Letter to the Editor: The Benefits of Culture Shock

By and


As members of ASUU’s Diversity Board, we would like to refute The Chronicle’s unresearched Oct. 29 editorial, “Culture Shock a Culture Crock?”

The editorial failed to understand that Culture Shock was designed to celebrate cultural aspects of various ethnicities. The board’s intentions are to educate people through various means. For Culture Shock, these specifically include visual art, music, food and dancing. We understood that it would be economically impossible to represent every culture. We hope more cultures from across the globe can be presented in the future, but we have to function within our financial means.

The editorial said that in celebrating Asian Day, for example, Culture Shock lumped a bunch of traditions together and painted “only a narrow and highly stylized picture of each culture.” However, no part of Culture Shock was intended to be highly stylized. In fact, each element of the culture presentations is as authentic as possible.

It was known in planning Culture Shock that not all cultures could possibly be represented in just one week. Only through the assistance and availability of cultural groups local to the community could these events carry forward. That is why some larger and more predominant groups were presented rather than other smaller and more rare cultural groups. Should we completely ignore the idea of sharing cultures to the U community just because we cannot include them all? That would be a disservice to students. It is better to do something than nothing, even if you cannot do everything.

In regards to the “cheesy stereotypes” that were supposedly being promoted, The Chronicle does a better job of stereotyping cultures than the improperly titled “Culture Crock.”

By referencing the art of hula dancing as the sole example for Pacific Islander day, and not mentioning the extent of the day’s remaining activities within context, The Chronicle exaggerates the stereotype. The Pacific Islander activities have been orchestrated by the Pacific Islander Student Association in cooperation with the Diversity Board.

Does The Chronicle really believe the Pacific Islander Student Association would be unaware of the components of its own culture? The activities for the day, including hula dancing, are correct examples of elements found within Pacific Islander groups. Does The Chronicle really view culturally authentic hula dancing performed by one of our own students cheesy? Unfortunately, it appears that way.

ASUU cannot completely represent entire cultures, just as The Chronicle cannot completely represent everything occurring on campus. But the Diversity Board puts forth effort and strives to improve, as does The Chronicle. We would appreciate any constructive criticism after efforts have been made to observe each day’s contributions in promoting inter-cultural understanding.

David Peterson

ASUU Diversity Board

Associate Director

Umu Tukuafu

ASUU Diversity Board Member