David Suzuki : Nature Versus Nurture - English Class - Essay

1379 words - 6 pages

Brandon Nguyen
Sylvain Lacasse
EAE 2D-01
October 12th 2018
Who are we?
Who are we? A question you’ve probably asked yourself in a multitude of occasions. The
world never stops moving, changing, evolving. Humans always strive for a better life. Certains
countries, such as Canada, have a higher quality quality than others, thus the reason why people
immigrate, to start a new life in a better setting. However, when people emigrate, they tend to
leave everything behind ; their homes, their families, their old lives, but the only thing that they
never leave behind, is who they are. “Ancestors - The Genetic Source”, by David Suzuki,
presents the idea that one’s genes are not the primary determinant of behaviour, but it is the
environment that the individual’s been exposed to, meaning that when a person is introduced to a
new environment, his or her behaviour might change. Humans become who they are based upon
different attributing factors ; firstly, the language that they learn as a child, secondly, the
traditions that they get accustomed to, and finally, the amount of oppression they have to endure.
First of all, a language is an important part of a person ; it defines the way they think and
the way they talk. “English is my language, Shakespeare is my literature, British history is what
I learned and Beethoven is my music”, (Suzuki, 146). While David Suzuki might be Japanese,
his language is English, thus proving that his genes did not define who he is ; otherwise he
would’ve been perfectly able to speak Japanese. The reason why he does not speak Japanese is
because Suzuki is a ​Sansei​. Japanese immigrants in North America use names to define the
amount of generations they are. ​Issei​, means first generation, ​Nisei​, means second generation,
and ​Sansei​, means third generations. Being an ​Sansei​, Suzuki explains that Japanese was not
used in his household, therefore he probably knew school-taught french better than Japanese. In
addition, language is a part of culture, meaning that David Suzuki’s culture is Canadian, because
he grew up in an English-speaking environment, where Japanese culture had no place. So if
behaviour was truly passed down along physical traits, David Suzuki would not live a Canadian
lifestyle, he would not listen to Beethoven, or read Shakespeare. Secondly, a language barrier
could cause friction between two people that, from the outside, could look similar, but from the
inside, be completely different because of the language they speak. By example, in 1968, when
David Suzuki first visited Japan, he decided to visit his relatives. He described his reunion as
excruciating​, since none if his relatives spoke English, so they sat there, “in stiff silence and
embarrassment”, (Suzuki, 147). Without knowledge of the Japanese language or the culture, both
being concepts learned through exposure, Suzuki had no way to communicate and relate to the
people that should be close to him culturally. Ironically, his peop...

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