Cultural Imperialism: Oppression in America for Other Cultures

Cultural Imperialism is a big equity issue that we need to pay more attention to. Communication and Cultural Domination, Herbert Schiller defines Cultural Imperialism as: the sum of the processes by which a society is brought into the modern world-system, and how its dominating stratum is attracted, pressured, forced, and sometimes bribed into shaping social institutions to correspond to, or event to promote, the values and structures of the dominant center of the system. This concept of Imperialism relates to many different cultural backgrounds. Many cultures worldwide are disappearing due to the overwhelming influence of cultural America. Countries such as France, China, Cuba, Canada, and Iran are too weak to fight the strength of the United States and are losing their ability to preserve their native cultures according to an article titled “Cultural Imperialism: an American tradition”. Furthermore, a degradation in indigenous cultures and indigenous people is becoming endangered. An article by “World Problems & Human Potential” states that “since 1900, 90 of Brazil's 270 Indian tribes have completely disappeared, while scores more have lost their lands and abandoned their ways.” In addition, an essay titled “The Globalization of Markets,” Harvard business professor Theodore Levitt declared, “The world’s needs and desires have been irrevocably homogenized.” This is a concern because America should not be more superior than others, we should all have equality and equity. No culture should compare or say they are more dominant than another culture. As this will just lead to more chaos and keep this systematic oppression going.

The impact of this equity issue in a socioecological level comes in tie in several different ways. Imperialism covers ideological and institutional because it shows how dominating stratum is pressured or forced sometimes even bribed into shaping social institutions. In all these terms, it refers to the indirect and direct influence that the economically strongest developed countries are stepping on economically weaker countries in terms of language and culture. This can cause such countries, communities, and societies to internalize that they have to do something more Americanized that is in alignment with that idea.

In my research in the sources that I used, there are a few critiques that I would like to address. First, in a scholarly journal article titled The Oppression of Latina Mothers, it discusses cultural imperialism and how it comes into relation with the oppression of Latina mothers. Although they do talk about the oppression of Latina mothers, I believe what is missing from the source is how other women of color are affected. Cultural Imperialism can have an effect on other cultures such as Natives, Filipinos, and African Americans. In another scholarly journal article titled Modernity and globalization: is the presence of English and of cultural products in English a sign of linguistic and cultural imperialism? Results of a study conducted in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia, it talks about the language use and attitudes in Malaysia; to see the expansion of the influence of English and cultural products in countries. To critique the bias in the source the only thing I would be concerned about is when oppression is not being discussed. The discussion in the article about the influence of the English language can be helpful, but can also cause oppression because cultures can begin to forget their own language and their identity. Thirdly, in a government publication titled For Some Developing Countries, America's Popular Culture Is Resistible, it addresses how some countries do not let America internalize them into thinking that America is the most dominant. It is more than likely that a poorer country will watch or listen to their own media/music. As this could be correct that some cultures such as India and China do their own thing, I would like to critique that America still has a slight influence on them. For example, Mcdonaldization. Even though they receive many negative critiques, they remain dominant and successful worldwide. Adding on, Disney Theme Parks are around most of the world. The Disney Store retail chain operates across North America, Europe, Japan, and 350 more stores worldwide.

Due to the concept of Cultural Imperialism, the ideology that America is more powerful than others results in individual and institutional discrimination in the lives of LatinX and other communities of color. The impact of discrimination on them is higher due to the intertwining of non-dominant identities and lower-income status. The systems of oppression that this source identifies with is white privilege, race, exploitation, and marginalization. Furthermore, Imperialism shows how a lot of different communities are oppressed due to the fact that some cultures are more privileged than others. With that being said, the U.S has a big influence on other cultures around the world. The system of oppression that this source identifies with is colonization. With that, this will help us to understand the disappearance of other cultures due to the domination of cultural America.

A dominant narrative counterclaim that members of the dominant culture would say is that America is a great influence on other cultures and should continue to keep doing what they are doing through mass media, propaganda, and internalize that “America is the Dream”. I would rebuttal this by saying that a lot of Americans do not realize the oppression and equity issue we put on other cultures. America seems to be the most dominating, ruling out other cultures as if they are nothing. American popular culture will continue to flourish, while the poorest countries will continue to suffer.

If we do not pay more attention to the big equity issue of Cultural Imperialism, more indigenous people and cultures will start disappearing. Imperialism can also harm future generations and continue to expand the oppression in America. It will harm the future because every culture should have equality and equity because having a variety of diversity in the world benefits us because we are able to learn new things from each other. This affects me personally because I am Flipino and Hispanic. With that being said, if the most dominant culture is the United States, how can we ever leave room for all other cultures? The world was not meant to be a perfect Utopia. Five solutions that need to occur in order for a positive impact on this equity issue are to 1) Have the government not allow people to enter the country unless they agree to not force any new culture or beliefs on their own culture, which is an example of Bhutan’s government. The Bhutan population is required to wear traditional dress and not change to western fashion. In this way, the Bhutan culture is maintained. The people visiting Bhutan are to respect the country as if it were their own. 2) To not overpower another country through colonization 3) Not be afraid to speak up on this equity issue and use transformative resistance 4) To not discriminate against others for practicing or embedding their culture 5) To let others speak their native language. In conclusion, I believe that if these solutions were to be implemented, then Cultural Imperialism would not be as big of a problem as it is today.  

Reference Page

  1. Ayón, Cecilia, Jill T Messing, Maria Gurrola, and Dellanira Valencia-Garcia. 'The Oppression of Latina Mothers: Experiences of Exploitation, Violence, Marginalization, Cultural Imperialism, and Powerlessness in Their Everyday Lives.' ​Violence Against Women​ 24.8 (2018): 879-900. Web.
  2. Coluzzi, Paolo. 'Modernity and Globalisation: Is the Presence of English and of Cultural Products in English a Sign of Linguistic and Cultural Imperialism? Results of a Study Conducted in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia.' ​Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 33.2 (2012): 117-31. Web.
  3. 'For Some Developing Countries, America's Popular Culture Is Resistible.' ​The New York Times (1923-Current File)​ [New York, N.Y.] 2007: C3. Web.
  4. Surin, Kimberley Ann. “Kimberley Ann Surin.” ​Comm 411 Blog​, 16 Mar. 2015,​.
  5. Tomlinson, John. ​Cultural Imperialism: A Critical Introduction​. London: Continuum, 2001. ACLS Humanities E-Book. Web.
07 July 2022
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