Cultural Hybridization

Bhabha states in “Questions of Cultural Identity”  (pg 54) “This ‘part’ culture, This partial culture, is the contaminated yet connective tissue between cultures- at once the impossibility of culture’s containedness and the boundary between. It is indeed something like culture’s ‘in-between’, baffling both alike and different.”

My cafe discussion felt that this quote encompasses his argument of cultural hybridity and how partial culture’s are the ‘nodes’ that sprout from bigger cultures and keep its network of cultures connected. Growing up in NYC as first generation  Americans and 1.5 generation immigrants (A person who immigrated to a new country before becoming a teenager) have shaped our culture and traditions. Culture being a component of identity that is learned and not inherited is reflected in our accents, religious views and practices, social and moral ideologies and more. Being Dominican American, born and raised in the Bronx, NYC was definitely a colorful salad of partial cultures and traditions that my family and community upholds collectively and individually. In the house hold verses the streets, in school verses youth pop culture, verses hegemonic views of being a Hispanic female and so much more. Faced with a sea of ‘diasporic encounters’ (cultural communities and international influences within NYC) finding my cultural identity was not limited to my parents traditions but compiled with my life experiences and the cultures surrounding me.

In NYC, the ‘Inner-City’ Youth Culture is mostly based around music and the collaboration and combination of cultural music styles and dances to make a uniquely NYC style. For Kasia, Pipe, and I we argued that in NYC, Harlem is one of the biggest youth cultures mecca’s. I know what you must be thinking Harlem?! Cultural Mecca?! Well, Yeah! Harlem being a place that we go to culturally and the REAL Heart of NYC (Diversity/ Multicultural). Harlem is home to many of the famous dance styles or play a role in styles  that stereotypically African American youth take part in such as the Real Harlem Shake, Aunt Jackie, Cat Daddy, Toe Hop, Dougie, Get Lite, etc…

—–This is The Real Harlem Shake—-

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—–This is Get Lite——

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Some other examples of Hybride Culture through Music that is becoming very popular internationally and practiced here in my community and That I personally partake in along with the ones shown above while growing up and more recently is…

Azonto (Originated in Ghana and is spreading throughout Africa and Taking over the world)

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El Choque ( originated in Colombia and spread throughout Latin America and increasingly popular among hispanic american youth and club dance settings)

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At St. Lawrence University students from diverse communities like NYC find it difficult to commit to one identity or group. For example one of the most interesting experiences within the first couple of weeks of school is Club/Organization Fair because this is where people think of how they are going to express their complex  identities in the University setting and for some students like me, might struggle between the decision to join the Black Student Union or La Sociedad Hispana. Growing up in the 718 (Bronx area code) youth who were ethnically Hispanic or 1st generation american identified more culturally with African American culture (music, slang, swag, fashion, etc) although speaking Spanish or a Second language with parents and the cuisine prepared at the dinner table.

This passed weekend was Africa Night and here students united to experience/ share a Pan African Identity or partial cultural connection through dance, music, language, tradition, and practices (I.E. on campus BSU, AFS, ASIA, La Sociedad Hispana and other cultural events).


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