Category Archives: Discrimination

Religious Discrimination

The Overlooked “-ism”

         The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion – the government cannot stop you from believing one thing or disbelieving another. No one disputes this, and the right to your own thoughts is considered by many to be our most valuable right. After all, without our own opinions, what else do we have? If this is really true, why do we always overlook violence and hatred based on religion overseas? And the slowly increasing intolerance and persecution of Christianity in our own country?

For instance, a worldwide study conducted two to three years ago found that 100,000 Christians are killed for their faith every year. The Arab Spring revolutions that occurred since then can only have exacerbated matters. And it is not only in the Middle East – although they are the worst offenders – where Christians and other religions face oppression. There is the Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, the government killings of over a million in Sudan and South Sudan, and China, home to one of the largest and fastest-growing Christian populations in the world (Black). How many people in America even heard about any of this?

Which brings us back here to the United States. While we don’t face as dramatic an issue as thousands of deaths per year, intolerance towards Christians is growing at an alarming rate – and freedom of religion is becoming freedom from religion. For years, I have had to deal with “jokes” about Catholics being pedophiles, hearing that I believe in fairy tales, that my religion is mythology, my faith is false hope, and hearing that all Christians are hateful and insensitive. And at the same time, the government is mandating that we Christians must defer on issues like abortion and healthcare coverage of contraception, even if it violates our basic religious beliefs.

But the issue here is not about legislation. It’s about faithism, which deserves the same status as racism and sexism. We say we fight for equality and civil rights, but we continue to overlook atrocities committed around the world and treat people unjustly at home. There is no difference between religious discrimination and racism or homophobia, and it’s about time people stopped acting like there is.

— Joshua

Work Cited:  Black, Conrad. “Global Persecution of Christians.” Nationalreview.com. National Review Online, 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

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Discrimination

Discrimination is something that most individuals run into at some point in their lives. Discrimination can be found at school, in public places and so forth. Discrimination is defined as the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs, rather than on individual merit. Generally discrimination tends to be a negative, as people are treated poorly for being different — being of a different race or religion, being part of a different social class and so on. One could be agitated that another person is from Canada, a country that they may not like, and said person could alienate that person, or treat them poorly because of it. Discrimination can be considered similar to racism and sexism, as both attempt to put down others for being different and for not conforming to ones expectations.

Discrimination is a substantial problem in our society, as it is very damaging to the emotional well being of others, as well as being completely unjust and unreasonable. No one person should be discriminated against because they have different interests, different beliefs or have a different skin color. A potential solution to discrimination is tolerance. If we all accept that others are different than us, and we can put up with these differences, there’s no reason to act negatively towards others. While discrimination is very easily preventable, it has continued to exist since the dawn of human interaction, and unfortunately will continue.

— Jake

Assimilation

An amnesiac process through which I forsake my own tradition to subscribe to another condition

 

Segregating me and my ideology although it is not just intellectual, it is the physical separation of two groups of people based on workplace, residence, and my social calendar forever imposed by the dominant group

 

Stereotype everything about me based on what you see from everything and everyone else BUT me, the individual breathing in front of you

 

Immigration was our family’s blessing but now it might as well be the curse although we have traveled far to get away from what our homeland failed to promise

 

Maybe we will never be like them; it is not as easy when you look this way

 

Intricacies that made us unique will fade away as we add color to new tapestries; ones that we did not sew though our blood will trickle in ruby splashes on the silk

 

Last week they spit in my face instead of at the spackled concrete of blackened gum and cigarette butts because the language was not there

 

American is what I want to sound like

 

Tolerance will simply not be enough because you need acceptance; acceptance of who I am, where I came from, what I speak, how I think, and how I feel.

