Think before commenting about different cultures


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People Holding Culture

We got Cinco de Mayo coming up shortly and I feel it’s the perfect time to address a very important situation- the stereotypes and misconceptions regarding different cultures. It’s time to stop promoting stereotypes.
The first thing I have to say is I’m really going to lose it if I have one more person say “Happy Mexican Independence Day” to me on May 5. I love the fact that everybody is happy to celebrate different cultures here in the U.S. but let’s be clear. We need to do our homework before we go around offending people. Oh, and by the way, Sept. 16, is Mexico’s Independence Day.
A survey by National Today, a website that tracks different holidays, found that only 10 percent of Americans truly know the reason for Cinco de Mayo. It’s a day to commemorate the Mexicans’ victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla.
Now as far as stereotypes go I hear it all during this time. And trust me it doesn’t matter how cool we are, the jokes get old.
A stereotype is a fixed image or idea of a person or a group of people. In the U.S. you see a lot of these because of the diversity the country has. Universities like ours are hotspots for these types of misconceptions about people.
Continued discussions between different parties is the only way to eliminate the belief of stereotypes. If you don’t really ever get to know the person, how can you judge them? It’s simple; you can’t.
The problem with stereotypes and misconceptions of people is that they aren’t specific to one thing. It doesn’t have to be race. It can be religion, special interests or even socioeconomic status.
Now, if you have an interest in learning about different cultures, especially those we have on campus, then you’re in luck. We have ULM’s annual International Week coming up next week.
Spend some time and attend some of the events put on during International Week. Talk to the people organizing the events and those attending. Ask questions and clear up any misconceptions you may have.
The week should serve as a potential learning experience for all of those interested. Be open minded.
The easiest way to learn about new cultures and their people is to try some of their food. The International Food Fair held Wednesday of International Week should be your number one destination of the week.
There are always going to be stereotypes of different varieties floating around but as long as we stay open minded and curious we can personally debunk many of them.