As in my previous post for week one and two, sound and soundscapes have a huge impact on our relationships especially in relation to capitalism. Through Goffe’s idea of extra-coloniality that has taken place in Jamaica, I have seen how the music of sound brought two groups together against the odds of a society that sought to keep them apart. The Jamaican population interacted with the immigrant Chinese businesses where they gathered to dance, sing, or just get to know one another. That is what is so special about the power of sound. The ability to listen to something together creates a sense of closeness that can build new relationships or strengthen existing ones.
While being able to create, sounds and soundscapes have the capability to destroy. Initially in my other post I stated that a sound can cause a false reputation to be placed on a person, but more than that the expressive powers of sound can affect everyone and not just individuals. Speeches, spoken poetry, music and many other forms of generated sound allow us to express the ways in which capitalism has forced people to sacrifice their relationships in exchange for capital. There are countless songs that express how the pursuit of capital destroys the relationship between parent and child in financially strained households. Conversely, I have heard about people have the same nonexistent relationship with their parent, but it is because the parent is so involved with their job they neglect their family. Not only can sound create a bad reputation, the way someone can create a song or say personal stories can show those who are listening that capitalism destroys relationships whether one is at the top or bottom of society.
In relation to this notion of creating reputation, the lecture from week three discussed how the handling of the plague in Hawaii was in essence explicitly racist because the government officials wanted to keep the plague in Chinatown in addition to saying that the Chinese were to blame for being the carriers. Once again the power of sound is at work as we can see by the generation of this sound, this racialized rumor that Chinese people, or more broadly Asians in general, brought this terrible disease to Hawaii. This stereotyping of Chinese people creates an image in the minds of those who hear it that one should stay away from the Chinese because they brought the disease. Thus, when thinking about Honolulu’s Chinatown what on person hears can change the way they see the town itself. If it is heard that the government is keeping the “carriers” of the virus in a quarantine, then the town can be thought of as a place when some people are confined for the betterment of others. If one hears that the issue of the plague was racialized leading to the collective ostracizing of a whole ethnic group to one town, then it is likely that the person who heard this would think it was racist and detrimental to the way Chinese people, and Asians in general, are treated. These two scenarios show that whatever sound, soundscape, or rumor a person hears can drastically change the way someone thinks about a place like Honolulu’s Chinatown.