 

In dreams I am another star in your constellation, we are needed to compose an astrological shape; a mythology that coexists fingertip to fingertip, heart to heart, synapse to synapse with beautiful embellishments

 

Oh how I seek the vision in the sandman’s hymns of sapphire tears nourishing gardens, ruby floods settling into scars, emerald waltzes dancing in time

 

Never forgetting to lend a thought that we all came from somewhere and that somewhere must never be severed

— Alek

Racial Profiling

I was enjoying time with my friends playing video games. Before I knew it, hours had passed by. The only reason I noticed how long I had been playing was because the phone rang and it was my mom. “Michael, where is the Hummer” asked my mom. “Parked outside my friend’s house,” I responded. “No it isn’t. It has been towed!” Apparently, while I was visiting my friend, who lived in a predominantly white neighborhood, a neighbor didn’t recognize who I was and called the police to complain about an unknown black guy who had parked his vehicle outside her home. Based upon that complaint, the police towed my mother’s legally parked car. Besides this particular incidence, I’ve been pulled over multiple times for no reason and my car has been searched for drugs without any record of any police report to support that I was ever pulled over. I have also been stopped and patted down while walking down the street to the corner store down from my house. For those that do not look like me, a young black man, it may be hard to believe that racial profiling occurs but because of what I have experienced at such a young age, I know that it does occur and it occurs more often than people think. One police officer even had the nerve to tell me, “I’ve seen you drive a Cutlass, a Camaro, a Hummer and now a Corvette, so I felt the need to pull you over.” There have been so many recent examples of needless deaths of young black men due to over excessive force of police officers and there is reason for concern.

Racial profiling is defined as the pattern of categorizing people and predicting behavior such as the probability of engaging in illegal activity based upon race or ethnicity. The American Civil Liberties Union’s website stated that racial profiling occurs every day, in cities and towns across the country and results in humiliating interrogations, searches and even police brutality leading to death.

Trayvon Martin in Florida and Michael Brown in Missouri are recent examples of controversy where some form of racial profiling may have been used to track or approach the now deceased. As a young black man, I am concerned that shooting to kill may be the first thought process instead of considering other alternatives. There are multiple videos on the internet that support police officers or those acting in the name of the law who have abused their authority. I am not saying that all police officers are bad or that all young black men are innocent but stealing should not equate to death and other forms of restraint such as tear gas, or wounding to prevent mobility could be used instead of blatantly killing.

My uncle was driving in Parma, MI and was pulled over by a state trooper because there was a domestic fight between a black man and white woman. The black guy left the house (by foot) running south. My uncle was driving in a car on the north side of Parma near the highway. So….why was he pulled over? The judge could not justify the state trooper’s reasoning either, which is why my uncle won a case of discrimination against the state trooper.

The problems we have when racial profiling occurs are that innocent individuals are labeled and targeted. Racial profiling isn’t constitutional or fair. No one should be pointed out of a group because of their skin tone or cultural background. Everyone should have a fair and equal opportunity to live from day to day without fear of being arrested, beat to death or killed because a cop “thought” he or she was suspicious.

The solution to ending racial profiling should start with the law leading by example and not being the primary individuals who are racial profiling. The individuals who uphold the law shouldn’t be the ones who are put above the principles of the law either. Every individual should be held accountable for their actions, no matter their position in society or what occupation they hold. Anytime something suspect occurs, authority should investigate and execute through a fair trial.

How would you feel if you were in the store with the intent to find an item that you needed and the store owner or worker was suspiciously watching your every move or attempted to secretly follow you as you made your way through the store?   Would you feel like you needed to support their business by spending your hard earned money there? Personally, I would leave the store and not patronize the store anymore. I would likely share my unpleasant experience with others as well. The same should occur with situations of racial profiling. People need to speak out and band together to hold these authority figures accountable for illegally labeling young black men or anyone for that matter. People must continue to demand that anytime this happens something be done and ultimately, even if man fails to bring resolution, justice will prevail in God’s eyes.

Below are several links to videos that identify evidence of racial profiling and police

brutality:

Racial profiling experiment

Shopping while black in Alabama

Racial profiling of black driver

Police officer beat wheelchair bound person

Cop tells driver, “you’re black.”

