Tag Archives: culture

The 24th annual international banquet

The 24th International Banquet was held in Muse on April 18. The doors opened at 5:30 p.m. The event was put on by the Radford community: both students, faculty, and locals. It was sponsored by the International Student Affairs Council of SCA and The International Education Center. The Beans and Rice charity was selected this year for the banquet. A donation box was located in the main entrance. Also, there was a place for donations of nonperishable food items by the ticket table.

The beginning of the event was just for people to find a table and socialize with their preset salads and beverages. Each table was also set with bouquets of fake flowers in glass vases, surrounded by picture frames. The frames displayed a world disaster-like a wild fire or flood-along with a picture and a table number.

The columns in the dining room were decorated with colored paper and famously influential people from around the world, like Malala Yousafzai and some information or a quote about them. There were also colored balloons bobbing around the room and tied to chairs. Half of the attendees were dressed business casual, while some chose to be very formal with a suit and tie or dressed down with a t-shirt and jeans.

The MCs of the night: Sarah Rainey, Suliaman James, Kieran Robert spoke on a small stage centered in the room. They announced all of the performances and called each table, three at a time, to serve themselves at the international-themed buffet. The menu featured foods from Japan, Cameroon, Scotland, Haiti, and more.

There were also many vegetarian options and all food had it’s ingredients labeled specifically. Whether those labels decided to stay on or fall off was another story.

The buffet also included several different types of bread in all manners of shapes and sizes. The desserts included taro coconut, cranahan, chocolate trifle, and baklava.

The performances began with a Colombian and Venezuelan dance by three young women in the appropriate more traditional dancing skirts. The next performance was Catriona Scott, a foreign exchange student from Scotland. The night also featured RU HYPE, clogging, and singing. It was very much like an international talent show.

I’m a minority and I don’t need your help

Have you ever had someone stand up for you and try to convey the way you feel without ever actually asking how you feel? Like you’re helpless as an outsider butchers your worldview while, at the same time, trying to defend it?

That’s exactly how we feel when someone tells a white person to ‘check their privilege.’

White privilege is a concept brought about by members of minorities to try and silence Caucasians on issues such as race or culture. It’s almost like there’s a general notion that white people as a whole, are uncultured.

“White privilege is a concept brought about by members of minorities to try and silence caucasians on issues such as race or culture.” Photo by: Caroline Leggett.

I’ve been listening to several episodes of Serial Podcast, which follows the story of a Korean teenager who was allegedly murdered by her Arab ex-boyfriend. Naturally, there is a huge culture shock, as it is a white reporter who conducts a lot of interviews with the boy’s Muslim family. The reporter asks many questions in an effort to understand the culture, in addition to the ones regarding the murder.

In a harshly critical review of the podcast, a writer for The Awl responds with an article about ‘white reporter privilege,‘ in which he blasts the reporter for going into detail about the effect ‘tiger parents’ may have had on the relationship. Tiger parents are a term that is very commonly used among foreign-born parents of teens who don’t allow their children to enjoy the luxuries of American culture — a slight step further than overbearing parents, if you will.

He even blasts the fact that she felt the need to mention that the victim’s diary was ‘like any normal teenage girl’s diary.’ Asserting that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a Korean girl’s diary is normal, and that it’s rude to assume that normal is like that of a white person.

I looked back at the scene and found that she never tried to say that the diary was ‘normal’ for a Korean girl. The offensiveness in her phrasing can only be extrapolated if you really, really try. She meant that it was normal for a murder victim. There were no clues to suggest that her ex-boyfriend was the killer, and there was no mention of the Korean culture, other than the beginning of episode one, where she had to describe the victim.

I’m a minority. A mix of arab and hispanic, so I have the benefit of being educated in two cultures, as well as the all-encompassing American culture. Many times, our family has married outside of our own race, and these foreigners to our culture had to be educated in our customs and had to ask questions to ensure they got it right. There are many things we do that they’ll never understand, but that’s fine. No one should feel like they need to read a book on my culture before they sit at the dinner table with us. This reporter isn’t ignorant for wanting to know about the culture, she’s a human being.

There should be no us vs. them attitude when it comes to minorities and white people. It’s that kind of thinking that gets cops killed over issues that likely had nothing to do with race. Race-baiting has gotten extremely dangerous, as we’ve seen in the last few months, and it’ll only get worse as the media continues to paint this picture that we’re an oppressed species that will soon be white-washed.

The thing about American culture is that there’s so much to it. It’s not white culture, or even European culture for that matter. We’ve made it our own through the huge melting pot of races and cultures that live here. Why would anyone try and divide us up after we’ve collected all of the best from each, and made something amazing out of it?

It’s great to be proud of your culture, no matter what color your skin is. It’s even better to want to learn about another culture. Sure, some questions might seem rude or obvious, but to go as far as to publicly blast someone over the clash of cultures that came up in an investigation is ignorant. I would even go as far as to argue that those who refuse to leave their bubble in a cultural Mecca like the US is the real racist. Dividing people up into categories and groups is completely against what this country is about, and race-baiting has to end.

We’re minorities, and we can stand up for ourselves. We don’t need your help.

Why you should learn a second language (Especially in college)

Kolik jazyků znáš, tolikrát jsi člověkem.

The more languages you know, the more you are human. (Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk)

Supporting RU in sign language! Photo by Carina Garcia.

I have recently started taking American Sign Language classes here at Radford University. This experience has really opened my eyes, not only to the new language and to Deaf Culture, but also to the importance of other languages spoken all around the world. While learning a new language is very difficult and takes a lot of time, it’s a great experience, and all college student should take advantage of the foreign language courses at their college. Continue reading Why you should learn a second language (Especially in college)

Hip-hop: A dying culture

What is hip-hop? To different people, it can mean a wide variety of things, from rap music to graffiti. Princeton Wordnet calls it “an urban youth culture associated with rap music and the fashions of African-American residents of the inner city,” while a hip-hop advocacy website calls it “the constantly evolving spirit and consciousness of urban youth that keeps recreating itself in a never-ending cycle.” Continue reading Hip-hop: A dying culture