Salomon Djakpa Professor Ralph Satterthwaite English 14-001 17 March 2013 Human’s Identity in a Globalized World Globalization has become a highly debated concept around the world. Globalization can be simply understood as “a process of global economical, political and cultural integration” (thefreedictionary. com). Today the world has become global and integral and all of its major parts are completely interconnected like in a tiny village. Globalization is an everyday process that brings a cultural unification and changes people’s psychology.
Globalization is happening almost everywhere in the world and having various impacts on people. It is a process that is bringing the world smaller and smaller and also imposing a change on people’s cultural level. People’s identity is changing because of globalization. Globalization has made the world we are living today more complex and culturally pluralized. Many people migrate to new places and are forced to adopt a new culture. However, their traditions might not fade away because they will always be part of their identity.
Certain people believe that there is a connection between globalization and Americanization. However, in his essay “Globalization vs. Americanization”, Andrew Lam argues that there is a difference between globalization and Americanization even though it is sometimes hard to make that distinction. His essay interprets the divergences among cultures in the twenty-first century and how living in this century has blurred those distinctions. In his essay, Lam uses his own life experience to tell how globalization has changed his behaviors, thoughts and feelings.
He believes that “man’s identity is in conflict” as a result of globalization. Many people often migrate to a new place and their identity becomes disturbed as a result of this dislocation. I believe Lam’s assertion can be true and totally agree with it because people can tend to follow their own culture as well as their new culture. Andrew Lam argues that “man’s identity is in conflict” as a result of globalization because of how it changed and disturbed people’s identity. Although someone’s identity is very precious and memorable, it can be hreatened at any time because of globalization. Lam stated: To want to be rooted is a deep human desire, of course, but to be displaced and uprooted, alas, is a human condition — Man’s fate. All over the world, people are moving from language to language, from culture to culture, sensibility to sensibility, negotiating across time zones and continents. It’s a world that resists simplification. Man’s identity is in conflict, has become both the cause of pain and fear for some and the source of enormous inspiration for others. I am inclined, of course, to be on the side of the latter. (par. 13)
Lam is trying to show us that an individual’s traditions, background, foundation and culture define him and to want to stay attached to his roots is a profound desire. However, your condition can alter at any time and lead you to move out of your place. All over the globe, people are switching accent, adopting a new culture and having new customs. These transformations are taking place in today’s globalized world. Lam is also arguing that some people fear changing their identity while it is just a stimulus for others. The world is becoming more sophisticated and complex but less manageable.
Furthermore, to support his claim, Andrew Lam demonstrates how the growing towns of ethnic enclaves are proliferating in America. They are rapidly changing the American culture. These homogenous and culturally distinct societies are challenging the old ideas of the melting pot and integration. He explains the concept of this pluralistic society that emerged because of globalization. He also maintains that globalization has created a new man with a talent and the ability to overcome contradictory identities by creating new interactions between them.
A new man able to hold contradictory ideas and resist the xenophobic and fundamentalistic views. Someone able to see the world with its many ranges at the same time. Andrew Lam is a result of globalization. He grew up to be a patriotic citizen of South Vietnam. He followed his culture’s tradition and promised that he would protect his homeland, but later he had to migrate overseas to build a completely different life. As Lam noted, “Yesterday my inheritance was simple–the sacred rice fields and rivers that defined who I was” (par. 6).
The country Lam was from defined him and his cultural traditions. He grew up to become a rice farmer like the past generation but after migrating to a new country his identity changed. This was his identity before the global transformation of migration. He was only connected to the people who were in Vietnam but after travelling abroad he became aware that he had so many friends and relatives who lived in different countries. His identity is today bound up with multiple communities. He learned about aspects his friends had that were different from his.
My own life experiences made me agree with Lam’s position. I migrated to the United States in search of the American dream. Traveling from Africa to America, which once required months at sea, now only takes hours in the air. All of this is because of the process of globalization. Today my identity is bound with a new community. I can honestly say my identity is changing because my tongue is slowly switching to the American language; I have slowly adopted the American culture. However, I follow my own culture as well.
Due to migration, I have to learn a second language as well as a new culture. However, I still manage to speak French, my first language. Today I have this deep belief in the American dream and also that miracles are real and one day there will be no more crime or violence. Migrating to this new country has showed me different perspectives of the world and varieties of teachings and moral support. My changing identity, new beliefs and my life as an immigrant are all experiences that make me accept Lam’s assertion.
Globalization is one of the most contested concepts around the world and it has such a great impact on selves. Andrew Lam interprets in his essay globalization and its major effects on people’s identity. He clarifies that “man’s identity is in conflict” because of globalization. He was himself a result of globalization after being affected by the global transformation of migration. He saw his behaviors, thoughts and feelings changing rapidly after moving. His pluralized identity is one reason that makes him feel that man’s identity is in danger.
I totally agree with Lam’s opinion because of my life experiences and how globalization has had a great impact on me. I really think globalization has today transformed people’s identity in many ways. Many people migrate to new places and are likely to follow their culture as well as their new culture. Globalization has given people new traditions, perspectives of the world and customs. In today’s globalized world, identity has become more conflicting than ever. Work Cited Lam, Andrew. “Globalization vs. Americanization. ” AlterNet. (2004): 2. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.