Merits of Arguments by Moya and Taylor

a) Paul Taylor believes that it is an obligation of blacks to embrace some aspects of their culture since they played major roles to create and develop some of the practices in question. First, he says that being involved in the black culture gives the African Americans the tools to survive in anti-black environment. However, he is concerned why blacks associate with hip hop than other aspects of culture, such as African literature or jazz. Secondly, Taylor argues that African Americans have an obligation to support practices that emerged from their communities.

On the contrary, he thinks this reason is not satisfying since without the natural cultural affiliation, being black is not a sufficient reason to obligate one to the culture. He says, “…even if it were enough, we would still answer the question we just posed: why hip-hop culture and no capoeira?” (Taylor 89). Thirdly, Taylor posits that cultural communities are the equivalent of the ecosystem that people must strive to preserve.


b) According to Paula Moya, minorities should not be obligated to assimilate to the American mainstream culture. First, he argues that proponents of assimilation should not take one aspect of humanity and posit it as universal. American culture should not be seen as the norm to which other subjects must conform. Secondly, collective identity should not be the opposite of individual identity; they are dependent on one another. She argues that it is difficult to have a collective culture that is not made up of an individual (Moya 92). Therefore, neoconservative minorities should not assume that to identify with African or Mexican culture deprives an individual of his or her identity.


c) Moya does not view that it should be prohibited for minorities to assimilate to American mainstream culture but perceives that such assimilation must have value embedded in productive human interaction. She supports his argument by asserting that if assimilation is unidirectional, it can wreak the psyches of the people forced to abandon their culture.


d) Moya thinks that it should be permissible for minorities to assimilate in the American mainstream culture but when individuals do not fit into American society, it is the society to change, not people.


e) Moya believes that blacks should be allowed to embrace at least one aspect of their culture. To her, the preservation of cultural diversity allows individuals to see that their differences are valuable characteristics of an ideal society, for epistemic and not sentimental reasons. She supports this argument by asserting that the protection of cultural diversity does not attempt to avoid negative social consequences but creating the best social condition in which objective understanding about human development can be sought.


f) By considering the merits of arguments by Moya and Taylor, I think Moya’s discourse diminish the force of Taylor’s debate. First, Taylor does not offer airtight reasons why blacks have an obligation to embrace certain aspects of black culture. He posits that why would African Americans only embrace hip-hop and not another aspect. Taylor asserts that if the aim is to preserve the culture then it should not matter what race is a member. On the contrary, Moya provides a compelling argument that there should not be a bias against racial group membership.

By setting collective identity as opposed to individual, what Taylor seems to reinforce, it is like attempting to configure cultural or racial particularity as supplemental to universal humanity. In this way, Moya would disagree with Taylor in the sense that individual identity cannot be equated to classical racialism, where a member of a hip-hop community is similar to Chinese American who listens to rap music. To Moya, when people define who they are, they must have certain recognizably human characteristics which are shared by some but lacking in others.

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