12 November 2014

How the French gradually brainwashed me

This morning in class, a professor explained how multiculturalism – the American model of social integration that embraces the institutional recognition of ethnic differences – actually contributes to the naturalization and hierarchization of cultures. Racism, in layman’s terms.

And this un-American idea struck me as being quite reasonable.

It occurred to me that over the course of the past four years, I have been subject to a slow but sure process of secondary socialization, i.e. brainwashing, at the hands of various French institutions. The most notable of these is the University of Bordeaux.

My core beliefs regarding societal organization have been called into question, fragilized, broken down, and swept aside. I’ll illustrate.

A hypocrite, I advocate the resistance of assimilation even as my American mentality evaporates. I judge others’ grammatical errors despite integrating French words and sentence structures into my English. I scoff at those who assume I’m French while praying my accent remains dormant. I mock the militantism that permeates every trifling aspect of French social life, but I participate in this culture of contestation.

In the ways in which it would be most useful to be francisée, my cultural handicap persists. Having grown up in sunny California, my scarf-tying skills are laughable. My regard for the importance of history is minimal. I refuse to speak French in social contexts unless wildly inebriated.

I’m a handicapped Frog, a mutilated Yankee.