How did you feel as you watched the videos? Do you believe that the police were in the wrong? Do you think that the “victim” could have handled the situation better and/or prevent what happened to them?

Below is a link to a video that expresses how fed up with the injustice of racial profiling and police brutality people are. The lyrics are a little pungent but it thoroughly outlines the frustration of how mothers, fathers, siblings, family and friends feel when they lose loved ones needlessly.  

Criminals with permission song/video

I don’t necessarily agree with everything (meaning all of the lyrics and/or use of profanity) in this song but I can feel the pain and I am truly concerned with the overall situation in the world today with racial profiling and police brutality. There is a trend especially with young black men being treated unfairly and killed without rationale.

In summary, racial profiling is real. It occurs every day and sometimes leads to police brutality. Parents of color have to make their children aware of this day-to-day situation to protect them from becoming victims. I have experienced racial profiling and I know many others who have as well. The examples of videos illustrate racial profiling as well as police brutality. I encourage all to continue to be aware and to speak up to promote that those who abuse power be punished for their actions.

— Michael

Color-Blind Privelege

Thank goodness racism is over. Over the last couple decades we’ve all come to our senses and put this issue behind us. Since the Civil Rights moment took place in the  mid-sixties, things have really changed in terms of equality between the races. Sure, it took a while for everyone to settle down after these laws were passed, but over the years we’ve managed to forget about color, race, and ethnicity. Now everyone is on the same level playing field, we all have equal chances and opportunity in life not matter what background we come from. If you look around, you can see that there are many more people of color in show business, higher level positions in the work place, and legal officials. The president of the United States of America is African American, how much more equal can we get?  So as long as you work hard enough, and strive to be successful, nothing can hold you back!

Really???? Many who read the previous paragraph might agree. In this day in age people don’t take into consideration what race people are and they believe that everyone has a fair chance of becoming successful in life. Heck, they may even have a close friend that is black so they really understand the relationships between the races. Really??? What they don’t understand is they are suffering from a condition known as “color-blind privilege.” Unfortunately, racism is alive and well in this country.

“Color-blindness comes from a lack of awareness of racial privilege conferred by Whiteness.” (1) White people don’t understand what people of color endure on an everyday basis. Overt racism is easily recognized but the subtle differences in interactions and opportunities aren’t seen by people wearing the blinders. Having color-blind privilege makes you feel comfortable, you don’t have to worry about addressing racial issues because to you, there are no such things. You don’t have to feel guilty for any inequality. You don’t have to talk about it.

When you are really suffering from color-blind privilege you may even believe ‘blacks hold themselves back, not racism’ or ‘blacks need to pull themselves up from the bottom like everyone else.’ In fact, these thoughts can lead to reverse racism. White people may believe that people of color have more opportunities because of real, or suspected, racial quotas in hiring practices and entry to colleges. They may believe that people of color are getting more financial benefits because of their race. When a white student doesn’t get accepted to college and a person of color is accepted, in part, because of affirmative action, they and others may believe it is discriminating against white people. All of this leads to more anger and issues between the races.  In this sense being privileged doesn’t mean you are a millionaire or live in the lap of luxury, it has more to do with day-to-day living.  To understand privilege, take the following quiz and see how many questions you can answer with a “yes.”

  1. If you can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match your skin.
  2. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  3. I can turn on the TV. Or open the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
  4. When I am told about our nation heritage or about “civilization” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  5. I can enroll in class at college and be sure that the majority of my professors will be of my race.
  6. I can go into a supermarket and find the food I grew up with.
  7. I can take a job or enroll in a college with an affirmative action policy without having my co-workers or peers assume I got it because of my race.
  8. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, getting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
  9. I learned about my ancestor’s history in school.
  10. I can go on vacation and easily find a place to cut my hair.
  11. I can loiter in wealthy neighborhoods
  12. I can complain about racism.

