In the beginning of 2014, this may be a good time to begin raising awareness about how we celebrate our numerous ethnic holidays throughout the year. Each and every American today stands on the shoulders of courageous, hard-working ancestors who came here from another country, some under great duress, bringing their cultures with them.

Each of us is justifiably proud of our culture and heritage, and we deserve to see them respected, if not honored. Unfortunately, that was not the case on Martin Luther King Day, when members of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity threw an 'MLK Black Party' at State University of Arizona. The party was reminiscent of days back in the '50s, when white people painted their faces black and put on 'Minstrel' shows. Surely, we've put that sort of thing behind us! Or not.

The insults have already started for St. Patrick's Day, though it's not until March. Getting a headstart on its commercialization, Bed, Bath & Beyond keyed in to the ignorantly popular excuse of 'celebration' of Irish culture with drunken binges. The degree to which Irish people see such misrepresentation as erroneous, degrading and insulting cannot be overexpressed. Thanks to pressuring by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Bed, Bath & Beyond has withdrawn their objectionable ads and apologized to the Irish community.

About the Irish, first of all, it's "St. Paddy's Day", not "St. Patty's". Second, Irish people typically don't celebrate by getting falling-down drunk; that's an invention by non-Irish who look for an excuse to binge in the form of insulting, degrading 'fun'.

The culture and history of Irish people is that of hard work and progress despite unimaginable obstacles and prejudice. Cultural and other contributions of Irish peopleare certainly memorable: in politics (22 Presidents), literature - James Joyce, WB Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney (Nobel Prize-winner) -- music and so many other fields.

In addition to MLK Day, Black Heritage Month and St. Patrick's Day, throughout the year in America we're also anticipating Chinese New Year, Muslim Eid, Jewish Chanukah, Hindu Diwali, Buddhist Buddha's Birthday and numerous other ethnic observations.

Because my heritage is Irish, I plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with family and friends, perhaps beginning with Mass at Cathedral of Christ the King, filled with overtones to Ireland's patron saint, followed by a reception with local Irish entertainers.

In the evening, I'll have friends and family over for a sumptuous Irish dinner followed by storytelling, songs, laughter, music, and poetry-reading in front of the fire. And when it's time to wind down, we'll cap it off with Irish coffees and everyone will go home filled with another celebration's happy memories.

So, please everyone, let's be aware of how we celebrate our own and each others' cultural holidays according to the highest-common denominator, expressing the best of us all. If we don't know much, or anything, about others' celebrations it's easy to research them online, and then find a local event. Perhaps we can even join in whenever we see an opportunity; let others know we appreciate their heritage as well as our own. After all, we are all Americans, and we wouldn't be here if all those before us hadn't led the way.



 

 


Comments

08/22/2015 6:04am

The students of every statuses go to the government schools because of low dues and expenditures. The students do not have to face the issue of fares to go to sector. The government transport is available for students.

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10/13/2015 5:29am

The degree to which Irish people see such misrepresentation as erroneous, degrading and insulting cannot be overexpressed. So great blog.

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03/13/2017 11:04pm

Aside from love, respect to one another is one of the most important things all people should have in themselves. We are all created differently. But behind these differences, we should know how to respect and accept each other's flaws. Just like in cultural celebrations, we all have that differently. We celebrate it uniquely. We have our own ways of doing it. That fact shouldn't serve as a barrier for all of us.

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