Presently, the United States dominates global traffic in information and ideas. (4) American music, movies, television, software, products are so dominant, sought after and visible that they are now available everywhere on the earth. They influence many lives and aspirations of virtually every nation. Several aspects of American influence are deemed corrupting. Are we really influencing other countries to become capitalistic, greedy, violent, and have low morals? It depends on how one feels about the "American culture." I would be the first to admit that not every movie or television presents the United States in the best light. From taking a personal trip to Germany and watching their television, I can surely say our influence is there. I cannot think of too many American shows that I did not see on German television. Several of the Muslim countries are having a hard time convincing Muslim women to remain deep in tradition. The U.S. influence is reaching many Muslim women who are tired of covering themselves. Some may argue that the American culture are helping many women of other nations "see the light" and stand up for their rights. I have my personal views, but am I right for judging another religion? Then is the story on the women of Fiji. Dr. Anne Becker, director of research at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center of Harvard Medical School, investigated shifts in body image and eating practices in Fiji over a 3-year period. It seems that in the culture large women was the norm and preferred. But shortly after the television was introduced to their island and they started watching American shows like Bay watch, Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place, there was a high percentage of women on the island with an eating disorder. The Studies began in 1995. Here are a few of the figures:
Dr. Becker even reported several of the students telling her they wanted to look more like the women they saw on television.
In almost any country there will be a coca-cola logo or some product that comes from the United States. American music is played worldwide along with our movies and television shows. It is too early too see what long-term impact this will have on many of these countries, but is it the fault of the United States? There does not seem to be a structured plan to take over the cultures of the world. Is the United States obligated to ensure that other countries do not lose their cultural values? Is there a potential for cultural arrogance? Is there all ready cultural arrogance? Why are countries trying to protect their cultures from us? Are their native cultures not strong enough to withstand influence and change on its own?
Well the responsibility lays on the United States as well as the rest of the world. If you look at the multi-national corporations in the world, they are more interested in selling products and services rather than taking over a country’s culture. The Time Warner’s and Coca-Cola’s of the United States "could fund native entrepreneurs wishing to create local cultural industries." The truth is that Americans hardly understand, let alone respect, the culture of much of Asia, Europe or the Islamic world. The Asian and Middle Eastern languages, keys to these unknown cultures, are not widely taught. And without knowledge there can hardly be respect. Without respect, there cannot be a way of living that will help us all to avoid the conflicts, bloodsheds and genocides of the last century. And even within our own country there is much work to be done. Racism is widespread; amid prosperity, there is a coldhearted and pessimistic approach to the poor; xenophobia, once thought dead, is making a comeback. Even within our own church, we see signs of intolerance and exclusion in the abusive rhetoric that some feel free to use.