Forced Acculturation

In class we examined the outcomes of obligatory state education; the concept of “official” languages; and the prohibition of non-systemic symbols, among others. Of these systems (or another not mentioned here), in your opinion, which is the most effective? Why?
In your opinion, is acculturation positive? Should the concept of identity shift be celebrated?
De los sistemas de aculturación forzada que hemos estudiado, en tu opinión, ¿cuál es el más eficaz? ¿Por qué? (Hemos cubierto tales sistemas como educación estatal obligatoria; lenguas oficiales; prohibición de símbolos foráneos.)

9 Responses to Forced Acculturation

  1. Taylor Mitchell says:

    Acculturation can be a positive thing in many cases. When it comes to when the parent’s travel to an unfamiliar territory having the children keep their native language and culture is still a primary aspect that the new place still needs to recognize. In my opinion keeping their native language and culture can come out to be a positive thing when the children get older. Cultivating to a new culture and language as well could be a positive thing but also a negative thing. If those travelers don’t keep their native language and culture they can loose what native instinct and aspect they had. In other cases acculturation to the customs of the new territory could be positive and negative because they can celebrate things in both cultures but when it comes to being in school for children it can be tough during school. If the parents of the children don’t want to celebrate that territories holiday or celebration because it is not something that goes a long with their native holiday or celebration. For this it can cause confusion in the child and that child could feel left out of something that their friends are doing but they aren’t because it is against their native culture. Overall in my opinion acculturation is a positive thing because they the people who travel to a new place have experienced more and they can grasp different concepts that others who don’t move to a new place don’t experience or grasp.

  2. Jenna Dekovitch says:

    I think that acculteration is very positive. If an immigrant is coming into a new culture, they should have an understanding and appreciation for that culture and the society. I do not feel that the immigrant needs to adapt to every aspect of the culture, but they should have a general understanding of it and need to adapt to some parts. For example, immigrants from New Guinea migrating to America need to realize that burning “witches” alive is not going to be an acceptable decision. Acculturation helps the society blend and function properly, while still allowing individual beliefs, norms, morals, ideals, etc. I think that the most effective way to approach acculturation is through obligatory state education. It is best to start the process with youth. I think this is because youth tend to be more accepting and willing to change. Also, being in school, the children will be around other children who may be from different cultures. This helps to encourage open minds and acceptance about other cultures and ways of life.

  3. Tom Messina says:

    In my opinion the most effective of these systems is obligatory state education. Obligatory state education is the most effective because it is more effective to fully acculturate the youth through the school system because there you can teach them what you want them to learn. Also even though the United States has no official language, English is spoken and taught in the state school system. This effectively makes English the dominant language without it officially being so. I think acculturation is positive as long as it does not completely strip away ones former identity. I think it is very important to celebrate your old culture along with the new one formed in order to maintain a certain identity. I do not think identity shift should be celebrated because I believe its not something that should be either celebrated or voided but as part of a process of moving forward. Things in the past can’t always be hung on to; however, the important things will always remain.

  4. Jared Ruppert says:

    I believe that forced acculturation is a good thing to point. By this I mean that there are certain aspects of a society that I believe immigrants must be forced to adapt to for the better of the society as a whole. The United States being “multicultural” is a good example to explain this with because it is a country that “accepts” all cultures. The United States was set up for all people to have the ability to live here. Through the years it seems that the United States has become its own culture though. When immigrants come to the United States they have a reason and purpose for coming here and know the generally accepted culture of the United States. The United States has adapted into a fully developed nation. So when people migrate to the United States they have to develop into the culture that is set. English may not be the national language but to live here it is commonly needed. Road signs are set up for English speakers only, to have more jobs especially higher paid jobs English is needed to communicate with other employees and customers and without the ability to speak the language it would be very difficult to gain employment and make life very difficult. For these reasons I believe that certain aspects of culture must be forced upon immigrants. In class we discussed how it takes hundreds of years for a group of people to fully assimilate to the new culture, and because of this we must take into consideration the difficulties of those who already live in a culture adapting to those coming into their culture. The easiest way for forced acculturation is education because the younger the individual the easier it is to influence them into a culture. This would allow them to accept the ways the society and culture work without having to do it in the “real world” scenarios of working and being an adult. I believe that identity shift should be celebrated in terms of identity growth. By others changing aspects of their identity and growing into a multicultural individual they better themselves within the society that they migrated into.

  5. Leo Chen says:

    I think state-conducted, youth targeted, systematically organized and monitored educational system is always the most effective means to shape one’s “identity”. The educational system of our societies is a social construction, in order to unify one specific community with one single, or common goal and ideology. Again, it all started with the notion of Nationalism and the self-protective instinct of stay together with those who have shared entities, which can be language, sense of common nation, way of eating(knife & fork or chopsticks), anything basically, that distinguish us from others; Fundamentally they can all fall under Durkheim’s theory of “Totem”. Totem is a common property and a way of celebrating one community’s survival. And on this topic I just read about this one Newspaper article about Sports and Religion(Which alternatively is also an reflection of totem) that is very interesting and inspirational. http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/01/just-how-much-is-sports-fandom-like-religion/272631/

