The students on Bradley’s campus come from diverse backgrounds and celebrate different cultures. With National Hispanic Heritage Month well under way, it is important for students to take the time to learn more about and appreciate everyone’s cultures.
Almost every month, multicultural clubs and organizations host events related to their cultures. These events are typically open to the public and are a great way to learn about someone’s heritage. Most are not only informative, but also do a good job of immersing everyone in different aspects of diverse cultures.
However, if you do end up going to an event, make sure you are respectful of the traditions that students share with the public. That means not laughing during cultural events, paying attention, staying off your phone and not talking during serious discussions.
One tradition that is showcased at Bradley is the Yard Show. This performance is put on by the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council to showcase strolls, an organized dance that represents unification and power, performed by Black and multicultural fraternities and sororities. Although the Yard Show is open for anyone to watch, learning a stroll is closed off to anyone except the members of each chapter.
Often, the point of these events is to teach the public about traditions in a hands-on environment. It’s important to meet new people, try new games or foods and have fun when you attend.
While it is true that celebrating other cultures and traditions is beneficial, there is a fine line between appreciating the culture and appropriating it. Appreciating a culture involves understanding it and expanding your knowledge to connect with others. Appropriation takes place when an individual takes aspects of a culture that is not their own and ignores its significance.
The most important thing when learning about different cultures is to ask questions. People sharing their culture should be treated with respect and have the end goal of wanting to learn more not only during months where a specific culture is highlighted, but all throughout the year.