M6D1: Fast Food Culture

Introduction

Scenario: Aminata and Ezra are discussing the effects of globalization as a form of modernization or Westernization of the world. Aminata points out all of globalization’s class and commercialized aspects—including the ubiquitous McDonald’s and Levis—that have negative effects on local cultures. For example, Western nations often purchase rainforests and valuable land overseas to graze cattle for cheap beef in fast food restaurants. Still, 8,000 children continue to die daily from hunger and malnutrition, around the globe, even while these Western franchises expand. They also sometimes employ child or slave labor to make many of their garments, in deplorable conditions, to import back to Western nations. She invokes the following African proverbs to lament the excessive materialism and lack of humanity reflected in globalization:

It is the human being that counts: I call upon gold, it answers not; I call upon cloth, it answers not; it is the human being that counts. ~Akan Proverb

and

An abundance of food at your neighbour’s will not satisfy your hunger. ~Bayaka Proverb

Ezra understands Aminata’s concerns but contends that globalization also produces many benefits including an increase in cross-cultural understanding, the transference of concerns for human rights and democracy, and the possibility for economic development. In fact, benefiting from one of these cross-cultural exchanges himself, Ezra quotes his American Zen teacher who often shares the famous koan: What do you call the world?

Ezra explains that while there is much suffering in the world, and we certainly should seize the opportunity for discussions and finding solutions, this koan is meant to get our minds to ask the important questions before reacting. What is the true nature of suffering? What is the real cause here? Can I effectively help a world that I see as separate from myself? Might it be more beneficial for me to deeply understand how the world is not something outside of myself that needs saving? Could daily mindfulness in my own small actions make more of an impact? (Kuruvilla, 2015).

This activity aligns with module outcomes 2 and 3.

Discussion Question

Prepare for your discussion by completing your readings and viewings. Then respond to the following:

  • Do you identify more with the position of Aminata or Ezra? What is your personal observation of these globalization issues, in light of what you learned from global ethical perspectives? Do the positives outweigh the negatives, or vice versa?
  • If some cultures are endangered by globalization, do we have a moral obligation to resist exporting our products or ideas? Explain your response, drawing upon both the Eastern and African ethical models we explored in this module. End with a proverb or koan that best reflects your own global philosophy.

Evaluation Criteria

Your initial post is due by Thursday at 11:59 PM EST. Your responses to other posts are due by Sunday at 11:59 PM EST.

Initial Discussion Post

Your initial post should be at least 250 words and must substantively integrate the assigned readings from the module with proper APA (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. style formatting. You may use additional sources and materials as long as they are relevant to the discussion and cited properly.

For assistance with APA style formatting, visit the Library (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. or the Excelsior OWL (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Responses to Other Posts

After you have submitted your initial discussions, read through the postings of your peers. You must choose and respond to (at least) two of your peers’ discussion posts. The posts you choose to respond to do not necessarily have to be classmates’ initial posts.

Each response to a peer should be (at least) approximately 100 words in length and should contribute to the discussion in progress. All responses to classmates should be substantive. That is, they should go beyond simple agreement or disagreement with classmates’ posts. Responses must be respectful, substantive, and consistent with the expectations for discussion, as stated by the prompt. Please monitor and respond to feedback to your initial discussion thread throughout the module. You must reply to your classmates’ postings within the designated due dates for the discussion activity. Please direct any questions you may have to your instructor.

See the Course Calendar for due dates for posts and responses.

Consult the Discussion Posting Guide for information about writing your discussion posts. It is recommended that you write your post in a document first. Check your work and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. When you are ready to make your initial post, click on “Reply.” Then copy/paste the text into the message field, and click “Post Reply.”

This is a “post first” discussion forum. You must submit your initial post before you can view other students’ posts.

To respond to a peer, click “Reply” beneath her or his post and continue as with an initial post.

Evaluation

This discussion will be graded using the discussion board rubric. Please review this rubric, located on the Rubrics page within the Start Here module of the course, prior to beginning your work to ensure your participation meets the criteria in place for this discussion. All discussions combined are worth 30% of your final course grade.

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