Many students, one globe!

Many students, one globe!

The way one perceives the world to be, vastly impacts the economy and well being of the individual. Our ideologies shape the world we live in today. Racism, religion and culture are mis-represented by society in the public sphere. As a result of uninformed, uneducated or biased opinions, ethnocentrism causes barriers between international and local students, which in turn creates a greater loss to the economy.

International education provides many benefits Australia. According to Marginson (2012), cultural competence may be obtained through effective interactions with international students; to be empathetic, understand divergent points of view, cope with ambiguity and uncertainty, think critically, and be conscious of different belief systems. Increasing cultural intelligence, and developing multi-cultural skills are a result of interacting commendably with ‘international students’. Marginson puts forward that these are essential skills to minimise racism, discrimination and wipe out ‘cultural fitting’.

diversity 

Judgement towards one’s values or beliefs of a particular culture may cause a substantial strain on our economical and self-growth as a society. Ethnocentrism is damaging to an individual’s ability to live freely, and learn infinitely. International students are often perceived as rich, lucky, or ‘taking over’ Australia. However, Marginson overtly disagrees. By focusing on the positive outcomes of international education, Marginson denotes that self formation and cultural competence is not fully achieved as a result of standardisation and assumptions of cultural superiority; a problem beginning from families who ‘host’ international students. The host’s subconsciously assume that the international students adjust, adapt and form an identity linked with Australian culture. A myriad of issues arise from this narrow belief or assumption; ‘cultural fit’. International students face identity issues, which in turn make it difficult to meet the necessities of survival rather than enjoy ‘voluntary adventure’. (Marginson 2012) International education benefits are universal to all aspects of the community. Therefore, we are clearly limiting our personal opportunity with each student who may have the ability to teach an individual the different elements of another culture. By marginalising our ideologies, we are constraining economic and self-growth.

international

Institutions and media are often negatively seen as the causality for racism amongst international students, however the core of the problem is the way individuals use these resources. Breaking down or altering prior values or belief systems may be difficult, therefore resources such as universities, may not provide the correct assistance in minimising racism. Therefore to escape Marginson’s idea of a parochial world and blur the distinctions between local and international students, it is necessary to make some intrinsic changes.

International students are often defined as short-term visitors, however this term isn’t so straightforward. Perhaps their “home town”, race or culture shouldn’t define international students. Instead consider all students as international students, due to their interactions with people from other cultures, their capabilities to teach or interact in cultural diverse environment. To achieve Marginson’s theory of a global formation and growth, it is essential in understanding Abdi’s ideology…‘we are all international students’.

Investigating Cultural Appropriation

Investigating Cultural Appropriation

Individuals are unpredictable. What offends one person may not offend the other, hence why cultural appropriation is often misunderstood. Roger defines cultural appropriation as “the use of a cultures symbols, artefacts, genres, rituals, or technologies by members of another culture.” However, cultural appropriation is more convoluted and may be blurred due to cultural diversity/globalisation. Cultural appropriation is the misuse, misrepresentation and distortion of another culture’s items – it involves wearing a sacred item, or take part in a tradition without permission. Examples of cultural appropriation are the misuse of the Bindi, Native American Headdress, Kimono and the Burqa. These are sacred items for religious, cultural and racial purposes, not for icons in pop-culture to steal for a fashion statement, nor to attract attention.

The Native American headdress, sexualised, and bastardised for the sake of a fashion show. An example of what not to do!
The Native American headdress is now sexualised, & bastardised for the sake of a fashion.
       An example of what not to do!

A recent example of cultural appropriation is the misuse of ‘cornrows’. Cornrows are traditionally worn by people of colour to maintain their hair. However, they have recently been worn by people of a white background, particularly used for a fashion statement. Kylie Jenner has created controversy by wearing this hair style in the media as some believe, ‘tells children of a wealthy, white background that they can wear and do what they want. Despite the positives for the ‘upper clas’ community, it unfortunately tells children of colour that they don’t own anything, not even if it belongs to their culture.

Kylie Jenner versus Amanda Stenberg Fashion versus Purpose
Kylie Jenner        versus      Amanda Stenberg    Fashion purpose    versus       Cultural Purpose

Understanding another culture is complex. Cultural exchange should be considered the same as plagiarism; if the exchange of an item is not accepted by the culture it belongs to, the item should not be used. The transnational film industry thrives off of portraying different cultures. Similar to ‘cornrows’, it is important to consider the ‘cultural context’. The film ‘Aloha’ received backlash for appropriating Hawaiian culture. Native Hawaiians feel their sacred word, ‘Aloha’ is bastardised because the title of the film does not match the storyline. According to Jusino, Aloha comes from two Hawaiian words: ‘alo’ — which means the front of a person, the part of our bodies that we share and take in people. And ‘ha,’ which is our breath. To outsiders, ‘Aloha’ is just a word. However to Hawaiians, the word ‘Aloha’ is ‘exchanging the breath of life.’ It is evident, film makers have used ‘Aloha’ in the incorrect context in order to gain money, therefore it is unjustified and inconsiderate to not only use a word that is significant to one’s culture.

Another element of cultural appropriation in the transnational film industry, is when an actor of one culture attempts to portray another culture. This may be problematic due to the fact all cultures are so diverse. Although the general public relate to, or are more entertained by well-known actors playing the role of a Hawaiian, the complexity of portraying one’s culture properly, in a film is barely possible. Misinterpretation and misrepresentation only lead to the creation of stereotypes. As you can see, representing another culture oppresses individuals.

If cultural exchange is forced, unaccepted or misrepresented, the true meanings of rituals, languages, traditions, dances and clothing items are misunderstood.

Clearly it is important to consider the significance of the item, or phrase you are going to use. Otherwise, it may offend or oppress another individuals culture. It is important to understand the difference between cultural diversity and cultural appropriation.