    With this idea of survival in mind, and as I have explained in previous responses, the process is well constructed through time and had become almost irreversible. It is so hard to change this pre-occupied idea in our collective minds. Also because that our living environment as a whole has been so conflicting and insecure, reality reenforce that idea and all kinds of ideologies and means to increase one community’s chance of survival had been invented and implemented. And here I would like to mention about the USA. America has been seen as a great example of cultural emersion, the whole idea of the “melting pot”, it embraces differences and respect opinions of minorities; On the other hand, this is a perfect example of our instinctive, unconscious mind process to adapt the potential evolution of our outer environment: Starting to eliminate the notion of the “singularity of culture” in order to differentiate oneself from others in order to stand out; And instead, America has been unconsciously absorbing different cultures, different entities, with the back up of its long-established power base. And this is crucial to the community’s chance of survival. America as we all know, only has a history of less than 300 years, previously as a colony; It’s chance of suvirval is not that great in comparison to some of other countries with firm culture background to ensure their continues, undetectable existence(China is a great example here. Having been occupied and managed by numerous foreign cultures, it still managed to maintain its own identity, and then later assimilated the foreign cultures in all cases). Then it seems to be a valid point to say why America has the motive to endorse different cultures — to create this one identity as “american culture” which includes all other cultures, with the foundation of one stronger and firm basic structure force(The WASPs culture); So it is hardly possible to break this society apart through cultural invasion(on the contrary, many countries has been accusing America of being culturally invasive).

    Back to the topic, in the whole arsenal of means to distinguish alien identities as well as reenforce one’s “unification”, State Education system in my opinion, is the most effective due to its targeting population. School has become one of the most significant factor as our societies’ social institutions.
    Teens, are the easiest for manipulation, both good and bad. A systematic training, can turn them into perfect, standardized screws that fits (rather) perfectly in the whole machine of the society. Many states or regimes had been using state education as a mean to mode their citizens into obedient from within, aggressively “patriotic” to the outside, kind of mobs.

    In my opinion, acculturation is a good thing. The point is, since it is a long-lasting social behavior that already exist deeply in our minds, we live in the consequence of it, plus, in many aspects we do really enjoy it. When we start to talk about diversity, about differences and the beauty in them, we are talking about what comes out of the process of acculturation; So in way, we get to appreciate different cultures and their individual works because of acculturation in our world, and without it and the differences it creates, we will all be sharing the exact same thoughts and living exactly the same, but at the same time our world would be just like Huxley described in the Brave New World(not a exact proper analogy, but the idea is similar).

    What we appreciate as beauty of differences, comes from acculturation. So I am all for it.

    Under the traditional concept of one’s culture and identity, identity shift should not be celebrated at all, and through out history, that is also what majority of the civilizations did to their citizens’ “Betrayal” — punishments.
    Under today’s concept, which is also my opinion, it should be celebrated, or at least people should be starting to try to understand and appreciate it. Then again, it will inevitably destroy the notion of allegiance, loyalty, and the whole foundation of nationalism, or maybe even the original idea of the “social contract”. I honesty do not know when can that be achieved, or in a way, is it at all a good thing?

  6. Chris Bilinski says:

    In my opinion, the most effective way of forcing acculturation lies in the combination of multiple techniques that focus on the characteristics of separate age groups. For example, offering citizenship to immigrants in exchange for acculturation is an extremely effective way of forcing adult immigrants to acculturate. This is clearly evident in the United States. Without passing a citizenship test in the United States, adult immigrants from less privileged countries have little chance of living the “American Dream” they migrated to experience. Prohibiting the celebration of non-systemic symbols or holidays, or actively ignoring their existence such as the U.S. does, is also an extremely effective way of forcing adolescent or young adult immigrants to acculturate. The most effective method of forcing acculturation upon youth is obligatory schooling. In this way, youth are forced to attend a school that speaks the primary language of the country for a large portion of their day. Obligatory schooling removes the youth from the native culture experienced around the house as well as the different language or languages used at home. With this change, the youth is forced to learn a different language and is surrounded by the symbols of the culture to which he or she is acculturating to. Isolating the youth in this area will force him or her to adopt a different culture for almost half of his or her waking hours. In my opinion, acculturation is certainly positive, but forcing it is not. I believe the right to live wherever one wishes to, practice whatever religion and express whatever culture one wishes is inalienable as long as it is not oppressing or harming another. However, I have always felt that if one is going to live amongst those of another culture willingly, that person also has an interest in learning more about that culture and should have a desire to be a part of it. But this does not make forced acculturation acceptable; the task of acculturating and the speed of acculturation should be left to the immigrant. In this way, the immigrant does not have to completely relinquish his or her cultural identity immediately upon migrating, and controls the pace at which he or she actively acculturates, if he or she wishes to. A shift in cultural identity is certainly an event to be celebrated and should grant a sense of pride to the individual, as long as the circumstances of that shift were positive and consented to by the individual.

  7. Jason Christie says:

    I think the most effective system is the concept of focusing on the youth of immigrants. The immigrants know that they are leaving behind their original culture, but the children, if any will have to grow up with limited influences from their parent’s cultures. Perhaps a language spoken at home as opposed to in school, maybe different foods, it doesn’t matter. The majority of influences will come from education brought from the new culture, and the minimal influences from their original culture will be chipped away with generations until the whole family is 100% a part of the new culture. The youth carry with them, a fresh mind. If the new culture, the one that the parents immigrated to is the primary one, to the youth, so too will it be. Acculturation can be both good and bad. In the case of America, Native Americans were near obliterated, while losing most of their culture and ways of life. While Americans gained a new country and a future. For the most part, it seems as if it is common sense almost. If you were to move to a new country, why would the new country want you to behave like you live in the old one? Identity shift, in the 21st century seems like it is something you know will happen. If you move to a new place, unless the culture is very similar to your last one, you can’t really expect to keep up your old customs and traditions for too long. Identity shift, is not a concept to be celebrated, but expected.

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