brought in a traditional Indian snack such as “handvo” to lunch.  It was just easier for him to conform by bringing some typical American snacks such as cookies and sandwiches.
         This part of the essay about changing what he brings to lunch in order to fit in reminded of Jin Wang’s own experience in the graphic novel American Born Chinese. In the story, Jin was often ridiculed or asked rude disrespectful questions whenever he brought traditional Chinese foods for lunch. In fact, one punky kid even suggested that Jin was eating dog.  Just like the author of this essay, Jin felt that he would be better off if he abandoned his own cultural traditions in order to adopt the typical American ones.  To avoid being made fun of as well as trying to gain acceptance amongst his white peers, Jin started eating foods that were considered more “normal” for the typical American boy to eat for lunch. 
      This essay in many ways inspired my thesis for my next essay. For example, I plan on arguing that whenever someone is growing up in a family with a different cultural background than the typical white majority of the United States, that an individuals’ personal identity will benefit most from acculturating rather than assimilating.  The author mentions how in many ways as he grew older he wishes he could have retained more of his Indian culture that he was more in touch with as a child. The author explains how he gradually lost his fluency in two different native Indian languages that he used to be able to speak really well when he had lived in India with his grandparents.  Multiple times throughout his essay the author emphasizes that the youth and older generations view assimilation in many different ways.  The older generations try as much as possible to hold on to their own traditional beliefs and customs. The younger generations in the United States seem to be eager to fit in to become part of the crowd. They are too afraid to stand out and simply want to do whatever would be easier for them to make new friends.  However, the author talks about his own regrets of assimilating too quickly. In many ways, he feels that when someone assimilates that they are giving up what makes them unique and special when compared to everyone else.  As a result of his guilt over assimilating and losing much of his Indian cultural identity, the author discusses how he makes sure he does certain things such as attend temple regularly to be able to hold on to as much of his Indian cultural identity as possible. He points out that it might be best for people to acculturate instead in order to stand out from the crowd as an individual rather than being just like everyone else. 

         Last but not least, although the author of this essay and I agree that acculturation is the best choice for someone coming from a different culture into a new one, his essay also makes many strong claims against acculturation. He provides evidence that argues for both sides of this argument but definitely makes it clear that it is much easier and natural for young children to assimilate when they are entering a new society with a culture that is nothing like their own.  He stresses that many children who want to avoid feeling alienated from their new peers, attempt to blend in with the rest of society. Joining the major society gives immigrants an initial feeling of being welcome into the new nation.” Although, the author understands this idea better than most due to his own experiences, he clearly feels that acculturation is the better choice for all. 

Multicultural Writers and Their Search for Identity


Nicole Smith. “Multicultural Writers and the Quest for Identity”                   Article Myriad. n.p. Web. 13 May 2014.

    

         The article “Multicultural Writers and the Quest for Identity” was found on a free website known as ArticleMyriad.com.  This article analyzes the writings of three different multicultural writers who struggled with being comfortable with their own identities in different ways. Most importantly the article was able to successfully analyze the perspective of the writers’ quests for identity while growing up in white world even though all three writers came from different ethnic backgrounds. One writer was Langston Hughes, an African American writer and the piece of writing focused on was “Theme for English B”.  The second writer discussed in the article was Anna Lisa Raya, who was from a Mexican background. Nicole Smith focused on Raya’s “It’s Hard Enough Being Me” which discusses her struggles growing up as a Latina in a white dominated world.  The last writer discussed was Amy Tan who wrote about her childhood desire to be accepted by White Culture and her initial shame of her Chinese heritage, which she later learned to appreciate. The article basically sums up their writing while pointing out how hard; life could be for someone growing up in America when their own ethnicity or culture is not part of the dominant white culture.
           I chose to write about this article for three different reasons. First of all, I loved how it discussed Langston Hughes “Theme for English B”.  This brought me back to the beginning of the semester when we had to read it for class.  Secondly, I loved how it mentioned Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks”.  This was a piece of literature one of my former high school English teachers used to prepare my class for the regents. I remember certain lines from it as if it were yesterday.  As some one who hates my own nose, I can remember how I related to her when she said that she had dreamed of having a “slim new American nose”.  Being of mixed race, I had always hated my nose.  I remember that while growing up, I always wished I had a nose like the white actresses on television. I always felt that mine was too big.  It wasn’t until recently when my boyfriend told me that my nose was unique and one of the things that he had loved most about me that I started to feel less conscious about my own nose.  Lastly, I picked this article because it relates very much to the topic of my second essay for English class. 
         My second essay focused on how students from nontraditional (white) American cultures who moved to new schools where the majority of their classmates were white, would try to adapt to the new culture and cultures around them and as a result would often distance themselves from the cultures that they had originally known as their own.  In particular, the main character from American Born Chinese, Jin Wang, was ashamed to be Chinese American and felt that if he could distance himself from his Asian culture, that he would have a better chance of being accepted by his white peers.  The person that Jin wanted to impress most was actually a white girl named Amelia.  He was so self-conscious about his own identity that he even wished that he could take on a new identity as a white boy named Danny. He even wanted to grow out his hair like a popular white boy in the story because he was convinced it would improve his chances of getting the girl that he desired.  Jin’s struggle with his identity is very similar to the one that Amy Tan went through as a child.  In “Fish Cheeks” she said, “For Christmas I prayed for this blond-haired boy, Robert, and a slim new American nose.”  Just like Jin, she was deeply ashamed of her Asian culture and wished to be able to conform to the typical white American culture because she felt that she would have a better chance of capturing the heart of the white classmate she had a crush on.  The quote listed above also points out that she seemed to hate her own physical appearance. Just like Jin, somewhere in her upbringing she had been influenced to believe that if she looked more white than Asian, that she would be more liked by her peers. However, just like Jin at the end of American Born Chinese, Amy seemed to have learned to appreciate her own identity and cultural background. Lastly, Nicole Smith’s article also analyzed the writing and experiences of two other multicultural writers from two different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  Just like how Richard Rodriguez was able to add a different and unique perspective about the struggles of finding comfort with ones identity being from a Latin background, Anna Lisa Raya’s “It’s Hard Enough Being Me” adds an interesting spin on a young Latina’s experiences while on a quest for Identity in the United States.  The addition of Langston Hughes in the article gives readers yet another unique perspective of what it can be like growing up in a world where your own culture and ethnicity do not fit in with the majority of those around you.  

