Scrolling Headlines:

Luwane Pipkins leads the UMass men’s basketball shooting show in 101-76 win over Niagara -

November 19, 2017

UMass to face tough test with Niagara backcourt -

November 19, 2017

Hockey Notebook: John Leonard on an early season tear for UMass hockey -

November 18, 2017

Clock runs out on UMass men’s soccer’s dream season in NCAA opener -

November 17, 2017

2017 Basketball Special Issue -

November 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball prepares for transitional season in 2017-18 -

November 16, 2017

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses how history and humanity is remembered -

November 16, 2017

CMASS completes seven-week discussion series -

November 16, 2017

UMass women’s basketball resets and reloads, looking to improve on last year’s record with plenty of new talent -

November 16, 2017

Matt McCall’s winding path to bring unity to UMass -

November 16, 2017

Carl Pierre is a piece to Matt McCall’s basketball program -

November 16, 2017

Why they stayed: Malik Hines, Chris Baldwin and C.J. Anderson -

November 16, 2017

McConnell chooses politics over morals -

November 16, 2017

Swipe right for love? Probably not. -

November 16, 2017

‘The Florida Project’ is a monument to the other side of paradise -

November 16, 2017

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ doesn’t have to be the best Marvel movie -

November 16, 2017

Thursday’s NCAA tournament rematch between UMass men’s soccer and Colgate will be a battle of adjustments -

November 15, 2017

Veteran belonging and the decline of American communities discussed by journalist and author at Amherst College -

November 15, 2017

‘UMass Cares About Cancer’ Hosts Blanket Making Event -

November 15, 2017

UMass women’s basketball heads to North Dakota for two games -

November 15, 2017

Discussion held on culture and identity

Collegian File Photo

The Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) continued their seven-week discussion series on culture and leadership through the lens of Kwanzaa.

On Nov. 1, the fifth discussion of the series was held in the Malcolm X Cultural Center, centered on the principle of “Nia”—preserving culture for future generations. Benjamin Barros, a sophomore chemistry major, led the discussion on how culture is preserved in various ethnic backgrounds.

Much of the discussion centered on how culture thrives in a diverse country like the United States, and how the so called “melting pot” has affected the preservation of cultural identity.

“It happens so much over time, that we see culture change. You change a little bit here, drop a little bit there, like not speaking the language, or not practicing the culture and soon, it’s completely different,” Barros said.

Barros discussed his own background as a Cape Verdean in the United States, and how he didn’t feel as “connected” to his culture and didn’t participate in local events.

“I say I’m Cape Verdean, but I’m also American. It’s about finding how to incorporate all of that,” he said.

Brian Choquet, a sophomore journalism major, added that he felt like the influence culture plays is very much part of someone’s identity. “I don’t associate myself [with my family’s culture]. Just because my family came from there, it doesn’t mean as much to me. It’s about what’s culturally influenced me growing up, and that wasn’t my heritage.”

DeRoy Gordon, a doctoral student in Afro-American Studies and a supervisor for the CMASS discussion, said, “What people do to maintain and sustain these cultures, especially in the African-American communities, is lost over time. Some celebrations, like Juneteenth, are not as well-known as they used to be.” Juneteenth is the celebration of the abolition of slavery in the United States and referenced as a holiday that represents an important cultural touchstone for African-Americans, yet hasn’t received much attention in recent years.

Choquet brought up the example of a family who adopted a South Korean child, gave him a Chinese name and raised him outside of an Asian culture in order to discuss how someone might identify what culture they belong to.

“For adopted children, it can be adopting a culture that your blood doesn’t have a lineage to,” Choquet said.

“If you’re raised in a culture that is different from your actual ethnic culture, which one do you have a right to?” he added. The idea of belonging to a culture was discussed among the group, and how it is often a personal choice whether to participate in a particular cultural group. “It’s often the parents that influence the decision of how much you’re involved in a specific culture,” Barros said.

The role culture plays was ultimately summarized as an important discussion to have in today’s society. “This is a year where a lot of people have been talking about how diversity is what makes America great. We need to talk about how to be all these different cultures under one flag,” Gordon said, “because the U.S. is the first country in history at this level of diversity.”

The sixth discussion in the series will be about the Kwanzaa principle of Kuumba, which means creativity. The discussion will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. in the Malcolm X Community Center.

Kathrine Esten can be reached at kesten@umass.edu.

Leave A Comment