All right, to recap: I want to prove that the native/immigrant metaphor is pertinent to describing the digital age. However, this does NOT just occur because people can be easily split into two categories: people who "speak the language", and those who don't. Rather, this metaphor is valid because the children of digital immigrants--the "natives"--are capable of functioning within a singular identity(see this post for an explanation). This is also referred to as a "persistent" identity (see "Anonymity and Online Identity," courtesy of my classmate Neal). The children of everyday immigrants are capable of functioning both as Americans and as multicultural children.
Ok, now did you notice what I did in the paragraph above? I'm comparing digital natives and the children of real immigrants. I'm saying they are the same. BUT digital natives can have SINGULAR identities between spaces, while children of immigrants are capable of having a MULTIcultural identity.
HUH?!?! How is that similar?
So, here's the paradox, and here's how I think the two fit together. Both digital natives and the children of immigrants are capable of reconciling multiple identities in order to form one singular identity as a whole.
Sound plausible? Make sense?
Ok, so here's what I've been struggling with for awhile, and here's what I need feedback on: who really cares? So I found a couple of uncommon parallels for the digital native metaphor. So I'm manipulating the metaphor and applying it in a way that usually isn't looked at. So what?
And here's where literature comes in. The Joy Luck Club is about the relationships between mothers from China who raise daughters in the US. Um, perfect for what I'm talking about, right? A mother in the book says that she has two faces: American and Chinese, and "If you show the one, you must always sacrifice the other." So here, you can definitely see the multiple identity phenomenon, but there is no hope for reconciliation. BUT at the end of the book, June, a daughter, says that she used to fear "mutating" into something Chinese. But she doesn't just mutate into something Chinese, something different than what she was. Instead, she finds a part of herself that is Chinese--her family--and then reconciles that identity into her whole identity. A multiple identity is able to become a singular.
BUT... is this valid? Can I say that we, as humans, desire to reconcile multiple identities into one singular whole? This is what we write about in literature. This is what immigrant children do. And this is what digital natives do. Is that enough of a "So what?" Is this idea just too out there?
What do you guys think? Do human beings, creatures of multiple identities, inherently desire to reconcile those identities into one complete whole? Is this some abstract reason why immigrant children see themselves as strongly ethnic, yet also American? Is this one unspoken-of reason why the native/immigrant metaphor works for the digital world?
Real question I'm asking: Am I making any sense here?