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  Topic: The US--cultural identity, or not?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
stevestory



Posts: 8838
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 29 2005,09:01   

America has largely had a dominant culture over the last half of its history. One could argue that earlier than that, large segments were speaking french or german or dutch or spanish, but since at least the 1800s its had a pretty unified cultural identitiy. Because of things like this http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin....41.html
in the next few decades huge regions of SoCal, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas are going to switch to majority spanish-speaking regions, and the more it grows, the more it accelerates, so sooner or later we'll have whole states where the residents speak spanish and probably no english. It's not unusual for countries to contain multiple large distinct ethnic populations, and we're about to have that. Wonder if this'll really change the way Americans see themselves?

I don't think it will, necessarily. My understanding of America doesn't really see whiteness and protestantism as essential elements. I think a lot of people who think of Americans as cornfed whitebread football players from Iowa are in the dying-off WWII generation. Of course, there may be a lot of opinion I'm not seeing. What do you think?

Feel free to argue orthogonal points like that big-city educated east-coast atheists like myself don't really have any cultural identity with insane evangelical Left Behind readers in Des Moines anyway, &c.

   
Sheikh Mahandi



Posts: 47
Joined: May 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 29 2005,09:18   

Whats the big deal? U.S history for all its brevity is full of waves of immigration, e.g Irish, Italians, Jews, Germans, Poles, etc. etc. In many cities , Boston and New York spring to mind immediately, it was probably possible at one time or another to visit an area and find nothing but Italian or Yiddish, or something else being spoken. Yet U.S /American has become robust enough to encompass many of the words and cultural concepts while being enriched. So the majority of people in Texas might have Spanish derived surnames, they may even retain it as a primary language, but, and heres the big but, as long as the schools retain "English" as the standard language then within one certainly two generations the immigrants and natives will adapt, hopefully to their mutual benefit.

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"Love is in the air, everywhere I look around,.....Love is in the air, every sight and every sound,......"

  
stevestory



Posts: 8838
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 29 2005,17:27   

Who decides the school teaches in English? The local school board, that's who. I can imagine a few school boards changing that rule in a few years.

   
Sheikh Mahandi



Posts: 47
Joined: May 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,01:40   

Personal experience - I went to a primary school (Brmingham / West Midlands / UK) equivalent to U.S elementary - 98% of class was split between West Indian (Caribbean) Indian (sub-continent) and Pakistani, many of the Indian and Pakistani children had Punjabi, or Hindi, or Tamil, etc. as first language but all had to learn English - because of the school board you ask - no, because all state examinations (O / A Levels) were in English except single exams such as Punjabi for native speakers, so anyone planning to study Chemistry, History, Physics, Biology, etc had to understand English.

Applying this to your last post, yes local school boards could perhaps undertake to have the curriculum in mainly Spanish, but if the State Examination or SAT's, etc. remain in English then they are at an immediate disadvantage, so it is counter-productive, my guess is, maybe one or two might experiment with it for a few years, but will soon revert to having "English" as the main language.

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"Love is in the air, everywhere I look around,.....Love is in the air, every sight and every sound,......"

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,03:20   

:01-->
Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 29 2005,15:01)
Feel free to argue orthogonal points like that big-city educated east-coast atheists like myself don't really have any cultural identity with insane evangelical Left Behind readers in Des Moines anyway, &c.

Hey, stop knocking Iowa.  It has a democratic govenor, a split legislature, no death penalty and usually votes for  the Democratic candidate for president  :D

And does not teach ID in schools

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,04:08   

Quote
I don't think it will, necessarily. My understanding of America doesn't really see whiteness and protestantism as essential elements. I think a lot of people who think of Americans as cornfed whitebread football players from Iowa are in the dying-off WWII generation. Of course, there may be a lot of opinion I'm not seeing. What do you think?

No, but the Judeo-Christian culture that made America great is absolutely essential to our collective well-being. Your use of "whitebread" demonstrates the success of red diaper brainwashing in our schools. Let's be honest here: almost all the religion, science, technology, architecture, art, culture, law, cuisine and everything else that make the U.S. and Europe worth living in is due to "whitebread" culture (with a huge assist from N.E. Asians and substantial input from India, of course). In fact, when "whitebread" culture so desires, it can compete in those fields dominated by other cultures. Look at boxing, MMA fighting, rap, and basketball: trivial fields, to be sure*, but "whitebread" culture has produced some first-rate contributors in these areas. But where, pray tell, is the non "whitebread" Shakespeare, Newton, Beethoven outside of N.E. Asia or India? Nowhere. Which is why multicultural philosophy (and nations) lead to quotas, an unhealthy emphasis on pop culture, decadence, sleaze, speech codes, and violence.

