REFLECTION: International Perception

“Tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where peoples are becoming more and more closely interconnected. People of different religions and cultures live side by side in almost every part of the world, and most of us have overlapping identities which unite us with very different groups. We can love what we are, without hating what – and who – we are not. We can thrive in our own tradition, even as we learn from others, and come to respect their teachings” (Kofi Annan).

After 11 weeks of studying International Media and Communications here at UOW, I would have to say that my perceptive of the outside world has ultimately broadened. This time last year I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it truly meant to live in a globalized society, thinking that simply knowing about the customs of other counties and eating multicultural foods meant you were a global citizen. Now, having attended all my lectures, having read the works of several scholars and having participated in many interesting and somewhat heated class discussions, I have come to the conclusion that the concept of globalization is far more complex than I could have ever imagined. Firstly I learned that although the world is becoming more interconnected there is still a hybrid co-existence between Parochialism and globalization.

Through studying several aspects of the international media landscape in terms of Film, Television and News I found out that our individual perception of the outside world is shaped by what we see. This can narrow our perspectives by offering a limited viewpoint of other cultures or promoting Americanization but at the same time things like media capitals and  international education can increase our global awareness and create a sense of inter connectivity.

After studying this subject I learned that in order for globalization to work there need to be a healthy balance between the concepts of both assimilation and separation in the sense that we as global citizens need to learn to assimilate and adapt to cultures other than our own but at the same time we need to promote the cultures of our heritages so we do not loose our cultural identities. As Kofi Annan the former Secretary General of the United Nations States…

“We can thrive in our own tradition, even as we learn from others, and come to respect their teachings”

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Hip Hop (An International Langauge)

Hip Hop has come a long way since its spawn into the underground culture of the1970’s New York, Bronx. Today it exists as this dominating global phenomenon that operates in every city across the world. That’s right Hip Hop is globalization in action and though it can be labeled a single genre or style, it is far more complex than just that. Hip Hop is a dynamic being that exists on both a local and a global scale. It is a Hybrid force that somehow manages to mix the mainstream with the niche, the traditional with the modern and the secluded with the united.

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In order to better explain let’s take a little look into what Hip Hop is.’ A music genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. It developed as part of hip hop culture, a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching, break dancing, and graffiti writing’ (THANKS WIKIPEDIA!).  But what it can really be defined as like most music is a medium for expression. Hip Hop originally started as a “voice” for the disenfranchised youth of low-economic areas, a means for minorities express their feelings on inequality and a way to ignite a sense of brotherhood and hope. Hip hop is a little bit different nowadays though, ( I mean I’m not sure what Nicki Minaj shaking her ass has to do expression of inequality but who am I to judge). The point I am trying to make however is that this ideology of Hip Hop being an outlet for the misunderstood youth is what allows it to gain such influence on a global scale.

Hip Hop can be found everywhere from America to Guatemala, from Japan to Australia, From London to Iran, it’s huge and with each locational region comes a new flare to to the genre. That’s what I was talking about when I said it combines the local with the global. It is a universal style that adapts to its location. Not only is it cross cultural but it is becoming less gender specific with artist Like M.I.A  reaching critical acclaim. She alone is a perfect example of intonational Hip Hop being a London artist having grown up in Sri Lanka.

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Take a look a Die Antwoord for example they are white, South Africans whose music makes constant reference to Asian sub cultures. They are a strange hybridity that falls into the niche market even though they are played on mainstream radio and they mix traditional South African culture with modern rave beats.

Now I’m not saying Hip hop is a beacon sent by God to free the oppressed and outspoken…

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I mean seriously, Hip Hop reinforces some intense negative stereotypes and racial profiling. Not to mention the promotion of violence, drugs, vanity, murder, and sexism. On a shallow level when you think of Hip Hop, I’m sure you think of Male African American ‘gangsters’ with their baggy pants, shinny grills, jewellery, drugs and guns; with the way some Hip Hop artist act, its not surprising that you might think that. Have you ever played GTA San Andreas? that has to be one of he most derogatory games in existence (it is also one of the greatest I might add, best GTA thus far).

I’m not sure if all aspects of Hip Hop Culture should be considered good, but one thing I am sure of is that Hip Hop is a international phenomenon that exists on a massive scale  and that it is only going to continue to flourish in this global society.