Multicultural Tension

Topics: Human skin color, Culture, Indigenous peoples Pages: 6 (2150 words) Published: November 15, 2010
Multicultural Tension:
Mexico’s Globalization Dilemma

The main idea of Othello is a man not really fitting into his surroundings. He is accepted in society, marries the daughter of a well known senator, and leads their armed forces. Yet underneath is all, Othello is still the “Moor,” still the man with different colored skin who stand out from the rest. Mexico faces a similar situation in the nature of relations between the native population and the descendants of the conquering Spaniards. Shakespeare weaves the story to demonstrate that there are still cultural disparities which turn out to make all the difference, and this is mirrored in Mexico as well. Shakespeare uses his character, Othello, to make a strong argument that race and ethnicity serve as an obstacle to globalization in a multi cultural world and Mexico validates this observation.

Shakespeare as Political Theorist
The tragic story of Othello demonstrates that the force of identity and cultural differences interferes even in the best of circumstances. Despite being radically un-Venetian, Othello has won himself a prominent place in Venetian society as leader of the military forces. His heritage as “the Moor” may have even helped build him this aura of mystery and power. At first, it seems as though racism is not a worry or a problem, the integration of multi cultural globalization seems smooth. Under the surface, though, the transition has not been nearly as complete or total as it seems. What proved to be Othello’s downfall is one of the very trophies of just how accepted into local cultural he has become: his Venetian wife Desdemona. Wily Iago uses the cultural background that Othello is not familiar with as a springboard for dissention Othello’s assimilation into the culture was not complete because he was different and there was someone around to remind him of his differences. His features were different, his speaking considered harsh, and he was often referred to as “the Moor” rather than by his proper name. He was physically different, but also in his own mind he had set himself apart. This allowed Iago, representative to very easily undermine the multi cultural cooperation taking place. Iago easily convinces Othello that Desdemona would soon leave him for someone of her own ethnicity. Iago sets the seed of doubt by observing, “As, to be bold with you, not to affect many proposed matches of her own clime, complexion, and degree, whereto we see in all things nature tends” (133). This statement implicitly suggests that Desdemona could never truly be happy with Othello when a handsome Italian was around. At the root of this argument that Iago used is the struggle between cultural assimilation and relations.

Othello and Barber
Benjamin Barber frames the conflicts of the future as two factions fighting ruthlessly against each other, and, as he applies it, against democracy. His idea, however, can also be supported by a past example in Othello. These two groups Barber writes about are Jihad and McWorld. McWorld is drawing everyone together based on mutual needs. Resource sharing, scientific information sharing and technological sharing are all aspects that require free flow of ideas. This is necessarily followed by a common language and common currency which allow sharing to be less inhibited which in turn allows even more progress and discovery. There are some groups, however, who realize that this internationalism is eating away at their individual identity. Clothes are becoming homogenized, language and food is all melting together to form a world with only marginal differences. These groups do not like this because they feel it encroaches on the very definition of which they are and so they devote themselves to fighting against it. Iago might not have said it right out in the play, but when Othello named Cassio as lieutenant rather than him, a talented military hero, Iago felt anger that a foreigner would shake up the...
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