Cultural Policy: The Impact of contemporary American Immigration Policy on the Evolution and development of Music and Arts 

Subject: Political
Type: Evaluation Essay
Pages: 9
Word count: 2625
Topics: Immigration, American Culture, Music, Public Policy
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Cultural policy can be defined as the actions, programs and laws put in place by the government in an attempt to control, encourage, protect and even support those activities that are related to the sectors of art and creativity (Mulcahy, 2016). These sectors include music, dance, literature, paintings, filmmaking, and sculpturing, among many more. Apart from the art, culture such as heritage, language, diversity and traditions are also part of the things that this policy helps to normalize. Cultural policy refers to the different programs and laws, which are used in the regulation, encouragement and protection of the arts and creative sectors. One of the principal goals of any immigration policy is to facilitate controlled immigration of individuals into the country. The immigration policy in the country has played an important role in regulating the growth and advancement of the arts in the country. The paper presents an examination of the different ways in which cultural policy in the United States has influenced the evolution of arts such as music in the country. While the United States has developed a unique cultural stance over the years, it is evident that immigration has influences the cultural balance resulting in the introduction of a different cultural position and diversity in the contemporary culture. 

In the 1960s, the UNESCO came up with the idea of cultural policies where the government was put in charge of setting legal classifications, legislations, processes, regulations and institutions that would help promote and enable cultural diversity (Garcia, 2012). These institutions such as museums, galleries, opera houses and libraries were used to help preserve and promote creative activities and expressionism of citizens all over the country. Through this, the government made it able for people to easily access areas that offered art and creative activities. Although cultural policies may vary from one place to another they main objective still surround the need to promote the musical, literary, sociolinguistic, artistic and ethnic expressions of the people. Cultural industries act as a representative of the diverse heritage, language and ethnic groups of a country.

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A policy statement can be as simple as a personal resolution such as one opting to avoid pirating movies and buy them to help the industry. In this case, the paper will focus on policies that are a bit more complex, such policies are in charge of directing the values and decision making of organizations. In most cases cultural policies are shaped by the government, from congress to the White House and also at time by other institutions found in the private sector such as corporations and organizations in the community (“Webster’s World of Cultural Policy”, 2018). These policies help in guiding those that make decisions which may have an impact on the cultural life. The report aims at exploring the impact of the immigration policy on the cultural state of the United Syayes. 

Most of the time, cultural policy is defined explicitly by agencies which are charged with the obligation of defining these processes. The Ministry of Arts and Culture for instance, is a type of agency that is responsible for creating policies to govern and protect the culture in many nations. However, at times the cultural policy, in places like America, is not defined and what people depend on are the cultural effects that come from certain actions. The immigration policy adopted by the United States has been aimed at expanding the cultural diversity of the country. In contrast, Trump has triggered the introduction of an immigration policy primarily aimed at enhancing and establishing the white culture and limiting the expansion of the cultural accommodation of the United States. 

Government Support in Cultural Policies

Unlike in most countries, America does not have a Ministry of Arts and Culture to help with policies that surround the culture. Nonetheless, the government has always played a big role in helping support cultural practices in America. Because the arts and culture activities need funding, the government has always ensured that these activities are included in the budget of the country through creation of things such as libraries, museums, theatres and art galleries that help create room for the growthy of art and culture. Government support for culture is, hence, measured by the expenditure of the government on the culture. The American Government, in the contemporary times, has failed to reference the arts and culture in the development of immigration policy. Limiting immigration is bound to result in the deterioration of the arts and music. 