1) 2+2 =4
2) When you abandon God and "whitebread" culture, you end up under the thumb of those who don't.
3) I hate Big Brother.

*Yes, I realise that many Americans and Europeans would argue with this; this is one reason that we'll all be speaking Mandarin in 50 years

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,04:47   

In fact, multiculturalism has a nifty way of dessicating all culture. Take African American culture, for example. Think about the Harlem Renaissance, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Soul, etc. Certainly a fine contribution to any society, and all of it produced during "whitebread" cultural hegemony. Is it a coincidence that black culture jumped the shark during the ascendancy of multiculturalism? I suspect not. And I think Bill Cosby would agree.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8838
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,05:40   

Quote

Hey, stop knocking Iowa.  


I wasn't knocking Iowa, though i understand what I wrote could be read that way. I just used it to refer to some place far away from me.

   
Ved



Posts: 398
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,06:00   

Where have you been living, comrade? When did American black culture "jump the shark"? IMO it is just now starting to hit it's stride. Of course it wasn't doing very well decades ago when it really wasn't a whole lot of fun to be black in this country, and much of their original culture had been wiped out and replaced with "our" "whitebread" christianity. Nowadays there are many many young white kids out there that are doing everything they can to 'be' black, and not a pale Bill Cosby/Wayne Brady shade of black either.

Oh, and don't forget rock(and roll). There are relatively few black rock musicians, but the whole genre wouldn't exist if it weren't for white people co-opting all of the ground work that was laid as blues, jazz, etc.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,06:16   

Quote
Where have you been living, comrade? When did American black culture "jump the shark"? IMO it is just now starting to hit it's stride.


Ved, you have got to be kidding me. Yes, Black Gangsta culture and everything it entails is wildly popular internationally (especially among teenagers and the mentally feeble), but I'm talking about lasting contributions; you know, great works of art that don't age along with ya like Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin etc. Not subliterate morons babbling red diaper politics into a microphone. ####, even blacks won't listen to rap that's more than a few years old. Try referencing Public Enemy and see how far you'll get. And yes, I've seen Tupac's "poetry" and it reads like the spoiled, angry rant of a not particularly bright 10 year old. If you seek real culture, hoss, look elsewhere......

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,06:20   

Quote
Oh, and don't forget rock(and roll). There are relatively few black rock musicians, but the whole genre wouldn't exist if it weren't for white people co-opting all of the ground work that was laid as blues, jazz, etc.

When did I say otherwise? And where would blues and jazz be without whitebread technology and music?

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8838
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,06:25   

Oh lord, a troll hath invaded my lovely thread. Be happy Wes doesn't provide thread authors here the ability to do maintenance, Paley, because I'd delete every worthless thing you wrote. Go away.

   
Sheikh Mahandi



Posts: 47
Joined: May 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,06:29   

B B King, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Junior Parker, Phil Lynott (I know, I know, could technically be classed as Irish), or how about Carlos Santana?

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"Love is in the air, everywhere I look around,.....Love is in the air, every sight and every sound,......"

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,07:19   

Sorry for the multiple posts; I'm working with the best technology I have. Let me support that last argument. Take Jazz, for example. Where do you think that Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Miles Davis got many of their harmonic ideas? European classical musicians. Funny thing though, when blacks borrow from "whitebread" culture nobody complains, but let others borrow from blacks, and the libs whine like schoolkids. The popularity of modern Black culture masks its utter irrelevance to anything important. It produces very little of value in art, literature, architecture, science, law, philosophy, or religion. It doesn't produce a stable, well-ordered, mannerly society. ####, it doesn't even consistently produce world-class athleticism anymore; Eastern Europeans are beginning to take over boxing, the Olympics, and MMA. Our trash-talking Olympic basketball team couldn't even medal, casting doubt on the quality of our big three sports, and the success of "whitebread" athletes in the 400 and high jump (and the women's 100, not to mention China's victory in the hurdles) is shattering stereotypes at a (heh) world-record pace.
 If blacks and whites want to recapture their old glory, a liberal dose of Dr. Coz is very much in order.

Quote
B B King, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Junior Parker, Phil Lynott (I know, I know, could technically be classed as Irish), or how about Carlos Santana?

Yep, they're awesome, and did their best work before the multicultural revolution, just as I wrote.

Quote
Oh lord, a troll hath invaded my lovely thread. Be happy Wes doesn't provide thread authors here the ability to do maintenance, Paley, because I'd delete every worthless thing you wrote. Go away.


