Monday, September 14, 2009

Diasporas in International Communication

After finishing the assigned readings for this week, the one that impacted me the most was Karim H. Karim’s, “Re-viewing the ‘National’ in ‘International Communication’: Through the Lens of Diaspora”. It impacted me, because I can relate to the points Karim makes in this reading, having recently moved to the United States from Puerto Rico. Some of the points that I found to be most important are: the linkages the media and new technologies provide diasporas with their home country and culture, the hope some diasporas hold of returning home at some point, the nomadic like migrations with the objective of obtaining better career and business opportunities, and the comfort of interacting with people you can easily relate to, from places similar to your country.

The media and new emerging technologies now allow a strong link between diasporas and their homeland. Taking the example Karim mentioned of Univision, the largest Spanish-language U.S. network and how it is also available on the majority of cable systems in Latin America. Watching Univision and Telemundo is a way of keeping contact with the Latin community. Another example is newspapers; right now I can go online and read all the headlines that were in the newspaper today in Puerto Rico, and I don’t have to wait for anyone to let me know. I can also listen to music that is playing on the radio stations and hear the headlines they give on radio talk shows, everything over the internet. Cell phones are another strong linkage to keep alive friendships, business contacts, and get in touch with family.

For many years, Puerto Rico has had a constant migratory cycle with the U.S. Puerto Ricans move to the United States to look for better jobs with more pay and a better quality of life, but most of us plan on returning some day because the cultural bond is very strong and also being away from family is hard. Not all who migrate return to the Island, but many of us do, sometimes various times during the course of our lives.

I personally think that the salad bowl analogy describes the United States better than the melting pot, because although we do acquire some of the cultural values from the American culture be it through: television broadcasting, radio, or everyday life, we still keep most of the values and traditions from our homeland. At first, it is a great culture shock and Puerto Rico is not that far away from the US and we’ve always had some kind of influence from American culture, so I can’t even begin to imagine what people from other countries go trough to adjust. It takes some time to get used to the change, that’s probably the reason why Latin Americans tend to form a very quick bond with other Latinos because of the culture similarities.

With a population that grows more diverse every day, the integration of international workers to the workforce and international businesses to the economy has become an important part of our lives nowadays. As Silvio Waisbord mentioned in “Media and the Reinvention of the Nation”, not even Hollywood is a “pure” American creation anymore. Now Hollywood has investors from all around the world, without which they wouldn’t be able to produce their films. Also now there are different cultural influences (Asian, European, and Latin American) which are reflected in the films. For this reason, international communication is very important so diversity can be managed in a efficient and beneficial manner, and taking the diasporas into consideration is an important point.

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