The impact of the government is at time very obvious in instances where direct provision is given. For example, where the government provides things such as free entrances to places such as galleries and museums in attempt to promote the knowledge on culture. While such intervention greatly promotes the cultural activities in America, it is through subsidies and grants that these cultural experiences and activities are properly funded (“Measuring the impact of cultural policies | ASEF culture360”, 2018). Through such funding the government manages to boost the cultural sector while at the same time enticing the citizens and making it more popular thus spreading the culture. There are also other ways in which the government intervenes in the cultural world without seeming too direct. Things such offering cultural centers tax breaks, making philanthropic incentives available, starting leadership and mentoring programs, creating funds for research, offering market development initiatives and even offering the audience incentives. By doing all this the government manages to attract more people towards the cultural activities by making them more viable, less expensive, and even more sustainable. All these incentives help stimulate the expansion of the cultural activities in the society. At the end of the day these cultural policies expand the reach of the cultural sector with the help of the government interventions. 

Despite the facts that the government has helped expand the cultural society of the nation, through things such as the arts policy there are also other policies set in place by the government that may affect the cultural society in a lot of ways. For instance, America is made up of a number of different people from different backgrounds which makes the culture diverse. The diversity is what makes American culture great and unique. Therefore, immigration policy should strive to expand the cultural diversity of the nation by inviting immigrants into the country. 

Immigration Policy

Immigration can be defined as the transit of people across the borders on a nation. Immigration is governed by a lot of factors and bias when it comes to people who are looking to work or live in America.  It is safe to say that immigration has been a course for debate in America for the longest time in history. While some people feel that people should be given a chance to live in any country if they feel they might get a better life there, others feel that people should stick in their own countries. As much as the debate on immigration is centered around the economic effects of immigration, most people are against it mainly because of their own emotional sentiments about the issue. Like many people, Americans feel at ease around things that are familiar, this then means that most Americans are not ready to accept any type of change. Americans fear that these newcomers who have different languages, cultures and even religion mat not be ready to learn the American way of life or even English itself (“The Impact of Immigration on American Society: Looking Backward to the Future”, 2018). Therefore, immigration has been classified as a threat towards the maintenance of the American culture due to external influence. 

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In addition, the United States immigration policy is complicated and offers a confusing policy thus limiting the immigration of individuals into the country. The immigration policy in the United States is based on the principles of reunification of family, admittance of skilled labour, safeguarding refugees and enhancing diversity. The VISA lottery program was formulated in 1990 through the Immigration Act. The channel presented a dedicated channel to enhance the movement of immigrants into the country using low immigration rates. 55,000 visas are assigned to different applicants from all over the world to accommodate immigrants into the United States (“How the United States Immigration System Works”, 2016). The program mainly benefits Eastern Europeans and Africans since they are assigned after regional consideration. Hence, the Diversity Visa lottery presents a vital channel towards enhancing the cultural ideas and evolution in the nation. Immigrants are observed to introduce new ideas to the cultural and arts scenes, which triggers growth in the artistic ideas and quality in the nation. 

Those that are against immigration mostly feel that the introduction of many people into the society degrades the nations culture. Many would argue that by introducing new cultures, the initial culture and practices of a place start to fade away. For instance, by bringing people who speak a different language in a place where people only speak English means that the English speakers are forced to start using a different language to communicate. This is clear by example because some places in America, an English-speaking nation, are populated with strictly Hispanic people who speak Spanish hence changing the culture. The introduction of a new languages, hence, changes things like music, fashion, art and even trends that were originally known as cultural. Consequently, immigration assists in the expansion of different art forms by adding an external flavor to the arts

Trumps’ hard stand on immigration is directed at reducing the population of immigrants in America in an attempt to return America to its old glory of white supremacy (Huber, 2016). By stopping people from different places to come onto America, he puts a stop to the growth and diversity of the cultural industry. Things such as music and arts are greatly influenced and inspired by diversity and by stopping this growth, the cultural society becomes stale and might even seize to exist.  The American industry is populated by a variety of artists who are not originally from America but still help the American economy through their works of arts.

