Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Lois Osborne
Last updated: March 15, 2019
Kwame Anthony Appiah in his article The Case forContamination discusses three interconnected issues cultural diversity,globalization, and ethical contemplation. The author describes two roles thatreligion plays within all these issues.
This essay presents the opinion ofKwame Anthony Appiah regarding multiethnic unity expressed in the New YorkTimes article The Case for Contamination. The author claims that multiethnicunity is a tool that can be used to achieve deeper comprehension of religiousmultiplicity and distinctiveness. It also can be used to avoid the erosion ofreligious conviction into a secular hypothesis subjugated by the ideals of thecrowd.Appiah argues that, on one hand, religion can be used constructively tosafeguard culture during times of globalization. It helps people to upholdtheir unique cultural practices while being subjected to external globalizationforces e.g.
media. Religion can help to preserve cultures and their customs asthe globalization process accelerates. For instance, Appiah mentions theincident of an extremely devout Zulu man Sipho from the state of South Africa.He was devoted to his cultural customs and beliefs while also being impacted byglobalization agents such as television. He watched American TV programs andwas enjoyed the show called Days of Our Lives. He claims that this soap operahelped him comprehend and improve his relations with his father. However, thereare still several aspects of the soap opera that remain unaccepted to Sipho andpeople of his culture e.g.
a woman dating before she is 20. On the other hand,the impact of religion on the development of globalization can be damaging.Conservatives fear globalization and are convinced of its destructive effect ontheir beliefs. There are two approaches according to which it is possible totackle the concerns of conservatives cultural and economic. In terms ofculture, the introducing of Western beliefs impacts the culture via grandmedia, as asserted by Herbert Schiller in Appiahs article. · 1. Mario Fernando Miralles II June 14th, 2015 Analysis on “The Case forContamination” Many people who advocate for the preservation of cultures areestablishing a disservice to the progress of women’s rights.
Article Two of theUNESCO Convention (2005), for example, talks about the “principle of equaldignity of and respect for all cultures.” While this may seem like a humaneposition on the importance of cultural diversity it is, in fact, an endangeringviewpoint to the push for women’s rights. This is discussed widely in KwameAnthony Appiah’s (2006) “The Case for Contamination”. In it, the topic ofwomen’s rights as a global responsibility (which is also viewed as ‘culturalimperialism’ imposed by highly developed countries) is questioned as to whetherthis perception is endangering the cultural norms and traditions of countriesaround the world. Appiah talks extensively on the subject of globalization onhow many traditions and customs are being threatened by the emergence ofdominating cultures from more developed countries.
She uses the example of howbaseball caps, radio programs that talk about western figures and brands likeCoca-Cola are entering foreign lands and are having an impact on citizens. Amain reason for this is that these products make economic sense for theimpoverished. “They have no real choice,” the culturalpreservationists say. “We’ve dumped cheap Western clothes into theirmarkets, and they can no longer afford the silk they used to weartraditionally” (Appiah, 2006). But the bigger issue remains on how these”Western values” are affecting key areas that do not agree in the way in whichmen and women behave, such as in the US.
Islamic culture in Afghanistan, forexample, restricts women from many things including going out in public· 2. withouttheir husbands or without wearing their burqas to cover their faces (Chiovenda,2012). These “culturally diverse” norms which cultural preservationists feelthe need to defend are damaging to the rights of Afghan women. Theinterventions by the US and NATO have assisted in gradually transitioning theperception of equality among the region in order to empower women within theircountry. Some would see this sort of intervention as invasive to statesovereignty or aggressive in its demands for a country like Afghanistan torelinquish its identity. Appiah would argue that this is not the case.
Sheintelligently replies that countries do not have to surrender their culturaldiversity in order to do what is proper in the sense of human rights for women.It may be considered for some to be ‘cultural imperialism’ simply based on thenotion that these campaigns for women’s rights are being championed by Westernpowers like the US and Europe. However, we can support cultural changes in thebenefit of progressive human rights without the need to sacrifice culturalidentity and diversity. With the ever expanding spread of ideas and informationwith tools like the Internet, many cultural practices that are harmful orprohibit freedoms and rights will eventually become obsolete. It is one thingto preserve culture as in history, arts, and identity; it is another topreserve cultures as in outdated, stagnant, and wrongful traditions, especiallythose that limit women’s rights