Critical Analysis of "Identity Crisis" and "Oppositional Dress"

Topics: Culture, Cultural assimilation, Zoot suit Pages: 3 (798 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Critical Analysis Of "Identity Crisis" and "Oppositional Dress"

In Minabrere Ibelema's essay "Identity Crisis", Ibelema suggests that the mainstream american culture is so powerful that all cultures conform to it. Ibelema does this by showing how the mass media portrays African Americans in relation to their cultural identity by using situation comedies as a measuring tool. Of the episodes Ibelema uses very few of them look at African Americans cultural identity. However, what they do is briefly address a cultural story line for one episode, but then revert back to the mainstream anglo programming. On the otherhand, Elizabeth Wilson says in her essay "Oppositional Dress" that sub cultures do exist in society and are strong enough to resist assimilation into the mainstream, and still exist on their own terms. Wilson proves her point by giving examples of sub cultures that appeared in society, and she shows that they still thrive today.On example Wilson uses is the hippie culture that evolved in the 1960's. She points out that hippies can be seen today in some areas of the United states, proving her point. She also mentions other movements like the Gay Liberation Movement, the Punk movement, and the Skin Heads, who can all be seen in some form today. In mainstream american culture some individual sub cultures do get lost in the mainstream, but are not forgotten, however most oppositional cultures resist assimilation into the main steam and continue to define themselves on their own terms.

In Ibelema's essay, he says that the mainstream culture is so strong that individual cultures assimilate into it. This proposition is not completely correct. The examples Ibelema uses are derived from situation comedies that are directed at a cross cultural mainstream audience. His point is that the African American culture is nonexistent, or assimilated because African American cultural values are not expressed fully in these sitcoms, thus they are a part of the...
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