culture shockers: Enter to win – This week America 2049 asks: “Where Are You From?”
“There’s more than one way to be American,” says the character M in week 10 of Breakthrough’s human rights Facebook game, American 2049. The leader of the subversive resistance group “Divided We Fall” is referring to the importance of cultural diversity, and the fact that her America has labeled any semblance of difference illegal.
M. begs the players, agents living in America in the year 2049, to think back to their roots, no matter what they are: a country, a religion, a song, a food, and remember. To a citizen of 2011, this warning may sound foreboding and far-fetched- this country was built on diversity, after all. A “melting pot.” But when playing the game this week, the user begins to see how often America has neared the dystopian future of 2049, where cultural celebrations are banned, and “foreign” or “minority” beliefs are forbidden.
In America 2049, the Council on American Heritage has subsumed culture via the use of psycho-pharmaceuticals and widespread assimilation techniques. As an agent in Minneapolis, Minnesota, you learn about (among others) a group of Navajo “Code Talkers” who used their unique and ancient language as a secure method of communication during World War II. The Axis had no knowledge of Navajo grammar or vocabulary, and the code proved nearly unbreakable, saving thousands of lives in the 1940s. The Code Talkers were unrecognized by the public until 1968, when their mission was partially declassified. The marines were granted the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001, but their story remains largely eclipsed by other war veterans. The 2002 film Windtalkers is the most famous telling of the Navajo Code Talker story, but it was widely criticized for racism, furthering stereotypes, and including the Code Talkers only as minor characters.
In America 2049, players learn that the last known fluent speaker died in 2037. The ancient Navajo language, which altered modern history, was made illegal to keep America “safe” in the future.
The key to preventing this dystopia from coming true, according to M, is to remember, and help others remember, the unique elements that make this country diverse. Because the more individuals are able to understand each other, the more secure our freedoms will be, as a nation.
So, where are you from? How does your culture, your individual memories, shape how you identify as an American? We’d like to get everyone on Twitter, and Facebook, to start talking, to start remembering. Tweet or Facebook @breakthrough, or write a comment below, and include the phrase #whereRUfrom, for a chance to win one of three awesome America 2049 T-shirts this week! Contest ends Monday, June 13.
June 6, 2011 by Dana Variano
Tags: code talkers, culture, heritage, immigrant, Immigrant Rights, immigration, Minneapolis, minnesota, native american, navajo, navajo code talkers, windtalkers
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