Most white people, myself included, can answer “yes” to all of those questions. But for African Americans, they might be able to say “yes” to a few,  but more likely to none at all. These are just the very few of the subtle differences that aren’t seen by people with color-blind privilege.

An example of unseen racism relates to education in our country. Eighty percent of the public school teachers in America are white, while forty percent of the student population are children of color. There was a young mother that went in and talked to her son’s teacher about a time-line of civilization they had made in class. She had a concern that they didn’t teach about where African Americans fit into the time-line. The teacher responded, “I ‘m just following the curriculum.” In essence the teacher was shifting the blame of racial insensitivity and taking no personal responsibility for including the African American students. In a separate incident the same mother asked for advice on how to help her youngster with a difficult project. The teacher responded by offering up less difficult work to make it easier on him. The mom refused. She wondered if the teacher thought her son didn’t have the intelligence to do the project just because he was black.
Another example from my own family involves my grandpa.  He’s an African American with a Masters Degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan. In his job, he excelled to the upper levels of one of our State government departments. On two separate occasions he was denied access to the upper level positions because of his race. In the first one, one of the white leaders pulled him aside and advised him not to apply for a higher level position because it “wouldn’t be right for the organization.”  In the second potential promotion he was deemed the most qualified but denied the position. In this case an external organization (made up of all white men) pressured the state to promote someone else so they did not have to work with an African American.  Although both of these situations were resolved and he was ultimately given the promotion, this doesn’t eliminate the lack of respect, unfairness and assault to his dignity that will be with him forever. Examples like this could go on for more pages then anyone would want to read.

Although most white people do not see themselves as racist or don’t see the day-to-day racism that occurs, their own real blind spot is not seeing there own privilege and viewing the world through their white lens.

How do we move forward from here and truly work towards eliminating racism? Maybe we should follow the advise of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts who said “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race, is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” If it were only that simple!  In researching this topic, the best solution I discovered was to change color-blindness to multiculturalism. This ideology acknowledges, highlights and celebrates our differences.  The three main actions of this solution are:  1. recognizing and valuing differences, 2. teaching and learning about differences, and 3. fostering personal friendships and organizational alliances. (1)

My hope for the future is that we all take the blinders off and we really make significant strides to eliminate racism. I hope when my children are learning about racism and interracial relations, it will be as history and they will not be learning about this in the present tense.

Quiz questions adapted from: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/7-things-i-can-do-that-my-black-son-cant-99408985077.html and http://www.nacurh.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/BeadsOfPrivilege_SamanthaHyland.pdf)

(1) Williams, Monica. “Culturally Speaking.” Psychologytoday.com, December 27, 2011.  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/colorblind/201112/colorblind-ideology-is-form-racism

–Xia

 

Social Class

The United States social class system is broken down into five classes; the upper class, lower class, middle class, working class and the poor. Social inequality is ever present with the vast differences between these classes.

There are endless examples of the differences between upper class and the other lower classes. Members of the upper class are able to live extravagantly, having the best of everything. They are able to take vacations, buy the most expensive houses, cars, clothes, etc.   They can afford medical care and prescriptions. Members of the lower classes simply do not have these same luxuries.  The members of the poor class are often faced with having to choose between prescriptions or food. They often don’t have cars or adequate housing. Vacations and higher education are dreams, not realities. Members of the poor are happy to have clothes that are often used. Members of the working class often live paycheck to paycheck which can result in overdue bills and late fees. They have little to no savings. Members of the upper middle class are comfortable. They are not rich, but they can live comfortably and easily afford the costs of living as well as living within their means.

According to the US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, in 2011, 32.1 percent of Americans were members of the working class (PRB.Org).

According to the US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, in 2011, 32.1 percent of Americans were members of the working class (PRB.Org).

