The American Religion: Consumerism
Only then were they able to carry on to the after life. Now in the United States, they were not able to take home the placentas and bury it because the doctors feared the Hmong people would eat it and get diseases such as hepatitis B. This shows that the Hmong people had to change their traditions to satisfy the American ideal of what the correct way of doing things was. The next generation of Hmong born will not be able to give birth alone and carry on the old traditions. In each generation they are losing a part of what they practiced and what made up their culture.
To be American is not to be Christian, male, or white. Rather it is to be a consumer. Foua and Nao Kao would forever remain Hmong. Their children are Hmong, but also are American. They are successful, athletic, and beautiful. They have converted and taken on the values of consumerism and symbol system they have become American. This conversion, unlike in most religions allows for individual variation and therefore the children can be Hmong and American.
Consumerism fits the definitions used to describe a religion. Now this is heavy grounds for proof that consumerism is a religion. Or, it is grounds for proof that religion is not something that can be described as a science and social institution. There is more to religion than the ritual, and symbol. There is faith and belief, but these things can not be measured cross culturally with current techniques of ethnographic study. So are we left with consumerism as religion and if so, is that where we want to be?
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