Does the prospect of Bengali Culture in America Look Gloomy? Part 2

By Amitava Sen

Dominance of American Culture.

Down in the mall between fast food joints and stores selling sportswear and sneakers, a group of young people huddle in clam-diggers or cargo shorts (Short pants extending below knee) and Nike sneakers with ears plugged in I-phone playing latest Justin Bieber song, watching young women passing by in DKNY and Yankees base ball hat, latte in one hand, conversing animatedly in English.

This is a common scene in a mall in America; except the mall referred to is not in America; the place is a mall in Calcutta. If you go to any mall in Calcutta this scene repeats itself everywhere. This is the age of pervasive dominance of American culture. With globalization of trade and business has come global Americanization of culture.

In our case, actually living in America, we have a formidable job, doubled up, if we want to evade it and shelter our children from it. Our children, the so-called second generation live this culture, breathe this culture and thrive in this culture. Are we serious when we expect our children to develop an appreciation and love for Bengali culture of their parents? The dominant culture achieves its dominance by controlling social institutions, such as communication, educational institution, artistic expression, law, political process and business. As their parents and guardians we have no power to affect and influence these cultural avalanche and create an environment conducive to a culture, which is distant and alien to them.

The advent and daily ascendancy of Internet, Facebook and Twitter dominate the flow of information and subsequently the behavior of the children almost all over the world. It is impossible to escape the black hole of technology and basically all that which our children have easy access to, is western in character. Our cultural heritage is fundamentally different. China can close their doors and windows, control the Internet access in their country but it can’t be done for the Chinese children or Indian Children who live in America. Can we realistically steer our children away from it?

Next time I want to discuss about the most significant part of the culture content, the language. Tune in if you will..

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