I chose Tony Parker’s music video “Premier Love” because it could be argued that much of Tony Parker’s professional life is a result of “cultural imperialism.” Like with basketball, the rap industry is a product of the United States. This song follows the story of first love found between two high school kids, who struggle with the ups and downs of being in love. The rap is very americanized, and it even switches into english for the chorus — although the video is set place in Paris. The flipping back and forth between American and Parisian “attitudes” illustrates the tug of war that occurs during cultural exchange.
The music industry is a very important medium for cultural exchange because it is accessible to all ages. As entertainment becomes even more attainable (netflix, youtube, etc.) and as the world becomes more globalized, there is no reason (minus, political of course) why the exchange of media will not occur. I would, however, have to agree with Michael Tucker in that imperialism is a strong term that suggests force. I would like to think that much of the recent cultural exchange, as seen with the k-pop movement, is rooted in interest and desire to exchange ideas rather than by forceful transmission of practices from country to country.
I think we can all agree that the moral of this story is that Tony Parker should stick to playing basketball.
I chose to watch the documentary ‘Wasteland’ after watching the trailer for the film because it seemed like a new approach towards documenting the lives of those who live in extreme poverty. At first, however it seemed like the typical images of extreme poverty that are advertised just about every day on the television or through other media. I am ashamed to say that I felt almost desensitized to the images I was seeing. It seemed like the images of extreme poverty I have seen over the years were blending together in a swirly image of garbage, bare feet, and dirt. I was also surprised to hear that the artist, Vik, would be spending the next two years in ‘Jardim Gramacho.’ I didn’t realize he would have to take such a long time to complete his project but I found his ideals going in to the project to be inspiring. His approach of trying to “change the lives of people with the same materials they deal with every day” was a novel one to me. His approach brought new life to the story of those who live in extreme poverty.
One of the most striking aspects of the documentary was how it showed the power and strength in numbers. It was inspiring to see that the pickers had organized themselves into an association. Within the first few moments of their introduction, it was easy to see how vital they were to their community. I especially liked when one of the pickers said, ’99 cans is not 100.’ When this particular picker talked about how every little bit that people contribute adds up to a big difference that a group has the power to make. It both surprised and humbled me that this man, who had neither a primary nor secondary education, could see the big picture so clearly. While I have had the privilege of having access to an incredible education over the course of my life, sometimes I lose sight of the big picture and how everyone fits together. However, this man demonstrated how important it is not to forget that each of us contributes to the bigger picture.
Another aspect of the pickers that the documentary highlighted was their pride. However I found that in most cases, when they talked about how proud they were to be in their profession, it was usually described as the only alternative to turning tricks or dealing drugs. Therefore, while I was happy for each of the individuals that Vik photographed, I was anxious to see how the project would affect them and change their lives. After all, Vik create art while simultaneously changing the lives of his subjects. At the end of the film, the clear result of the project was that his subjects gained new perspectives on their lives. It wasn’t that they had been doing wrong but rather that they could strive for something greater. I found that the documentary and the project itself were both beautiful and inspiring.
Next I interviewed one of my flat mates Karla, who is from Mexico but working here in Madrid, about her experience of working in another country. Karla is doing an internship at a health-consulting firm because she is studying to be a nutritionist. What first interested me was her adjustment. Since she came from a country that spoke the same language, you would think that there wouldn’t be much of a language barrier. However she told me that the Spanish accent was very difficult to understand at first. On top of Spaniards having a heavy accent, there are also certain words that they only use in Spain. In fact, the Spanish language can vary quite drastically among Spanish speakers depending on where they’re from. Then we got into talking about stereotypes, more specifically how stereotypes of Mexicans from the perspective of the United States are not that positive. However, Karla also told me that from the point of view of most Europeans, Mexicans were seen as more middle-high class. Then we discussed more about how that might have to do with how the people we are exposed to or see on a daily basis color our opinions very strongly. Finally we discussed her workplace: most of the people she works with are very old. Another intern had recently arrived who was also from Mexico and about her age. However, they did not get along because the new intern keeps insinuating that Karla doesn’t know the ‘real’ Mexico. I found this to be very interesting because even though they could have been friends based on common interests in nutrition, age, heritage or any other factors: this girl focused on the one thing that was different: private vs public school. As a result, the two are not friends.
1. Resume Bullet Points
- Adapting to situations of change
- When I was working as an intern in Deloitte Atlanta office, most of my coworkers are from a different culture than mine. I was a little bit lost at the beginning because even at Emory, there are many international students around. During the two months of my internship, I was able to overcome that differences and work with them really well.
