Kwame Appiah The Case For Contamination Analysis

1352 Words 6 Pages
In “The Case for Contamination,” Kwame Appiah discusses the positive effects of globalization. Appiah defines globalization as the “contamination of cultures,” or the process in which different cultures share their ideas and products with other cultures resulting in the spread of diverse concepts and goods. Appiah acknowledges the concern of cultural preservationists—people who want to ensure that other cultures maintain their customs for the sake of remaining “authentic”-- that globalization would result in a homogenous society where one culture overwhelms other cultures, thus erasing them. However, Appiah prioritize the ability of people to select certain aspects of cultures they enjoy. In fact, he refers to such people as “cultural consumers,” …show more content…
He talks about Guinness, Coca-Cola, and T-shirts that come from the West when speaking about influence from other countries. The first world country status of Western countries is an attribute to their likability. Therefore, he realizes that Western culture is extremely likable. From my personal experience and interactions with people from Ethiopia, people believe that in order to achieve militaristic, economic, and societal greatness, they need to model themselves after the actions of Western nations. The mimicry of Western culture by developing nations can be as simple as having the same product as the people in Western nations. As a person who was born and raised in Ethiopia, a developing nation, I understand the nature of this mimicry. The people around me bought Western items under the impression that the greatness of Western countries would pass onto them through the items. Unfortunately, for those people, these Western product brands tend to be cheaper than Ethiopian brands. These two factors combine powerfully to corner cultural consumers into one single choice: the Western choice, which is the cheaper choice. In my experience, this lack of choice is even prevalent in Western nations where cultural consumers are supposed to have a variety of choice due to the economic status of these …show more content…
It is highly evident in the case of conformity. As a child in Ethiopia, I felt the need to conform not only because of my peers but also because of Ethiopia’s overwhelming love towards America and other Western countries. When I lived in Ethiopia, I attended a private school with strict rules regarding our uniforms. The school did not allow its students to wear sneakers. However, with the introduction of Skechers, a popular Western sneaker brand, students began to break the rule. As the popularity of these sneakers rose in the school, my sisters and I begged our parents for a pair. When our parents complied, we were ecstatic. When I walked onto my school’s playground, my friends came running and said, “Wow! Are these Skechers? They look so cool!” Those shoes made me so popular that a group of students asked me to join their Skechers Only Club. The students with Skechers disliked and bullied those without Skechers. The students who did not have Skechers were called poor, stupid, and were regarded as losers. Their status and popularity dropped. We not only abandoned our cultural sandals in place of a Western product, we also disobeyed a rule. The Skechers’ popularity was so overwhelming in America that many of the students felt the need to have them. Although Appiah may argue that wearing sneakers is our choice, I feel that the pressure assimilate Western products enticed us to compromise our own culture because we

Related Documents