General Question

DeezerQueue's avatar

Do you see and fear the loss of your culture?

Asked by DeezerQueue (2017points) May 18th, 2008

I read this travel article this morning, but it was the title that really caught my eye. Living in another country that grapples with trying to determine its own culture and how to save, protect or defend it, it seems that people confuse change with loss, the latter of which presents and entire array of knee-jerk reactions.

What are some of the things going on around you, changes, that leave you feeling frightened or as though you’re losing something as opposed to it being change.

Do fond memories that you might have also play a role in this process, as in, “When I was a kid… ” or “Do you remember when… ?”

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11 Answers

wildflower's avatar

I don’t think it’s ‘loss’ so much as blending or infusion of cultures and I don’t think it should be feared. It’s far scarier when a culture isolates itself.

I’m a foreigner where I live (although in this PC day and age, it’s: foreign national – what a load of BS) and I’ve seen more and more of this happening. I’ve lived here for 8 years and there’s been an explosion in the numbers of foreigners moving here.
I think they all bring something and it just makes the culture richer and more diverse.

As for my own nationality and culture. I certainly hang on to that as best I can and it mostly comes out around late July every year when it’s our National day festival – I’m glued to the computer, streaming radio the entire time.

DeezerQueue's avatar

I think you and I may be in different positions as to how we view this, wildflower, me being in somewhat of a similar situation although I don’t know your full story. Whether it’s migrant, immigrant, expat, foreign national, I don’t think we necessarily pose a threat but I’m often lumped in with the threatening number of foreigners perceived as wanting to eventually dominate the dominant culture.

I really appreciate your response, though, it’s always nice to meet people who share similar opinions or sentiments! And the Internet, what a lifesaver it can be when it comes to living abroad. You’re in Ireland, aren’t you?

wildflower's avatar

I am. And I know what you mean about the fear. I think there’s a lot of people here that feel that way. My description of the town I live in is: It’s a farmer village that blew up to a city overnight and the people are still trying to come to terms.
Now, add an increasing number of foreigners to that, and yes, there’s a lot of locals that are afraid this is becoming a suburb to Krakow.
Personally I don’t think so, and I think Irish culture could do with this increased awareness of other cultures – and it definitely hasn’t hurt the selection available in food stores (Irish food isn’t very exciting).

You’re in the Netherlands, if memory serves? And having a few friends from there, I know immigration is a very real concern there and the situation with the subcultures almost taking over the supposed primary culture of the country, because they’ve been very relaxed about the whole thing. Having said that, I still think tulips and clogs when I think of the Netherlands – not satay and silk.

As for ‘my story’: I moved here from Denmark for a job. I moved to Denmark from the Faroe Islands 5 years earlier to go to business college (middle school)

Vincentt's avatar

I’m from the Netherlands, and I do fear the loss of my culture. It’s very ironic actually. In the Netherlands, too, there are a lot of immigrants, but it’s not their cultures that I fear. I fear the change in the Dutch “tolerant” culture. I fear that people no longer accept and embrace the enrichment of our culture, thus throwing away what has tradionally been a defining part of Dutch culture.

So the ironic thing is that I embrace the mingling of cultures but witness the loss of our own culture in our own response. The fear of culture change results in culture change, so to speak.

susanc's avatar

I’m a WASP living in the United States. As a child I was taught that We were the Real
Americans. To quote wildflower, what BS.
I perceived the BSness. I became a hippie. I married outside the clan. I raised other people’s children instead of having any. I learned Spanish! My family only learned French, and not very well either. Why should they? The French could accommodate to Us.
I’m glad to have moved beyond the limits of my subculture. And yet… I have a huge soft spot for the comfort of a big family/community which believed in its stability and superiority.

DeezerQueue's avatar

Vincentt, you’ve warmed the cockles of my heart with your response. Can you be replicated?

@wildflower You’re the second person I’ve met from the Faroe Islands (online, that is).

DeezerQueue's avatar

@susanc Were you perceived by others as a threat to the American way of life, then?

wildflower's avatar

How cool! 9 out of 10 people I meet respond in one of two ways when I tell them where I’m from:
“What’s that?”
“I never met a Faroe Islander before” (we usually say Faroese person)

Vincentt's avatar

@DeezerQueue – sorry, what? :P

susanc's avatar

@DeezerQ: I am in fact perceived as being bizarre by the people I grew up around,
except for the others who emigrated out of the nest. Bizarre, treacherous, not to
be trusted, respected, or understood. But it’s fine. The world is huge and full of potential

DeezerQueue's avatar

@susanc You’re right, it can happen anywhere, but when it’s assume that those are qualities that you might possess, just because you’re displaced, is wrong. Unfortunately a lot of people engage in those thoughts and only the passage of time will show them that that line of logic has been incorrect and not useful.

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