The size of this class continues to grow. My family is a working class family. I can tell you from my own personal experiences that the everyday struggle is real. My husband and I both work, yet are struggling to make ends meet. The only extra spending we have is for our college classes. Housing, food for our family of four, utilities, insurance and gas literally takes everything we have. We are not able to save for higher education for our children. If something unexpected happens, such as having to have car repairs or having to replace our hot water heater, it sets us back for weeks, sometimes months. Extracurricular activities for our kids are considered a luxury.

Discrimination has always been present in our country. It is most often thought of as minorities being denied social participation or human rights. On employment applications, we see statements telling us they will not discriminate against one’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin. I think it can be argued that social class can be added to those statements. I believe members of all classes are stereotyped. For example, members of the poor class are assumed to be uneducated, lazy and sometimes unworthy. Members of the upper class are assumed to be educated, motivated and important.

I thought this was an accurate depiction of our social classes here in the United States.

I thought this was an accurate depiction of our social classes here in the United States.

Look at the differences here. Clearly the bottom of the picture is our two lower classes. Notice the difference in clothing, lighting and cleanliness. It’s all bare bones if you will. Then you have the upper middle class dressed nice and neat with smiles on their faces. The one guy has a laptop and a cool lamp. Then the upper level is posh. All decked out in gold, huge smiles on their faces, looking like ‘fat cats’. The folks climbing the ladder cannot be ignored either. They are both trying their best to climb to the top. And what about the man falling on the left? To me, this looks as though he tried to climb to the top, only to be knocked down. Perhaps this artist does not believe in social mobility, lol!

Upper class is in no way the majority group, but it is definitely the dominant group. It is the rich that make the rules for all. Members of the upper classes are allowed a great number of privileges. Oddly enough, celebrities get free clothes and jewelry as the designers see that as advertisement. Celebrities are the last folks needing free clothes! Members of the upper class typically have high credit scores so they receive lower interest rates on mortgages, insurance, loans and credit cards. These are just some of the privileges the dominant upper class group receives. There are countless others.

At the end of the day, we are all human. We all want to live a good life and to be able to provide for our families. Those of us that are parents worry about our kids. We all have bills that must be paid on time. We all love to be entertained. Despite having all of these things in common, our social class seems to define who we are as individuals. Our social class is a label, one that creates an unnecessary divide between us as humans.

–Kim

Discrimination

School News PicSo, imagine for a second, you are a high school student. You have joined an after school club that broadcasts the weekly school news. You come to every meeting and work hard on getting footage for the news and weather and then, after you have spent about 15 hours of collecting this, you give it to the editor and they say “great job, hope to see you on broadcast day”. But before you go you ask if you can host the weather, and the editor says “of course”. So you come in on Friday, all pumped to do the weather and you see another guy, that you didn’t think was even in the club getting set up, you ask the editor what’s going on, you are then informed that they are in the club even though they haven’t shown up to any meeting or put any work into preparing the broadcast at all and that they are going to host the weather. Then when you confront the editor and say that she told you that you could host the weather, they say “oh, that’s right, well, he’s all set up right now, could you wait until next Friday”, and you say yes because you don’t want to cause trouble. This scenario repeats itself until you bring the editors actions to the head of the club (the librarian) and they let you host the weather one time, and not again. Coincidentely, the guy that has been taking the weather hosting from you is the son of the mayor, and the broadcast club is full of his friends who also happen to have parents that work with the mayor. This is a perfect example of discrimination; you aren’t friends with anyone in the broadcast club, so you don’t get to participate on broadcast day, no matter how much work you put into it.