- Applying information to new or broader contexts
- When I was studying around in Paris, I got lots of questions about issues that has been happening in China, like government corruption, economic booming, and environmental pollution. The exchange of ideas gave me a new perspective of how other people perceive China, and it definitely deepened my understanding of my own home country.
- Communicating ideas to gain acceptance/agreement
- Because of different cultures, the way I think can be very different from people around me when studying aboard. I discover that I need to be more direct when communicating with other people. And I improved on that in my future communication.
2. Foreign Resume
I asked my friend in China his resume. He goes to university in China, and is currently in an exchange program in England. I wanted to see his resume because his has both Chinese and English versions. I do not have much experience in writing a Chinese resume. His resume is definitely a great example, and I discovered many similarities between a Chinese resume and English resume. For instance, both versions used many action verbs in that language. On the other hand, because my friend’s experience focuses on research, he listed many detailed descriptions of his past experience. I think it is very different from our typical Goizueta resume because each bullet point is concise and limited to one line. Depending on what type of job you are looking for, different styles have different benefits. For example, my friend is applying for master program in US, and I think academic program would definitely want to see more research related experience.
The following clip is from the show “Indian Idol”, which is the Indian version of show “American Idol”.
This show clearly exemplifies cultural imperialism. The cultural hegemony of the United States across the world is clearly shown here, especially in India. Just like in the American show, Indian Idol employs three separate judges, one of whom is clearly more strict than the other two. It seems as if Indian Idol is trying to copy American Idol in every possible facet. Such a strategy seems to be working, as the show is a huge hit in India- showing the potential benefits of this cultural imperialism
These are two links to the story today of New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio officially ending the “Zone Assessment Unit” of the NYPD, whose chief purpose was to surveil Muslim communities for potential terrorist threats. I chose this news event because I will be moving to NYC in two months, and though I am Indian, I do appear Muslim and do not want to be discriminated against or spied on.
Both the Christian Science Monitor and Al Jazeera portrayed this a big step forward for city government to get rid of discriminatory practices. However, Al Jazeera seemed to remain focused on the remaining threat of discrimination within the NYPD, despite the ending of this program. The Al Jazeera article also interviewed many members of the Muslim community to hear their concerns even after the disbanding of this program- many leaders are still not pleased. The CS Monitor article, however, treats the disbanding of this program as an “end” of sorts, focusing less on what this might mean for the future and more on how it came to be. The difference in reporting can be attributed to a multitude of factors, but the one that seemingly the most relevant is the fact that Al Jazeera is perhaps more sympathetic to those in the Muslim community that are being wrongfully spied on for terrorist activity due to Al Jazeera having its base in the Arabic country of Qatar.
There were no articles within the Global Perspectives Guide relating to this specific topic. Below, you will find a picture of a classroom, just yards from where I am sitting. The NYPD was known to even visit classrooms within college campuses to spy on Muslim terrorist activity. Hopefully, such practices won’t continue anymore.
For this module, I watched “Last Train Home” because I read the synopsis and immediately related to the idea of familial separation. My mother left India in the late 1980′s to escape domestic violence and was forced to leave her two children behind with her ex-husband. During this time, she faced great struggle dealing with a new culture, new language, new people- forced to do it all without her own family. I was able to relate this story to that of Zheng Changhua and Chen Suqin in their decision to leave home in their pursuit of a better life for their children.
What surprised me the most about this story is the realization that the Chinese economic empire has been built on the backs of people similar to Chen and Zheng. It is a shocking and disgusting reality. All of these people working in low-wage jobs like Zheng and Chen are rarely ever able to see their family- usually just one day out of the year: New Years. This mass exodus of workers going back home to their villages to see their family is the largest one-time human migration in the world. And it all happens because these 130 million people have no other days off. Everyone must see this movie to realize the great human costs that are possible in a culture focused on the bottom-line, focused only on becoming an economic superpower.
When I went abroad to Barcelona, Spain, I had many friends that had also decided to study abroad. One of such friends was Nick Cortellessa, who not only studied in Milan, Italy, but also was engaged in an internship for his entire 3 month period abroad. I asked him a few questions about his experience working abroad. Similar to Barcelona’s work culture, Nick explained that his work environment was very “laid back” and “relaxed”. The focus was not necessarily to complete work as efficiently as possible (as perhaps the focus is in the US), but instead to enjoy the work- and enjoy life outside of work. This was a culture shock for Nick, who was used to working quickly and effectively. But at the end of the day, he explains that this experience was essential in reminding him of the benefits of seeking happiness in all that you do, not just the completion of the next task.
