Friday, October 22, 2010

de colores

Multi-colored vs. multi-cultural. What does that really mean? I used to think that my community was multi-cultural until a visitor told me otherwise. He made a distinction, saying that we were multi-colored, and that is not the same as being multi-cultural. Our language, foods, song, attire, and other expressions were predominantly homogeneous. We had people of color (Hispanics, Indians, Asians, etc.) in community, but our social standards were all pretty similar. For example, did the African-Americans among us bring Afro-American culture to the mix or did they simply blend in with the prevailing Anglo culture?

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I suppose I had never thought this through before. As I look into this, I find that if I want to be multi-cultural, that means more than allowing or being friendly to other people groups, it means an active intentionality about bringing elements together in such a way that they retain their roots. And this, not on a free or casual basis, from time to time... but being a pervasive filter through which everything passes. Honestly, it sounds like more work than it's worth.

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I prefer to come together focused on a task or a common vision. If we occasionally celebrate the uniqueness of any particular culture, that is beautiful. But let the general identity fall where it may. I do not feel right about manipulating our identity or manufacturing a "multi-cultural" community.

9 comments:

mr. dave said...

i consider myself multi ethnic because of the whole variety of different ethnic foods i love!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You should live in Africa Craver. Here we are multi-colored and multi-cultured and guess what, the bottom line is that we have learnt to accept our differences and it does not make a bit of difference. If you like someone, neither color nor culture matters.

Gaelyn said...

My Dad always said the family is a "Hienze 57". That sounds like both multi-cultural and -colored.

lime said...

hhmm..interesting distinctions. i see both his point and yours.

Rachel Grace said...

Speaking of Africa, Joan and Craver, I have a friend who lives there now (You may know her Craver :) ) and I have never met anyone who both loves and appreciates diverse cultures quite as much as she does!

Craver Vii said...

Yeah, see... here's the thing. I love to see lots of different kinds of people coming together. I enjoy spending time with someone who is different than me, whether that is age, gender, language, attire, traditions, education, religion or economic backgrounds. Admittedly, I have a more difficult time with people of differing political persuasions, but I'm working on that. Anyway, I have this thing about people... I just love people. But when it comes to doing certain things (like church), do we give equal time to all? I think not. The pulpit at my church is for expository preaching from sacred scripture, and that job will go to the man most qualified, not to the "flavor of the day."

We are talking about an agenda that is more than just tolerant of or friendly to diversity, but a program where diversity is a primary filter through which everything else passes. In my opinion, diversity is good, but it is secondary. If I were building a bridge, I would be principally concerned about structural fortitude. If it was a collaboration between the Polish, Pakistani, and Portuguese, that is a bonus, and we can celebrate it, but the main thing is, that the thing is safe to walk or drive on

Chris said...

Superb post! Nice to read!

mommanator said...

Yikes Craver, what kind of folk are you travelling with that would correct you on such a fauxpas?
Our melting pot society is just that!
And as far as I am concerned we are all brothers and sisters!

Shammickite said...

I love the fact that Canada is muti-cultural. On any given weekend in the summer, there's a festival or event or gathering honouring whatever culture or ethnicity happens to be organising it. And mainly the summer cos the winter here is too darn cold! And I love to celebrate all these different ways of life, food, dance, music, costume, whatever. Aren't we all lucky, to be able to be tolerant and kind and accept the fact that we all inhabit this wonderful world and get on with each other.