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Western Effect on Jamaican culture

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Tiffany Kong

on 25 April 2014

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Transcript of Western Effect on Jamaican culture

Western Effect on Jamaican culture
Jamaican flag grande. 2014. Gigi Lamode, Http://gigilamode.blogspot.com/. Http://gigilamode.blogspot.com/. 27 Mar. 2014. Gigi Lamode. 27 Mar. 2014.
Globalization is the leading charge in why many cultures of other countries are being lost within the shuffle in the many changes that take place. With the increase in social media and television access expanding, children across the world are losing their cultural identity and are now identifying with what they see on television and not with their own culture. With this phenomenon taking place, it is up to parents and other elders to make sure that new generations retain some aspect of their local culture. As a person who comes from a multi-cultural home, it is easy to see how one attaches to one culture and leave the other culture behind.
"Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing... you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn't affect two-thirds of the people of the world." - Jimmy Carter

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As media has expanded globally, western culture seems to be at forefront at changing how people behave. One aspect of Jamaican culture that I see starting to adapt to the Western takeover is music. All across the globe music is a huge factor in culture that has the greatest influence. Growing up music has been a very big part of my life, because I have always been able to lose myself within the music and be able to relate to music. Reggae music has always had its own unique sound because they would rely on appealing to the people of Jamaica. Reggae music has not experienced the same type of recognition as other genres of music and I think that is what helped them remain the same with their musical sound and identity. However, in the earlier parts of the 2000’s, reggae music began to expand to other parts of the world and has had a major impact on many countries such as USA, Latin America reggaeton with their mix of Latin and Caribbean. There is no coincidence that this expansion began with the growth of the Internet among other social and media outlets. As the music spread, reggae artists began to travel to other countries and began experiencing other cultural musical sounds. One country that can be said to have had the most influence on reggae is America. Artists from all over the world have always tried to break into the American music scene, because it is seen as the leading venue in music. With this, a lot of reggae artists began to incorporate a lot of hip-hop, r&b and rock and roll sounds into their music as well as Hispanic vibes. This incorporation allows these artists to become more recognizable in the U.S. because it grows their fan base and also allows for a greater monetary gain. However, with the incorporation of American sounds into the heart and soul of reggae music, the many years of reggae music’s unique sound is beginning to change and sometimes this type of change isn’t always good, because the people that reggae were originally targeted to they see this as a huge change in what they’re used to. As an avid listener of reggae music, I am starting to hear more and more songs that sound so similar to the ones I hear on the radio compared to the older songs before my time. Just as western culture is being combined with Jamaican culture to create somewhat of a hybrid culture, I see reggae music combining with American sounds to create a new hybrid Reggae sound that could carry on for future generations. Another example of this combination of cultures also has had an impact on western music. There have been so many hip hop songs that are now featuring reggae artists which lead me to believe that this cultural exchange is a good thing for music and allows new exchanges of ideas to take place. This exposes people to artists that they would normally never listen to and so it spreads the growth of reggae music. I think as long as reggae artists can find some balance between the two sounds, reggae music’s historical sound will not be lost, but will change as time progresses.
"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." - Bob Marley
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Another way globalization has impacted other cultures is the growth of social media. In this era that we are living in, the Internet has seemed to control people’s lives. Kids today are always on their gadgets, sometimes not even aware of their surroundings. Ybarra says that “Technology can likewise be a powerful social tool for young people” (DeAngellis). Even in countries where they don’t have the basic needs to survive, kids have Facebook, twitter and Instagram. This constant connection between people of so many different aspects of life exposes people to how others in different areas of their lives. Despite the fact of the economy the youth still find a way to stay in contact with each other it’s an “… incredibly positive influence that allows them to make friends and connect with others in healthy ways” (DeAngellis). Television has also grown, expanding into billions of homes across the world. As it seems that the majority of cable and satellite providers are from the U.S., families across the world are being exposed to the cultural behaviors of western society. As kids today “…are more inclined to stay indoors and watch television, play computer games… then go outside to play” (winter) they are beginning to adapt to the behavior that they see on TV and what is on social media. Psychologists many years ago stated that people are influenced by what they see on television and now more than ever it is becoming more noticeable. An example of this would be the Bobo doll experiment done by a psychologist by the name of Albert Bandura; In which studied in social behavior and conducted an experiment that aggression can be acquired by observation and imitation. Just like in his experiment the young child had imitated what he had watched in the tv onto the doll in which some would say was a violent manner. As the shows we watch on television portray American families and American culture, young kids as well as people across the world have accepted these behaviors as the new norm and think because they viewed such things on television that this is the way we should act. Teenagers especially, are being influenced by what they see on TV and the Internet. It can be seen, as many kids are now dressing as how we here in America are dressing.
One aspect of other countries culture that has remained constant no matter how much globalization has expanded has been food. Although the way some countries prepare their food overlap with one another, every country has their own way of preparing food and also the food that they eat. I believe that food has remained constant and will remain constant, because parents prepare food everyday. A child grows up eating the food of his country and so will always have a taste for those foods. Although fast food chains such as McDonalds, KFC, and Burger King have expanded into other countries and have introduced that aspect of western culture, I don’t believe this will be enough to change a country’s identity regarding food. I think that the reason a country’s food identity will not change is because kids do not have the power to control it. In every other aspect of life, kids control their destiny but with food, parents and elders will continue to control it and therefore keep their local cuisines within each passing generation.
Globalization is slowly leading to the disappearance of other countries cultures. It is up to the parents and elders to make sure that the next generation of the youth maintains their culture. Throughout the many changes that globalization has brought to Jamaica and the many different aspects of them trying to become and establish themselves as a developing country. Globalization somewhat has a great influence on the expansion of one’s country and culture. Despite being “…face to face with uncertainty" when it comes to globalization all the factors that it sometimes can change ones culture, Jamaica has been able to remain somewhat the same as to keep their own culture, but as well as taking other cultures and mixing it into theirs; without losing themselves. Some cultures tend to change their traditions based on another country simply by just coming in and changing a few things around. But I think Jamaica has done fairly well sticking to their culture and traditions but as well as excepting new ones into the mix.
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