I have no doubt of that, and given the rate at which our liberties are withering, you just might get that chance one day. I wasn't trying to crash your party; I just thought you wanted a <cough> diverse range of opinions. But I'll withdraw from this thread. I do value your contributions, however, as well as Ved and Mr. Mahandi's. I'm looking forward to their responses, which promise to be very....exacting.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,09:45   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Dec. 30 2005,10:08)
No, but the Judeo-Christian culture that made America great is absolutely essential to our collective well-being. Your use of "whitebread" demonstrates the success of red diaper brainwashing in our schools. Let's be honest here: almost all the religion, science, technology, architecture, art, culture, law, cuisine and everything else that make the U.S. and Europe worth living in is due to "whitebread" culture (with a huge assist from N.E. Asians and substantial input from India, of course).

Hmmm.  Well, if you go learn some Arabic and Mandarin you might learn of some of the things that were not produced by Europeans  :D

And check out the publications in the molecular biology literature to see where the future lies!  :)

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
Ved



Posts: 398
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,10:39   

Quote
Where do you think that Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Miles Davis got many of their harmonic ideas? European classical musicians. Funny thing though, when blacks borrow from "whitebread" culture nobody complains, but let others borrow from blacks, and the libs whine like schoolkids.


I agree with the first bit here, it's a great example of how mixing cultures can bring about new wonderful things. The last sentence I don't get at all. I consider myself a "lib[eral]" and I just got done admiring cultural innovations that we've borrowed back from blacks and run with, specifically my rock music example, 'cause that's one thing I'm really into. It seems more like it's non-Libs like yourself who have the problem with black culture becoming more popular and mainstream (which was once mainly white). You just got done ranting about it. Now, that's not to say that I'm a big fan of gangsta culture. I think it's an unfortunate side effect of the environment a lot of black people have found themselves in due to lingering effects of slavery, racism, and more recently, the stupid prohibitionist drug laws that have opened the doors for an alluring lucrative black (heh) market. Mobsters were rich, popular and sometimes famous when you had to go to them to get a drink.

  
Ved



Posts: 398
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,11:09   

Quote
If blacks and whites want to recapture their old glory, a liberal dose of Dr. Coz is very much in order.

There was no "old glory" so, no I don't feel that emulating "Dr." Cosby is in order. You do know that that wasn't his real family on the TV show. His real family was much more realistically sordid and dysfunctional, relatively.

Quote
Yep, they're awesome, and did their best work before the multicultural revolution, just as I wrote.

I can understand you appreciating music that's more classically oriented, but a lot of that really old stuff where blues and jazz were breaking new ground is from those not so good old days when those innovative musicians could only get into the white clubs for as long as they were actually playing their instruments.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8838
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 30 2005,12:01   

Quote

Mobsters were rich, popular and sometimes famous when you had to go to them to get a drink.


BTW, the highest murder rate in the US was in the 20s.



I suppose the larger questions I should have asked here are, what are the essential features of American culture? Are the cornfed Iowa boy and the tacofed Miami latina living in the same culture, or not? Is American culture essentially just a few things like the rule of law, capitalism, widespread freedom, and property rights? Are other things like language important or meaningless? If a few states like Texas and New Mexico become Spanish-only, is America different in any important sense, or not?

   
Sheikh Mahandi



Posts: 47
Joined: May 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 31 2005,09:11   

Referring back to one of my previous posts - Did the wave(s) of Irish immigration change the USA in any significant form, or the wave(s) of Jewish / German / Italian immigration, or how about the sudden influx of Cubans to Florida?
The USA has long been touted as the land of opportunity where no-one is disadvantaged because their father or mother (or both) were immigrants, that people are assessed for what they contribute not what language their grandfather spoke. Additionally there are those who see the USA as the greatest bastion of freedom in the western world because of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, so long as these fresh immigrants hold true to all these ideals then there is no cause for alarm, with the melting pot continuing to bubble along nicely.

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"Love is in the air, everywhere I look around,.....Love is in the air, every sight and every sound,......"

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 01 2006,04:55   

GOP would like to bring Apartheid  to America which of course would solve all these 'problems' at a stroke.

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 02 2006,09:45   

Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 29 2005,15:01)
America has largely had a dominant culture over the last half of its history.

I am not sure America has a culture yet.  One of the things that fascinated me when I first came to the states was that people were constantly talking about their heritage, saying “I am Scottish” or “I am Italian”.  My reply was always along the lines of “I am surprised, I thought you were an American”.  Americans also seem far more interested in where they cam from than many other cultures, and far more interested in where they came from than where they are right now and where they are going.

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
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