The link between popular culture and immigration has been the subject of numerous studies for years. Television and print news sources in the United States have explored popular culture and issues of immigration in different ways. The popular culture landscape has been characterized by a multidirectional public discourse regarding immigration and Americanness. As a result, popular culture has continued to play a major role in creating and defining key events and moments in the history of immigration. Due to the perceived link between these two concepts, popular culture has been integrated into immigration studies. In their book, Immigration and American Popular Culture, Rubin and Melnick contend that popular culture has traditionally been a critical collective place for issues relating to immigration politics and ethics. This paper examines the veracity of this statement based on the perceived link between popular culture and immigration.
Popular Culture and Issues of Immigration
According to Rubin & Melnick, popular culture has long been an important collective processing site for questions concerning the politics and ethics of immigration (p.1). This implies that popular culture has continued to be the platform upon which issues of immigration are evaluated. These authors further contend that popular culture has been the platform on which Americanness and otherness are constantly evaluated and determined. The role of popular culture in answering questions relating to the ethics and politics of immigration is depicted in movies and television shows that highlight the immigrant experience. For instance, Men in Black II examines the immigrant experience by invoking certain frameworks and stories in relation to the latest immigration culture.
To support their view that popular culture is the arena for evaluating and negotiating issues on immigration, Rubin & Melnick contend that it is impossible to separate immigration from popular culture (p.3). This is primarily because immigrants and the American popular culture have essentially developed each other. This is evident in the fact that immigrants were at the very core of popular culture production and imagery. Since immigrants played a critical role in the development of popular culture, it is nearly impossible to separate immigration from American popular culture. Rubin & Melnick postulate that immigrants have shaped the production of popular culture, consumed the American popular culture, and are used as the subject matter of popular culture imagery and production.
The Veracity of the Claim
Based on insights obtained from this course and course materials, I agree with Rubin and Melnicks claim on the role popular culture plays in providing answers to questions on the politics and ethics of immigration. This claim is supported on grounds that a strong link exists between immigration and popular culture. As evident in their book, Rubin and Melnick provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that immigrants are not only consumers of popular culture, but have…cultures that became dominant over the Native American culture. As a result, American life and popular culture are defined by the traditions and lifestyles of dominant cultures brought by European settlers. Native American culture became marginalized though it still plays a minimal role in shaping popular culture in the United States.
Jamaican immigrants shaped the popular culture through innovative ways into integrate themselves in the American cultural mainstream (Rubin & Melnick, p.15). As part of acculturation and assimilation, Jamaican immigrants integrate themselves into mainstream American culture using new sound technologies. For example, they invented hip hop in Bronx in the 1970s. The new sound technologies introduced by Jamaican immigrants have continued to shape American music to date. Through this invention, these immigrants played a major role in influencing popular culture in America in the modern era. They have made music to become a key element in American postmodern art.
In conclusion, immigration and popular culture are two concepts that have been the subject of numerous studies, particularly in recent years. Immigration and popular culture are strongly linked since immigrants shaped popular culture production and imagery. Popular culture has been a critical element in processing issues relating to the ethics and politics of immigration. As evident in the experiences of African American, Native Indians, and Jamaican immigrants, immigration influenced the production and consumption of popular culture. Since immigration has significantly influenced American life, popular…
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