Cultural genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a culture. It is not ethical to destroy the culture of another group of human beings or change it without their consent. Each culture should be judged by its own standards of excellence and morality, unless its cultural practices threaten to harm others physically or mentally.
Cultural genocide, or ethnocide, is the attempted destruction of a group's culture, religion, and identity. It is a coercive act imposed by a dominant group upon a weaker or minority group. Cultural genocide has been associated with imperialism and with settler-colonialism. It is particularly associated with forced religious conversion and with forced assimilation policies, including child removal and the outlawing of cultural expression.
Related terms: cultural imperialsim, forced assimilation
China’s Uighur minority live a dystopian nightmare of constant surveillance and brutal policing. At least one million of them are believed to be living in what the U.N. described as a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy,” while many Uighur children are taken to state-run orphanages where they're indoctrinated into Chinese customs.
Most scholars of genocide focus on mass murder. Lawrence Davidson, by contrast, explores the murder of culture. He suggests that when people have limited knowledge of the culture outside of their own group, they are unable to accurately assess the alleged threat of others around them. Throughout history, dominant populations have often dealt with these fears through mass murder. However, the shock of the Holocaust now deters today's great powers from the practice of physical genocide. Majority populations, cognizant of outside pressure and knowing that they should not resort to mass murder, have turned instead to cultural genocide as a "second best" politically determined substitute for physical genocide. In Cultural Genocide, this theory is applied to events in four settings, two events that preceded the Holocaust and two events that followed it: the destruction of American Indians by uninformed settlers who viewed these natives as inferior and were more intent on removing them from the frontier than annihilating them; the attack on the culture of Eastern European Jews living within Russian-controlled areas before the Holocaust; the Israeli attack on Palestinian culture; and the absorption of Tibet by the People's Republic of China. In conclusion, Davidson examines the mechanisms that may be used to combat today's cultural genocide as well as the contemporary social and political forces at work that must be overcome in the process.
Spirit Wars is an exploration of the ways in which the destruction of spiritual practices and beliefs of native peoples in North America has led to conditions of collective suffering--a process sometimes referred to as cultural genocide. Ronald Niezen approaches this topic through wide-ranging case studies involving different colonial powers and state governments: the seventeenth-century Spanish occupation of the Southwest, the colonization of the Northeast by the French and British, nineteenth-century westward expansion and nationalism in the swelling United States and Canada, and twentieth-century struggles for native people's spiritual integrity and freedom. Each chapter deals with a specific dimension of the relationship between native peoples and non-native institutions, and together these topics yield a new understanding of the forces directed against the underpinnings of native cultures.