Apart from music, language, and arts, other things that people feel immigration has affected in the traditions of America. Although American is not strongly known for traditions it is the increase of new traditions that seems to be scaring people. People from Mexico from instance come with the traditions and these are impacted on a society that is made up of more than just Mexicans. The main reason that immigration is being fought against by Trump and his government is because they fear the impact that the new culture has on Americans, which has been classified as racist and insensitive (Huber, 2016)

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On the other hand, others believe that the integration of new cultures brought about through immigration is important and essential in the growth of the cultural industry. Immigrants bring with them their different styles, ideas and cultures. When the new culture is fused by the old culture it creates a new type of culture. Many believe that change and growth are essential in any context and when it comes to things like language, music and art, it is only through the use of new cultures that the industry will grow.  As much as things might change, they change for the best, people get a variety of music genres, similarly, music genres fuse and create new genres. Similarly, the art industry has seen a great change since there are more artists from different backgrounds and different experiences that inspire their work.

It is also important to consider the fact that the life of most immigrants is filled with day to day struggles of trying to cope in a new society. Learning a new language and mastering new cultures and traditions while working and living amidst strangers is not an easy task. Because of all the unfamiliar challenges faced by immigrants, the end up getting nostalgia and trying to hold on to their cultures and traditions as a way to cope. Immigrants hence find a lot of comfort in things that are familiar to them such as rituals, holidays, literature and even art. The pursuit of their cultural identities is one of the reason why American culture has gained diversity in all aspects.

The large number of talented immigrants in America scenes such as Hollywood has pushed the American industry to be more open to new ideas and innovations which in turn brings about growth culturally and even economically. An example of a talented immigrant who ended up shaping the history of American cultures is Al Jolson, formerly known as Asa Yoelson who was a Russian Immigrant. Jolson became a very influential musician and also one of the most paid during his time (“Al Jolson”, 2018). Jolson is testament that immigrants can also have some thing positive to bring in to the society.

Ways in which cultural activities can be supported is if creativity is supported by all for the common good of the nation. It is also important that people are taught how to promote cultural equity among people of diverse communities. People should also be allowed to build on the foundation of their heritage and cultural memories. Another way to promote cultural policies is by putting artists to work in the interest of the public (“Cultural Policy”, 2018). Talented people should be natured and supported regardless of their traditions or backgrounds. The last way in which the cultural industry can be changed for the better is if everyone is allowed to express themselves freely. A democratic media means that no specific people are hindered from sharing what they have to offer to the culture. By mixing different cultures, America becomes a melting pot that is filled with diversity, Americanization is hence composed of the mixture of all aspects of the different people found in the United States.

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In conclusion, the only way that the government and the population can deal with cultural policies surrounding immigrations is if they become more open to new ideas. Culture is a very powerful economic influencer, it helps transform things such as failed schools, helps restore peoples’ faith, it also enriches beautifies and entertains through art. This is why it is important for the government to invest in immigration policies that may impact cultural activities positively. Trump’s stance on immigration has limited the introduction of new flavor to the American arts scene. The cultural industry faces a crisis when it comes to creativity in artistry, thus including people who can bring out a different type of imagination should be a sustainable way to ensure that culture does not die. As illustrated in this study, it is imperative to encourage immigration through the establishment of favorable immigration policies in the United States to encourage the entry of immigrations and, thus, enhance the artistic evolution in the nation. Consequently, it is integral that immigration policy considers the significant impact of immigrants on the culture and arts of the nation.

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  1. Al Jolson: Bibliography. (2018). 
  2. Chacón, J. M. (2016). Immigration and the Bully Pulpit. Harv. L. Rev. F.130, 243.
  3. Cultural Policy. (2018). 
  4. Garcia, B. (2012). The Olympic Games and cultural policy. Routledge.
  5. How the United States Immigration System Works. (2016). 
  6. Huber, L. P. (2016). Make America Great again: Donald Trump, Racist Nativism and the Virulent Adherence to White Supremacy Amid US Demographic Change. Charleston L. Rev.10, 215.
  7. Measuring the impact of cultural policies | ASEF culture360. (2018). 
  8. Mulcahy, K. V. (2016). Public Culture, Cultural Identity, Cultural Policy: Comparative Perspectives. Springer. 
  9. The Impact of Immigration on American Society: Looking Backward to the Future. (2018). Webster’s World of Cultural Policy. (2018). 
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