Workplace_discrimination_gettyThis situation is similar in the workplace as well. You have just finished your master’s in bio engineering and have a near perfect GPA of 3.9; you are ready to find a lab to work in. You go around to 4 different labs and over the course of 9 months, you get declined from all of them. They say that they aren’t taking on any new engineers at this point, but what they really mean is that they don’t want to hire a woman.  Those 4 labs that you applied to hired men that were just as qualified for that job as you were, and you applied first. Discrimination, sadly, is everywhere and it continues even in the “equal” society we pride ourselves upon. Individuals or groups that have preconceived notions or are prejudice toward a certain groups of people will try to bar those people from participating socially in the community, and sometimes they try to control aspects of your personal life, too. Something current is gay marriage. People think that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman, but when this idea is challenged, people’s first reaction is to discriminate, instead of making informed, open-minded decisions. The homosexual lifestyle, in their eyes, deviates from what is socially accepted. Even now, states still keep gay marriage illegal, even when a number of them have legalized it. Because discrimination in not just specific to a certain group pf people, like I said, it’s everywhere. However, discrimination is not as bad is it was in the 60’s; a white police officer cannot simply shoot an unarmed black man and get away with it, oh wait, that just happened in Ferguson, Missouri didn’t it. Until people start accepting each other for who they are and not judge them for their lifestyle, skin color, gender, religion, nationality, we will never be free of prejudice or discrimination.

–Ryan

ETHNOCENTRISM

In too many instances, most look at Blacks with harsh eyes, and whether they speak or are silent there are way too many doubtful thoughts racing through their mind. We, Blacks, may not be mind-readers but we already know what words and phrases are formulating through the minds of the “others” who don’t think it is quite possible for us to succeed…and sadly that might be true…but for only one reason…they have caused such blockage to occur.

One might ask who is the “they” that I speak of. “They” comes in many forms: people from other ethnic backgrounds, discrimination, stereotypes, government, justice system, educational system, and sometimes even our own. Why do they cause such blockage? It is because of their culture that has been embedded in them since birth or their condescending ways that have snowballed into a pile of self-worth and self-distinction. Things such as this create ethnocentrisms, the belief in the superiority in one’s ethnic group.

The outlook of being superior to blacks has gone on since we were brought to this country. And like John Mayer, we are waiting for the world to change, but I am sure his change doesn’t include blacks.  If Elvis Presley was featured in the song, his world wouldn’t include blacks either, because according to him only thing we could do for him is shine his shoes and we don’t want to stop blacks from doing that because everybody needs a good shoe shining!

“Yes we can!”

Instead we need the encouragement that Obama says best. But unfortunately this does not happen often, so our heart hums songs of overcoming, while are our actions involve ways that aren’t always that illegal. We are the true survivors of the fittest. With few of the resources one may need to make ends meet, we make change, not always good but we make things happen—despite the belittling from other ethnic groups.  And many may not believe this, but we want all our actions to be positive but this can’t happen if we are constantly ridiculed and not properly taught.

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” 

Like most, we want the opportunity to grow into something healthy and beautiful. But, unfortunately this can’t happen if we are not given the right resources to make that happen. In our eyes, we are like foster children who, unfortunately, got stuck with some not so nice and caring foster parents who badly abuse us and gives us the leftovers of what they once had and no longer wants or temporarily have no need for—usually they receive benefit from doing so .  In order to keep such a superior stance, one or many must keep the inferior group down. Here is how “they” did it and here are some of the leftovers, these are not to help, but to keep us distracted and quiet: 1. A ball. 2. Some crack. 3. 28 days. 4. A Piggy bank. 5. A beat.

1. As a Black, if you can dribble or throw a ball, you are seen as Captain Save ‘em.  Blacks are scouted out because their skills. Because of this, many Black youth value system may differ from white youth. For instance asking a young black boy what he wants to be when he grows up; his response …a basketball player.

2.  THE CRACK EPIDEMIC scare was orchestrated by the media. They inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dixode, blowing on an ignited flame forming an urban fire killing, not trees, but people…a fire that began in the eighties but has grown more vicious today.  Crack served as the white savior to many Blacks. It was passed around urban areas heavily populated by Blacks. Not only were Blacks getting hooked, but they were dying, killing, landing in jail. Surburban areas, most populated by whites weren’t even hit with 10% of the blow back from urban areas.

