Follow by Email

StatCounter

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Outliving my Culture



Cultures change and evolve. . . and pretty much disappear. I'm pushing 60, which gives me a good half century of being old enough to really observe the world around me.

I grew up in a mill town. Workers were heavily recruited from rural agricultural Quebec. They lacked the vocabulary for an industrial world, so they made one up. Between the ancient origins of the Quebec French Patois and the new words, it became a unique local language. It's different enough that local people going back to Quebec to visit thought the Quebecois spoke funny.

The Catholic church had a huge influence over the day to day life of people. Not only did they wield spiritual power, they had political power. One priest was annoyed that the trail would blow its whistle during his sermons. The priest had enough pull to get the railroad to reschedule the train.

Only a small part of the mill remains. The language is being spoken by fewer and fewer people. The Catholic church has been greatly reduced in size and power. The culture I grew up in is disappearing.

So what happened? My people learned English to get ahead and adapted to the larger American culture. While I'm proud of my origins, I don't regret that we've changed as a people. Adapt and survive. We'll retain a number of unique features, the stuff that we love and makes our lives better.

A lot of people are worried about immigrants coming in and overwhelming the country with their culture. If that happens it will be because the American culture is less attractive than whatever the new people bring. I'm not too worried about that happening. Historically, the United States was able to absorb huge numbers of immigrants.

Yes, new peoples influence our country, but it's mostly the good and fun things, like new types of food and drink. Also, we get some new holidays to party down to.

I've watched my culture change, but I've seen my people adapt and thrive. It's a trade off that most people are willing to accept. Even if they aren't, it's what usually happens. The transition can be easy or it can be hard, but it's going to happen.

-Sixbears



11 comments:

  1. Sad at times, but definitely true. Adapt or die.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have no problem with immigrants until they demand I change to accommodate their culture. Assimilation is a two way street, but if I have to change because they are offended by something I have done all my life, my tolerance begins to wane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never said it was an easy process.

      Delete
  3. I do have concerns regarding the influx of immigrants. My main concerns are....how are we going to feed and house them? If we keep growing pretty soon there won't be enough. Further, I don't believe I should have to learn their language e.g. Spanish. Were I to move to France or Germany or the Czech Republic I would need to learn their language in order to fit in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most of them feed and house themselves. They get jobs and work. The smart ones realize they need English to get ahead. My son-in-law from Turkey fired his cook because the guy refused to even try to learn English.

      Delete
  4. As an immigrant I strove to become American and assimilate simply because I did not to be the odd man out. Today thirty five years later no one would know unless I told them. Sadly I fear the recent batch of imports have no desire to do so, in fact the fundamental ethos in their culture conditions them against it. Not sure I understand how this contributes anything positive to the cultural enrichment of America. In fact I find it quite disheartening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome and glad you came here!

      Sometimes it takes a generation or two for assimilation to take place.

      Delete
  5. that was meant to read "did not want to be"..

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have to agree with all of the above. If an immigrant wants to change America into more like the country they left, that's called colonization, not immigration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right. Most get assimilated over time, however.

      Delete