The world would not be what it is today were it not for the effects of globalization. Without it, we would have never been able to do the things we take for granted today. From buying those imported fresh coffee beans we use to burn the midnight oil, to the Asian cultures we study about in our textbooks, and even the international roommates that spend a semester or two here, those and more are the results of globalization. Basically, globalization is defined as the exchanging of ideas, products, and culture between multiple countries. However, just as there are benefits that globalization has given us, there are severe and unfortunate consequences that result, some of which are unintended.
As the son of Filipino parents with Chinese descent, globalization indirectly contributed to where I am now. Had it not been for globalization, I would not have had access to the numerous opportunities I have by being born in the United States. The opportunities that my parents have been given, too, were a result of globalization's effects — if there were no established means of communication or transfer of ideas between the U.S. and the Philippines, my parents would've never had the idea of coming here and becoming what they are now. However, as my brother, at Georgia Tech, and I, here at UTK, study and enjoy the amenities that the U.S. and college life has to offer, I think about my extended family back in the Philippines and their way of life. Being in such a multicultural and diverse nation as the United States has helped me appreciate my Filipino descent and culture, and I have made it my goal to return to my roots and experience the culture and land that my parents, grandparents, and extended family call home. However, from what I have observed from the effects of globalization on other cultures, I've noticed that some traditions have disappeared due to it, and I constantly worry that it will happen to the Philippines, too.
I talk not just about "Americanization," but also effects that are greater than that — I talk about the gradual loss of many countries' cultures. Being in this technological era has caused an influx of people to city centers, and more aspects of what we could define as traditional, older customs are slowly dying out. I've read of reports about many languages, one of the pillars for culture propagation, dying out all over the world, as people try to find better lives and end up assimilating into other cultures.
Although our goal of promoting diversity is noble and well intended, the side effects result in the world losing pieces of culture, too. There is a certain irony about this, as I relate this to my own life. Globalization gave me the ability to appreciate the inherent value of different cultures, such as my own, but it also puts every culture at risk of being overshadowed and surpassed. With global communications at our fingertips, a culture can immediately surpass others and eat them up according to the social popularity of said culture.
The establishment of English as the lingua franca has no doubt contributed to the decline of many other languages, especially those existing with few speakers. At once, a culture can be wiped out if it doesn't seem "trendy" or popular with younger demographics, which are the future of the world. If nothing else, we should value each culture as having an equal, inherent value, as they are unique, collective perspectives of our world that have existed independently and long before our birth.
Each person should take pride in having a unique ethnic background. When I say pride, I mean pride in the sense of treasuring a unique collection of ideas with inherent value that have been developed for hundreds of years. For those from other foreign and international cultures, and even those here in the United States, I'm sure many understand this feeling. I just hope that when I do visit the Philippines, I will be able to immerse myself in the land and people that instilled my parents with their strong, hard-working natures.
— Jan Urbano is a junior in biochemistry and molecular biology. He can be reached at email@example.com.