Random

Saw this on twitter and thought it was relevant. 

20 May 2014

feeder 3.2



 

Nelson, Sarah w. Educational Administration Quarterly. Feb2014, Vol. 50 Issue 1, p67-95. 29p

In this article they express the importance of language. the article informs you on how when cultures change also does language and that people must be opened minded to change; that by not wanting to take part you are then denying the growth of the change in a way. the article then goes on to address the fact the after years of testing with proves that people learn commutate better when able to use language which one is most comfortable with.

"Language, and relationships, which are at the heart of culturally responsive teaching, learning, and leading. Implications: More than 30 years of school reform efforts have failed to address inequitable educational outcomes. The results of this study suggest the ineffectiveness of reform efforts may be due in part to educators’ deficit beliefs and lack of cultural knowledge, two areas preparation and professional development programs must better address."

 This statement in the article connects to my essay because it clearly lets you know briefly how then connection between language and culture go hand and hand by elders and others who don't agree with the culture change is actually failing the youth because of the lack of the cultural knowledge.

Technology and Literacy (Feeder 3.2)

  Leung, Louis. Effects of Internet Connectedness and Information Literacy on Quality of 

               life. "Social Indicators Research", Vol. 98, No. 2 (2010), 273-290. Print.

                      
      The article, “Effects of Internet Connectedness and Information Literacy on Quality of life” emphasizes the importance of technological literacy along with the information literacy. Author has shown detailed research  to explain that how technological (i.e.internet) and informational literacies contribute to have a high quality of life. Information literacy includes skills like reading, ability to find out what kind of information is needed and how to use the required information in an effective way. But it is not enough, now-a-days, these skills should be applied on the use of technology as a tool to research, organize and to communicate information. As internet has made our life more connected ( Internet connectedness), therefore, we have more efficient and easy access to resources/information as compare to the system decades before. Moreover, the availability of softwares, word programs and online “valid” information about all the aspects have make it easy to learn about anything in a proper and easy way.



          While relating this article to my claim that one can become liberated and independent by reading and learning about the world, it shows that reading isn’t enough to learn and to be educated, these days. A person should have to be aware of technological literacy and inter connectedness to have a better quality of life. As it is said “Information Technology Literacy can be considered a 21st-century form of literacy in which researching and communicating information in a digital environment area as important as reading writing were in earlier decades” (#273). It shows one should’ve to be literate about technology to have a successful life in these days, unlike Marjane who found her way to liberation only by reading intensive books about socialists and politicians, she didn’t had to use technology that much because there’s a huge difference in social and educational environment now as comparing to decades before. Also  in Hunger of Memory, it could’ve been more easy for Richard to socialize and find his identity by using internet, communicating with people,and having an easy access to learn English. Because it's shown in article that “the internet’s potential (via home internet access) to inform informationally disadvantaged or low-income families to experience powerful emotional and psychological transformations in identity, self esteem, personal empowerment,a new sense of confidence, and social standing or development of personal relationships in the internet” (#278). in other words, having an easy access to solutions and widespread connection by communicating can reduce the struggle with personal issues.