By Danielle Rubio
Web Content Contributor
I personally have never had a group of friends who are all the same ethnicity. Two of my closest friends come from two very different cultures. They have each done their part in teaching me some of the most important aspects of their cultures. Learning about other cultures and seeing it firsthand has been a real eye opener– and is honestly life changing.
One of my friends is Vietnamese and my other friend is Nigerian, so you can already see the rich cultures that I am surrounded by. I’m Mexican, which is also another a very rich culture.
We each have very different backgrounds. This has brought new food, music and language into my life. For instance, I have found a new love for “puff puff,” which is an African snack. I would have never knew about this delicious snack if it wasn’t for my friend teaching me about her culture.
Whenever either one of my friends have had a family event, it’s always so interesting to me to see the different types of traditions that their cultures have.
Another way my friends of different cultures has impacted my life is that I can see some of the struggles they face, even though I will never be able to fully understand how they feel. For example, people only accept their cultures when it becomes trendy, such as when people notice how beautiful their traditional clothing is and try make it fit into the American beauty standards.
Americans who try crop ao dai (Vietnamese clothing) or wear it without pants underneath the dress which is very disrespectful towards the Vietnamese culture. Same goes for the Nigerian clothing. Beyonce once posted a picture of her self wearing a dashiki, and this started a whole new craze of people wanting their own. Dashiki is the name of material that the shirts are made from.
After Beyonce started the craze for dashiki, they began being mass produced and were made with fake print and material.
Lastly, they have taught me the importance of learning about other cultures and how many people are ignorant towards them and their cultures. I wish it was taught more that not every Asian is Chinese, not every African comes Nigeria, and not every Hispanic is Mexican.
I wish I could protect my friends from racist comments, but sadly, I can’t. All I can do is teach people what I do know about their cultures. We should all do our part in learning about other cultures and treating them with respect. Who knows what you could learn and what you might find a new love for.
Featured image by Florence Phan.