“They’re destroying our culture!”
Nothing is more sacred to us than our deepest sense of identity, and anything that threatens said identity really seems to bring out some sort of primal rage in us. For some, a threat to the majority culture of the country provokes the rage. For others, it’s the threat of some minor, marginalized culture becoming extinct that provokes the knee-jerk reaction of grave concern.
But they’re both missing the point. Culture isn’t an established system of perfection that must be preserved at all costs. Culture is us.
It’s our words, our thoughts, our actions. It’s our way of living, our way of working, our way of playing. It’s our manner of loving, our manner of fighting, our manner of mourning our loss and misfortune. It’s what gives us comfort and sense of purpose when all other moorings have failed us. Culture, quite simply put, is all of us, and the footprints our lives collectively leave behind.
As such, as we collectively change, so does the culture. We can’t “lose our culture,” our culture simply morphs to more effectively serve as our mirror. To preserve the memory of a past culture is to preserve the memory of our past. But to try to preserve and keep current a culture that is no longer current is to force us to be what we are not. It is to live a lie.
Celebrate our culture. Celebrate its ingredients. Celebrate cultures past. But remember, our culture is a pie baked from the ingredients that constitute our current reality. To keep baking it with the same recipe of the past means using old, stale ingredients… and that’s not going to make for a yummy pie.
Fresh culture pie for all!