Multiculturalism - Waxing or Waning?
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 98 16:34:34 -0700
Subject: Multiculturalism - Waxing or Waning?
Re: Why Dutch Drug Policy Threatens the U.S.
Forwarded-by: Daniel Steinberg <email@example.com>
Thanks for an interesting and lucid article. I don't have any issue with
any of your points about drugs, but your statement:
"We inhabit an increasingly multi-cultural world..."
reminded me of another article i read only yesterday, which presents a
different view. Here are some relevent excerpts:
"But now come the storm troppers of homogenization, the food technologists
at Pillsbury, Campbell Soup, PepsiCo, Nestle, and Kraft, who have used their
deep-pocket marketing clout to dominate the grocery shelves and to gain
control of more than half of the Mexican-food market in the world, mostly
by snapping up regional companies and reengineering authentic products to
fit sales strategies. Apparently, to determine the level of 'spiciness' in
their Mexican edibles, these marketeers are all conducting their taste tests
on Norwegian-Americans in someplace like Scandinaviaville, Minnesota, where
they consider Miracle Whip to be 'a little zesty'. The new products of
these processors are about as Mexican as marshmallows.
"Indeed, at the Pillsbury Technology Center in Minneapolis...a twenty-member
team for the Mexican-food line includes not one Mexican or Mexican-American.
Christopher J. Policinski, who believe it or not is VP of Pillsbury's
Mexican-food subsidiary, essentially says his conglomerate does not care
about authenticity, pointing out that 'Internally, in our memos, we always
put the word Mexican in quotes'.
"Especially stinging to us Texans, though, is the betrayal of Pace Foods,
the once-proud San Antonio company that built a salsa empire on the jalapeno
plant... Today, Pace is the property of Campbell Soup, a New Jersey
company... Led by Pace's VP of Technology, Dr. Lou Rasplicka of Nebraska
(need i say more?), the company conducted a top-secret research project in
Hawaii to gringo-ize the jalapeno. Code-named 'Operation Big Chill' (who
comes up with this stuff?), the genetic crossbreeding project literally
removed all the capsicum from the pepper...
"Food historian Sidney Mintz of Johns Hopkins University notes that no-heat
jalapenos are a primo example of how the technocrats and corporatists of
the New World Food Order pretend to embrace a multicultural America, when
they actually are deculturalizing our country."
[from "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Strips and Dead
Armadillos", by Jim Hightower]
While communications and transportation have made multiculturalism
possible, it seems to me that homogenization comes right on the heels. The
numbing and conformist influences of television cannot entirely be to blame.
Consider all the Vietnamese women who underwent Americanization cosmetic
procedures when our servicemen were stationed there. Or the soaring
popularity of American music in Paris in the 1940's, and the increasingly
Westernized beats of music coming from African artists. It's just that what
used to be simple cultural exchange through random contact now seems to be
driven by commercial interests, with very specific targeting of world
markets. If anything, i think multiculturalism is slowly disappearing, as
the economics of world capitalism seek increasingly to package the fruits
of one culture into consumable commodities for the rest.
© 1998 Peter Langston