Ishmael Reed’s essay “The World is Here” is preceded by a well-chosen excerpt from a 1983 New York Times article which evokes an image that epitomizes the two tiered concept of Ishmael’s proceeding essay. Reed offers several examples of cultural blending from inside the walls of a McDonald’s to inside the walls of a respected university, and from Detroit to Houston. Reed aims to enlighten the U.S. Population in general as he peels away at the layers of half truths, at best, that certain entities in the U.S. Continue to foster as he speculates the question “what is Western Civilization?” and follows up his answer with several historical facts.
Reed states that the mirror of our current day world reflects an eclectic cornucopia of cultures that can no longer be ignored simply because it doesn’t mesh with the fabricated concept of “Western Civilization”. He believes that as evident as the existence of a multicultural society is there are those in power who refuse to accept the current reality and who remain attached to the idea that the U.S. is solely descendant of this so called European “Western Civilization”, whose existence Reed questions in the first place based on nearly a dozen examples of how the U.S. has tried to build its history on an already unstable foundation. Reed believes the concept was created by the still-in-power descendants of Puritan patriarchs, as a smokescreen to obscure historical facts and create a false hierarchy in order to justify acts of repression, hate, persecution and murder toward other cultures right here on U.S. Soil in the last century, of which Reed cites undeniable examples.
Reed ends his essay with a message to the ethnocentric entities addressed in the article, the same Puritan posse who believed that their imperialistic expansion was “manifest destiny”, that it’s too late for their failing agenda because the world is already here, integrated and interconnected.