Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Cultural Benefits & Knowing Where You Come From

Posted by chinesecanuck on June 30, 2008

A posting from Racialicious today comes from a white woman who, like many white people, wonder why black people can have BET, the United Negro College Fund, etc, while white people can’t. The answer (besides the whole power structure thing)? White people (and many non-whites) are more likely to know their ancestry. There are scholarships and other programs that gear towards specific ancestries (some universities, for example, may offer a bursary or scholarship to people who are of, say, Swedish or German heritage) as well as television channels for specific languages. There are even festivals that celebrate certain cultures. Have people forgotten about that? If you want to celebrate your heritage, maybe you can do some research to find out where your ancestors come from. Then, find out what the culture’s (or cultures’) traditions are. In many parts of Europe, including Sweden and Denmark, people celebrate St. Lucia’s Day on December 13. There’s also Sinterklass, celebrated by kids in the Netherlands and Belgium, in early December (I know, I’m kind of in a Christmas/December mood right now). These, along with other traditions that pertain to weddings, births, etc, can be incorporated into one’s routine. It may take a bit of work, but I think it’s worthwhile. Oh, and don’t forget to share these holidays and celebrations with people outside your culture!  🙂

(Asians and hispanics have a designated heritage month, but in most cities, it isn’t as big a deal as cultural festivals pertaining to one country. For example, I hear much, much more about the Mid-Autumn Festival or Diwali than Asian Heritage Month. Asian Heritage Month is a mere mention. Most Asian heritage related charity events (in Toronto, the big one would be the Dragon Ball) are NOT held in May or Asian Heritage Month.)

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5 Responses to “Cultural Benefits & Knowing Where You Come From”

  1. While i don’t mind the UNCF (it’s more of a desciption of what the scholorships are set up for)- I think that naming the channel BET is racist. A seemingly made up name like Kawanza(the Christmas-like Holiday)seems to have little to do with my American culture. I do think that you’re right in observing that the lack of an identification for Blacks in North America prompts many of your listed responces.

  2. loopzilla said

    The answer to “why can’t white people have their own BET”, in my opinion, is that the channels that aren’t “BET” are ALL GEARED TOWARDS WHITE PEOPLE. Have you watched television lately? Things are improving, but the ratio of white people to people of color is drastically out of balance.

  3. Loopzilla,

    You do realize that there are channels that are geared especially towards white cultures, don’t you? My cable company has channels from all over Europe. Most of these channels are not North American based, though. As for Asian channels, some are from abroad, and of those that are local, they tend to broadcast only in ethnic languages. Canada, as far as I know, does not have anything similar to BET for non-blacks. We do have OMNI television, which broadcasts shows in all different languages and for all cultures.

  4. Loopzilla said

    Exactly, that is what I’m saying. Most television is geared towards “white cultures” and “white people”. There are a few minority channels here and there, such as Telemundo or channels picked up from other countries, but the majority of television programming is geared towards white people. That’s why they don’t get a BET: they already have a bunch of other channels.

  5. No, what some white people are complaining is that there aren’t any channels that specifically celebrate white cultures. What *I* am saying is that most white people (and Asian, Hispanic, etc) people know about their ethnicity and background so they don’t require a channel specifically for their race. They get culturally based channels through cable.

    The “mainstream” culture you see on TV isn’t exactly “white” culture. My mother has a Chinese television channel that gets most of their shows from Hong Kong. With the exception of a few Chinese traditions, the characters are no different from what you see on shows like Sex and the City or Gossip Girl.

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