Monday, November 15, 2010

Who are the cultural imperalists?

Gary Arndt, in a piece about some travelers' false expectations when traveling to foreign countries, made this point about so-called cultural imperialism:

When an ethnic restaurant opens up in a western country, that’s diversity. When a western restaurant opens up in a non-western country, that’s cultural imperialism. If diversity is good for us, why isn’t it good for others? Preservation of culture is considered an asset when practiced by other countries, but a liability when practiced at home. There are more Chinese restaurants in the US than McDonald’s, Burger Kings, Wendy’s and KFCs….COMBINED. I don’t think anyone is worried about a Chinese cultural takeover of America. A few McDonald’s and Starbucks overseas is hardly an invasion. Author Rachel Laudan noted the response by one of her Mexican friends who was criticized for serving Italian food; “Why can’t we eat spaghetti, too?”

Be sure to read all of The Futile Quest for the Authentic Experience.
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