I consider myself an Indian American, with a heavy emphasis on “American”. I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, but I have had the opportunity to visit my relatives in India various times. These visits have allowed me to develop a unique perspective on globalization and its benefits. The more I have been exposed to different cultures than my own (such as what I experienced in India), the more I have been able to open my mind to the existence of other cultural practices. This so-called “opening of the mind” has been extremely beneficial in other aspects of my life, including learning how to empathize, a quality I find paramount among people in this world of increasing globalization.
Below is a picture that I believe accurately reflects the aforementioned “mixed” nature of my national identity. In this picture, you will find my mother, a 1st generation immigrant from India, holding my nephew, son of my Indian-born brother and Mexican-born sister-in-law.
According to the Global Road Warrior Database, business practices in India largely reflect the “Eastern attitude” of needing to maintain group harmony. The emphasis on the group as opposed to the individual is a very key difference in the cultural and business practices of Indian and American culture. I had the opportunity to interview a friend and former colleague of my father, Ramesh Mugalam. Ramesh has had experience doing business in both India and the United States and emphasizes this very difference in both cultures. In India, he states, “it is not easy to say something in opposition to your boss.” Understanding this key difference between the two cultures in paramount in conducting successful business.
(click on picture to view in upright position)
I chose last train home because I previously heard positive things about the documentary. I thought the film was exceptionally well made. The documentary was a cold, no reservation look at the effect of globalization on families across the world. The Last Train Home tugs at the heartstrings because it follows the story of a single family that wants nothing more than to stay together and to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. With such an up-close observation of the family, the audience becomes attached to each family member – feeling the pains of separation, the necessary cruelties that come with high expectations, and the crumbling family unit. The parents are cornered left and right. They want nothing more than happiness and success for their children, but in the process they must face sadness, bitterness, and separation.
The Last Train Home gave me a whole new perspective of the effects of globalization on the people in developing societies. While globalization has many positive effects, it by no means avoids the perils that come with the exploitation of cheap labor. I had never previously heard of this giant migration of workers on the Chinese New Year. This mass migration is a perfect illustration of the effect of a “cheap labor society.” It magnifies the distance between family members and showcases the desperate situations that families enter in the pursuit of living comfortable lives (or merely surviving). From a distance, each person appears as a pawn in the game – but zoom in and we see that each person is struggling.
Most upsetting was the path of Qin. Faced with a parentless childhood, she grew more sad and bitter by the day. She could not understand why her parents had to leave. She resented them – mostly her mother – and as a leap of faith, decided that quitting school and working in a factory was the only way out. Faced with the same decision that her mother had years before, Qin struggled with accepting a life of money vs. having the patience to finish university with the hopes of one day leaving the farm. The girl, only 17, faces loneliness and harassment while in the factory. It is because of globalization that this option to work in the factory exists. Bu it is also because of globalization that she may have a way out.
I interviewed my best friend’s brother, Maxwell, who is currently working abroad in London. Because the UK is an English-speaking country, Max did not have a huge culture shock in terms of language and communication. Rather, his biggest culture shock came in the form of business etiquette. Max found that although his British counterparts were very outgoing and social, they held their privacy very close. He felt as though he needed to wait to a cue to act at all times. This may have been a factor of age, but nonetheless it has characterized his time abroad.
This is my favorite clip from “Rush Hour 3”:
It is a hilarious scene showing how confusing a foreign language could be.
I believe that Cultural Imperialism can be seen at work places. According to Princeton.edu, “Cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting a more powerful culture over a least known or desirable culture. It is usually the case that the former belongs to a large, economically or militarily powerful nation and the latter belongs to a smaller, less powerful one. Cultural imperialism can take the form of an active, formal policy or a general attitude.”
(http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Cultural_imperialism.html) I’m not sure if this is an example of formal policy cultural imperial: in certain foreign companies in China, employees are only allowed to send emails in English, or Chinese citizens are not able to reach to the managerial level. But since these days, people are more aware of inequalities and discriminations, it is less obvious to spot a cultural imperialism. I think one of the negative impact that cultural imperialism has among work place is, making a group of people with a “weaker” culture think they are not capable enough and underestimate their abilities in order to have people from the more desirable culture in charge.
Interacting with people with difference interests or values, or perspectives:
Through doing summer internship in both Deloitte China and U.S.A offices, I was able to observe the difference in working models and the quickly adapt to the difference and appreciate the different perspectives.
Resourceful in accomplishing assignments:
When I was doing my tax research on Venezuelan oil related tax, I reached out to the team in Venezuela and asked them to access to the information bank in order to get the most accurate information.
The above resume comes from a high school friend from China. One obvious difference I immediately noticed was the format. For most Chinese resumes, there’s a form to be filled out instead of bullet points. Also, for the work experience part, my friend merely wrote down what she did without expanding further into what she skills got out from it. And lastly, the main focus was on her school works (certificates, awards…) instead of her work experience.