partial cultural experience

For our discussion, we decided to focus on Bhabha’s argument on the “partial culture” and the varieties of subcultures within a supposed one cultural group. Tishara and I agreed with Homi Bhabha’s argument that a “partial culture” that we experience through diasporas of a particular culture (i.e. Indian, Italian, Chinese, African), we often mistake that small part of culture representing the whole culture. Frequently, the Diasporas or the people who are experiencing the culture change it, catering to a particular time and the place that the culture is being disposed at. I gave an example of Indian restaurant in the U.S. where the ingredients in Indian dishes served there would be designed in such a way that it caters to the American tastebuds usually by reducing its spiciness. As simple as this change may be it is still an alteration in the “authentic” experience that most people assume they are getting from going to an Indian restaurant.

However, Tishara focused on the racial aspect of experiencing culture as it pertains to Bhabha’s article because it demonstrates how broad the topic of culture is. She explained that it is specifically true for some students at St Lawrence who believe that by having a friend of color; it makes them so much more connected to the culture of that one individual. It allows people to assume that there is a shared experience among people who look the same. While this may be true, looks may be deceiving especially when it involves the cultural history and experience of some people.

A common example of this is the assumed “hey girlfriend” that is used by white people when greeting black females on campus. The greeting assumes that we are all from a culture where we speak to each other in “black vernacular.” Whether we do or we do not it negates the fact that there are people who do not identify with the lifestyle or language in American black culture. Black people and people of color come from different backgrounds as indicated in the article. Some are Caribbean, Latinos, French, Southern, etc, and the mannerisms and use of language vary among them all. Therefore, it is not correct to marginalize the culture of any group of people because they are more complex than we really think.

We all agreed that this is not only when the “West” encounters other cultures but rather when any group of people with different cultures come together and experience each other’s culture or part of the culture.


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