Monday, January 12, 2009

Cultural Hybridization?

A couple of facts stated in "What Is Race, Anyway?" triggered my imagination. When I read that "interracial marriages have quadrupled in the last 20 years" and that "intermarriage blurs the line between races," I started thinking about how it may be blurring the line between ethnicities (and therefore culture) as well. People of different ethnicities, which can partly be defined by “race” (as in skin color) have distinct cultural traits— unique traditions and beliefs. If categories are being defied as a result of people passing their physical traits on to children, then it seems logical that cultural categories aren't sufficing either. I speculated on what the distant future might bring with continuing intermarriage of people from various regions. Will it someday lead to the creation of a sort of global "race"—defined as skin color I suppose—since people will have mixed so much that eventually there is little distinction? Will people be so exposed to other ideas and lifestyles that one day there will be little difference among cultures, and maybe instead an overall “global culture” resulting from years of hybridization? This may sound out there, but think about how life will change if over a long period of time people constantly become more aware of the world around them. Right now knowledge of foreign languages is regarded as increasingly important because businesses are going global. “More Americans are foreign born than ever before” and are having kids who “often marry outside their nationality.” Who knows how world-minded humanity will become. A global culture may sound detrimental to individuality, but on the bright side it might at least help everyone get along a little better.

And an unrelated note about something I noticed in the article, since science was a big focus: Olson stated that "according to recent studies, only a small percentage of the differences between human beings are accounted for by genes we now associate with race." Well, duh. There's hardly much to differ in human genes anyway; we share 99% of the genetic makeup of chimpanzees, so humans can't be all that different from each other scientifically in regard to race or anything really.


Becca K. said...

Hmmm...a world race. Now that as a thought sounds like the very thing this world needs right now. We are caught up in wars against people who aren't that different than us. We let petty differences get in the way of advancing our society. You raise some good points about interracial marriage leading eventually to people being unable to distinguish between one skin color and another. For me, this definitely wouldn't be a bad thing, but the blending of cultures might turn out differently. If we blend all the cultures and traditions of the world together, some things are bound to be lost. We would probably try to pick the best of each culture and eliminate the worst. But who's to say what parts of different cultures should stay or go. It almost seems that by attempting to become a global race and ethinicity, we would become more divided. By trying to join together, we would move farther apart. I like your unrelated note--way to point out that some scientific studies simply state the obvious.

Kevin said...

I also thought about how the world would be with increased interracial marriage. We would probably have a common skin color, as you said, that would normally determine our race. I think we might just start using other categories that we have now besides race to group people, or even come up with entirely new ones.

Gena R. said...

"It almost seems that by attempting to become a global race and ethinicity, we would become more divided." Nicely said. I liked your thoughts on that Becca.