Expanding cultural horizons


Allie Taylor

Senior Kyle Baldauf, a member of the Anthropology course, participates in the unique Native American culture by dancing in the Morning Star Powwow on Jan. 14. Cultural experiences like this one should be more frequent within the community in order to create a deeper understanding and acceptance of different lifestyles.

What if the events that you learn about in your textbooks became real life experiences? Rather than just reading page after page about Spanish culture or watching a video about the Civil Rights Movement, wouldn’t it be nice to have a first-hand encounter with the different cultural aspects that are taught in your classes?

For the most part, JC puts a considerable amount of effort into offering diverse experiences for its students, but there is still room for improvement.

Recently, JC hosted the annual Morning Star Powwow, which is an opportunity not only for the Native Americans to share their culture, but also for the JC community to be included in the experience. It serves as a way for classes, such as the Anthropology class, to have a true experience with the things they read about in their textbook.

JC should put more effort into showcasing all different types of cultures in order for the community to deepen their understanding of cultural differences. Hopefully, this will lead to a greater acceptance of the diversity within the community. These cultural events could be held during the assembly space that is worked into the H day schedule every eight days. The assembly time should be filled with something that helps strengthen course material, as well as enhance the mind of each individual.

There are easy ways to enhance cultural experiences readily available. We have plenty of students, specifically our international students, who interact with minority cultures and have very different lives from the average student. Also throughout the community, students might have contact with those from other cultures or have a strong interest in another culture. These people likely could invite people to come to perform, showcase, and exemplify their unique culture through different means of expression.

Through both students and teachers who take part in our world language department, we can contact people who directly experience the culture surrounding the languages which they study. A presentation, a video clip of travels, or even a Facetime to an individual from another country in order to talk with students would give insight to a new culture.

Other events could be more interactive: learning different types of cultural dances or trying unique foods. They could split the students by grade and hold ten minute sessions. Take the Spanish culture for example – the freshmen could be listening to an educational presentation while the sophomores watch flamenco dancers perform. The juniors could taste test some paella while the seniors are learning how to flamenco dance.

Every member of the community can benefit in one way or another from experiencing different aspects of cultures other than their own. JC has the ability to open up the opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of what is taught in the classroom through first-hand experiences. The Morning Star Powwow is a good example as to how JC has enabled such experiences. There are so many other cultures worth exploring.

Allie Taylor is a Perspectives Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.