Arts & Culture: Diversity Dialogue

Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts in New York State’s Southern Tier

In the Melting Pot

My parents met in this country many years ago and decided to make it home for many years; then I spent my early childhood in an expanded Mexican-American world. However, when I think about it I noticed both ways of life were overlapped in my mind so I did not have a clear concept of cultural differentiation. I cannot say how my personality would have been if we would have stayed in California, but I believe moving to Mexico gave distinctive features to my identity.

You would have to understand that many traditions in Mexico are a fusion between Indigenous and Spanish cultures; opposite to what happened here, Mexicans are the result of the mix between both cultures, we are mestizos and even our looks are like a mixture. Can you try to imagine what the natives felt about their customs disappearing? Or Spaniards’ passion to eradicate what they considered incorrect? (I know…discussion for another blog!). Anyhow, as a result, the New Spain was formed (former Mexico name) and with it a new population that aware or not created a new culture.

There is a lot to say about living in contemporaneous Mexico, but I want you, the reader, to know a little bit about how the life is there…In Mexico, people stay up late chatting and sharing experiences with family or friends, it is very common to go out for a coffee at 10 PM and all places are still open…I have to clarify that people do not take naps in a regular basis in the middle of the day like it has been stereotyped! In general, music is a big part of the daily activities, most of the people like to dance and most have very good rhythms!…From my perspective, the society is still very conservative, young adults are not expected to leave the parent’s house until they get married (or go to college in a different city) and living with someone without being married is a HUGE deal…someone can debate if that is good or not, but that is not my purpose in this space, it is just a fact and knowing what is expected from you determines some of your actions or your feelings! I regret to say that there is still a lot of the “macho” culture in Mexico, however, things are changing and Mexican women are experiencing more opportunities, but it is a long process…Every occasion in Mexico is a good reason to celebrate, from births, anniversaries, weddings to even deaths…and we celebrate in very distinctive ways…a typical birthday party for a kid, for example, will include the traditional piñata, and parents are also invited, not only kids; parties in Mexico always have a start time (although people arrive half hour later!) but most likely the invitation won’t have an ending time…actually in smaller areas of the country, there are still weddings that last days (I have never attended one but must be awesome to party for days!).

I guess when you are living immersed in a way of life, you take things for granted. But living in another country, meeting different people, knowing about different cultures, make us aware of the differences and help us expand our horizons. Not all of us get the opportunity to live abroad, that is why I think there is a lot of value in sharing our experiences and learning about others, or in other words, “melting” our own heritage with our new circumstances…

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This entry was posted on June 5, 2009 by and tagged , , .
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