A race or population that leaves their hometown for a quite long time easily assimilates into the newfound culture in their areas of settlement. Even though the population does carry along their cultures to the other country or place of settlement, they are mixed up in the new culture. The new cultures bring to them changes that finally make them adopt the assimilated cultures as their own. The different stages of assimilation affect the population’s stance on their decisions towards education, organizational planning, and their societal behaviors in general. It is worth noting that the assimilation processes can be influenced and directed quite easily as these processes are not very voluntarily or uncontrolled.
People live in the age characterized by frequent transnational migration as part of population movement patterns and established settlement experienced during colonialism that has combined the acceleration of communication resulting into an increased cultural juxtaposing and mixing. The processes of constructing a culture transcend time and place more than it essentializes the cultural identity commonly shared by a population. Cultural assimilation embodied such traits that include dressing, manners, religious beliefs, ethical values, and emotional expression. In a broader look, assimilation is like a seven-step process ranging from acculturation to the civic assimilation that highlights the absence of conflicts of value and power. The acculturation process is when an ethnic group of population changes totally adapting to the cultures of the hosts. This type of assimilation is referred to as Anglo-conformity assimilation, representing the assimilation process that does not lead to a total replacement of one culture by the other culture.
The film The Wedding Banquet of 1993, gives a depiction of the trials and tribulations of a Taiwanese family regarding their son who went to New York and ended up engaging in homosexual activities. Wei-Tung left his hometown and went to America for studies. During his time in America, Wei-Tung adopts the American culture of homosexuality, a behavior widely practiced by the white people. It is evident that Wei-Tung is an Asians whose culture is identified by heterosexual activities, but in this case, he assimilates into the white culture and fully adopts the homosexual behavior. The theories of assimilation in America have developed to different viewpoints that have crystallized to the cultural pluralism concepts.
I present an argument that the behavioral assimilation is quite important in the society as it presents significance in our daily practices that affect our living styles. Firstly, assimilation affects the interaction of an individual with the hosting society, which results in reflecting his or her growth. Assimilation affects the minority in the host country as it leads to alienation resulting from being unaccepted. Secondly, assimilation lessens the effectiveness of an individual especially when the daily practices are presumed to be obstacles. Thirdly, the core cultures are rejected due to assimilation and are substituted by the acquired patterns of another culture. This results into ethnocentrism and isolation.
The assimilation patterns lead to the acceptance of the ways of living in the host country. For instance, an immigrant will accept the American way of living in that he or she would speak the American language, eat their food, dress like Americans do, and even accept the American manners within their laws. On the other hand, an individual may reject specific aspect of cultures that he or she earlier accepted simply because they are not in line with their native cultural behaviors. The Wedding Banquet presents a negotiation of intersecting, culture, and homosexuality within a system. The power of this film gives the subject of the progresses in the sexual marginalization politics in the society.
Assimilation behaviors do result into conflict within oneself and one’s culture of origin. For instance, Wei-Tung conflicts in trying to resolve and reconcile the demands of his sexual and ethnic identity. Wei-Tung fears to disappoint his parents that forced his white companion to fake a marriage between him and Wei-Wei, a heterosexual marriage. However, this marriage is uncovered as fake when Wei-Tung’s parents finally arrive to New York for their son’s wedding. The experience of this film articulates Wei-Tung’s homosexuality conflict with his Taiwanese cultural identity. In another level of assimilation, behavioral assimilation may mean total acceptance of the cultural patterns of the hosts which include religious practices and beliefs and their ethnical values. Total acceptance of these host cultural traits may result into the population loosing their cultural identity.
The Wedding Banquet presents a homosexuality negotiation of the Asian showed by the actions and words of Wei-Tung in the scene where he is filling the form of the matchmaking agency sent to him by his mother. In the scene, Wei-Tung is quoted saying to Simon “You are right. It is kind of stupid, all these lies, but I am used to it.” From this saying, we can argue that Wei-Tung has dealt with his sense of the roots and family loyalty by his long lies; even when filling the form he shows this loyalty.
The content of homosexuality in the film demands for the identification of ethnicity as simulated by Wei-Tung’s ethnic identity and sexuality, and this representation presents a negotiation of identifying the aspects of ethnicity. It is evident that the film does not present any attachments of homosexuality to the Asian communities. Thus, it is through migration that Wei-Tung gets assimilated into the homosexuality behaviors of the Americans.
The Wedding Banquet presents an amalgamating type of assimilation where intermarriage has taken place in the two distinct societies. There are two scenarios, namely marriage happening in the host country and marriage in the minority group. Intermarriage regardless of ethnic lines presents a positive development of assimilation in that, a family may not be subjected to the ethnocentrism because of the ethnic background. Additionally, the intermarriage reduces the possible racial properties to the offspring and total chances of discrimination. This is evident as Wei-Tung’s parents are delighted when they hear that he is finally getting married in an American land, and they delightfully leave their home country to attend the wedding. They were happy that their son has fully assimilated into the American culture and that to them, it will mean that they are accepted in the American community.
The conflicts in assimilation processes represent the conditions and restraining effects of the homeland, the roots, and family issues, at the same time, articulating the relationship and loyalties of the roots by cultural construction that reshapes the identity relating to the social needs and situations. The process of assimilation in the film as it is evident in the homosexual and heterosexual practices points to the familiarity of an individuality that the contemporary assimilation practices must negotiate. Both the assimilated practices and cultural identity will no longer be seen as monolithic constrictions but as cultural identities proving that are highly processual enabling personality control.