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OPINION: Why cultures matter

By Leah Monroy

As a Mexican-American teen living in Batavia, Batavia does not celebrate different cultures enough. According to the World Population Review, Batavia is predominantly made up of 88.75 percent white residents while the other 11.25 percent are minority groups.  How can Batavia incorporate and learn about different cultures? How can we be sensitive towards these cultures while learning about them?

For example, Batavia can continue to incorporate Black History Month, and go into more depth on other celebrations as well such as Jewish-Heritage Month, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and others not mentioned. We can incorporate it in the town along with its curriculum. This will allow people to understand the impact of the various cultures. Batavians can broaden their thinking and offer different perspectives and stories. We can honor different heritage months to grow to be more culturally diverse.

In the past, I’ve seen Batavia continuously be prideful in spirit wear but there is a lack of diversity as mentioned earlier. We can amplify different cultures by putting up banners. We can do murals, as well. During sports season, we can see the windows painted during spirit week. We can also do the same during different designated months. Batavians are able to use the public library to find different resources and read books. 

In this town, from my experience, I have seen at a restaurant someone use my culture as a costume. During Cinco de Mayo, someone wore a sombrero with a fake mustache. This is insensitive because it adds to the stereotypes of the Mexican culture. This shows how people lack awareness while being culturally insensitive for their pleasure. We as a community should acknowledge this is wrong and educate ourselves on cultural appropriation. There are more ways to acknowledge a culture without being insensitive. Some examples are reading articles, asking respectful questions, going to the library, and, more to touch on educating awareness. 

In conclusion, from personal experience, there is a lack of knowledge in minority groups as far as their cultures are concerned. Batavia should be more culturally sensitive and respect cultures that may not belong to them. There are ways we can make a difference in diversifying our neighborhood. By acknowledging the separation in this community we can learn and grow together.

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