3.  TGIF: THANK GOD IT’S FEBRUARY!  For 28 days—sometimes not even that amount—Black youth have the opportunity to learn bits and pieces and half truths about their race and culture. But for the rest of the school year, they learn of norms orchestrated by white society.

4. WELFARE. The code for poor Black people.  Thanks to the media and ignorance of way too many, TANF, commonly known as welfare, is seen to cover the lazy behinds of blacks that just don’t want to work. I see it is as a stumbling block that spoonfeeds Blacks and keeps minds in bondage from trying to succeed. Think about it. Yes, there are financial benefits from TANF, but not many opportunities to teach one how to “pull themselves up from their bootstraps” and become self-sufficient.

5.  MUSIC…From the beginning of time the ancestors of Blacks have used music to uplift their spirits. Passing each lyric down from one generation to the next. Now there is a new style of lyric and new form of lyric passing. In this new day, we have rap; a style that most use to promote their new shiny materials, while subconsciously belittling themselves….guess who again gets the top cut and first and last laugh.

CULTURAL DIFFUSION

Cultural diffusion is a process by which cultural traits are spread from one society to another.  Cultural diffusion has become common in current society, and it happens all over the world from food restaurants to new technologies. Crossing societal boundary lines leads to having interactions with each other, and these interactions lead to cultural diffusion.  Cultures can use new ideas from foreign countries to suit their own need. Cultural diffusion is important to the development of culture because it allows cultures to improve based on what they learn from the others.  Cultural diffusion can lead one country to influence another’s culture through trade, travel, or immigration. The first influence on culture is through trade. When different areas of the world trade their goods, these goods can be incorporated into different cultures, and they can be adopted in new areas. In current society, we often use planes, trips, trucks to transport the goods around the world. The second influence on culture is though travel or immigration. When people want to travel or migrate to another country, they often bring their custom with them.

One example is the cultural diffusion of Chinese food into American society. As the Asian population grows throughout the United States, more and more Chinese restaurants have also expanded. One reason Chinese food has become so popular is that Americans love the taste of Chinese food, such as stir fry, lo mien, fried rice, and especially egg rolls.  Another reason is they enjoy how quickly the food is prepared in Chinese restaurants. Also, many Americans believe it is healthier to eat out in Chinese restaurants than American fast food.

 

As Chinese food expands in America, American food also expands to other countries in the world. An example is McDonald’s expanding in Vietnam. When I was young, I never ate hamburgers at McDonald’s. Nowadays, my nephews and nieces eat food in McDonald’s all the time. Vietnamese love McDonald’s because it helps them save time from having to make breakfast for their family and children.

 

Cultural diffusion can have both positive and negative effects on both cultures. Many cultures have benefited from cultural exchange. One advantage is cultural diffusion causes Americans to become more aware of diversity in society. The knowledge and understanding of other cultures help people to stray away from cultural discrimination. When people are informed about cultural diffusion, they interact with one another with more tact and respect. Another advantage of cultural diffusion is new technologies around the world, such as computers, the internet, transportation, and scientific technologies (microscopes and telescopes), have a big impact on how people live in every area of the world. Now more than ever, people have used technologies, such as laptops, I-pads, smart phones, and Blu-Tooth, as a communication device and change the idea of socialization forever. However, cultural diffusion also has disadvantages on culture such as loss of cultural identity, traditions and languages. One example was when cultural diffusion spread to Vietnamese teenagers by foreign countries’ movies. Couples in Vietnam began living together before they got married. The living together of Vietnamese couples never happened in Vietnamese culture before. Here’s another example, from a long time ago.  Vietnamese men often wore long dresses called “Ao Dai” on their wedding day. Nowadays, they wear suits to wedding celebrations.  The spread of diseases from visitors when they travel to other country is also negative effect of culture diffusion. Diseases such as AIDS, smallpox, and bubonic plague have killed millions of people as they spread from one to another. Cultural diffusion occurs every day, and will continue to happen due to the fact that new technology has caused our world to become completely interdependent.