The Best Example of Cultural Assimilation

in culture •  3 months ago

Judged by the Content of Character


“Non-Summit” or 비정상회담 is a hit television show that
I’ve spoken about this broadcast before, previously focusing on the craziness that is foreigners learning the language and moving to Korea. But for this post, I wanted to underscore a particular quality of this type of cultural production that I find exemplary, and that is its perfect embodiment of what cultural assimilation is.

Progressives in the West go on ad nauseam on the topics of ‘intersectionality’ and ‘representation’ without a full understanding what the goals of actual cultural integration is. It often devolves into a numbers game or an issue of proportions, i.e. “black curators in museums with African artifact collections are underrepresented.” This for me is the most primitive way of thinking about diversity, relying solely on digits and skin color.

Ironically, a historically mono-ethnic country like Korea has managed to create a product of pure diversity and has completely leapfrogged the regressive potholes of ‘representation’. I’ll break down the nuances of why this show for me is such a great play forward.

1. Comedy and Laughing Both With and At One-Another


The show is hosted by well-known comedians and comedy-driven show hosts and the entire concept is for these individuals of wildly different backgrounds to share and compare their experiences, all in Korean of course. This creates jungle of conflicting ideas and shocking reveals. The show does an excellent job to make light of those deep divisions and the premise is to play with the diverse characters. Difference isn’t a point of contention here, rather, a medium for playful exchange. It is a safe space that breaks down safe spaces to great success.

2. Curiosity, That’s It


Many of the characters come from cultures and countries that are historically opposed to one another, either due to political or social tensions. There could easily be potholes and speed bumps of friction in the show. But again, the foundational quality of the show steers away from that, nurturing a place where people simply ask and brush off any potential opposition. Curiosity goes hand in hand with empathy - not forced nor demanded, simply as a quality of conversation.

3. Digging Deeper


Because this show is setting such an unusual precedent, one that even non-Korean speakers are fascinated in, many of the participants have become individual celebrities in their own right. The show has branched off into more personal broadcasts, such as when a few cast members accompanied Sam Okyere to Ghana and Tyler Rasch to his home in the US. The show has opened the door into cultures Korea is either only superficially aware about or completely unknown to them.

All in all, there’s a great deal to learn from this show, as it’s nestled in a country that is just now understanding how to diversify culture and accept new people into its society. It’s fairly heart wrenching to see the US, a place that has always relied on diversity, take it to such an extreme on both ends of the political spectrum, often causing violence and malcontent. Maybe CNN and FOX should have episodes of Non-Summit as part of their programming.

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I've never watched a full episode of this show (don't really find it interesting) but I can it has definitely had an impact on my life in Korea, especially adapting to the social structure of conversing in Korean. I can say more than 80% of the people I've met in Korea have to urge to say 'you should be on TV. your Korean is so good. you can be like Sam O, 영국남자, etc." It is very daunting, and often annoying, when I just want to have a regular conversation. I have been on TV a few times but it isn't anything to brag and boast about. It was OK but not my cup of tea. I don't know... maybe it is just a personal problem.

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Hahaa I apologize on behalf of all Koreans... I can definitely see how that's super annoying and Korea is definitely doing through a "tokenization" phase. Good for you for not getting swept up in that @normalbro. At least least the reactions are a lot different than even a decade ago when the stigmas of darker people were much more negative...

이프로를 보면서 항상 느꼈던점중 하나는 외국청년들은 우리나라청년들에 비해 역사관이 확실하고 전통성을 중시한다는 점을 느끼곤 했습니다. 얼핏보면 자유분방해 보이는 외국친구들이지만 그속엣 역사와전통을 중시하는 보수적인 내면을 느꼈습니다.
각국의 청년들과 소통하고 교류 하며 알아갈수 있는 이런 프로그램이 많아 졌으면 좋겠단 생각도 함께 해봅니다

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좋은 코멘 고맙습니다. 한국에 관련 주제를 가지고 이 토론의 다양한 외국 관점 보는것, 매우 흥미로웠습니다.

제가 좋아하는 프로그램을 소개해 주셨네요~^^ 다양한 관점을 바라보는 연습도 되면서 재미도 같이 챙길수 있는 것 같습니다.

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네 웃긴 부분도 그 문화 차이 대화하면서 하는것, 매우 재미있습니다!

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