Cultural history should include all

Published 4:41 am Sunday, February 28, 2010

This past week, I attended four Black History Month programs. I learned about the history, as told through music, drama and discussion.

After understanding the history and culture as told through these programs, I am glad that Selma pays such close attention to the history of African-Americans, a people who have been very influential in the community and throughout history. The one suggestion I have for the rest of the months is that we learn about other cultures.

Selma is one small dot on the map. Even though we can get consumed in the daily events and gossip of this town, we are in no way disconnected from the rest of the world.

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Cultural education stops after schooling, and adults have a way of slowly losing the knowledge gained in elementary school.

That’s why shows like “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” are such hits—adults lose touch with cold, hard textbook facts. Adults get swept up in national politics and neighborhood gossip.

Now that February’s Black History Month programs have taught us the history of African-Americans, it is time for us to understand other cultures.

We don’t have a month dedicated to Latino history, Catholic history, Jewish history, Roman history, Greek history, Spanish history, Russian history, Canadian history or Mexican history.

Without the other months designated to studying the other peoples, we have to take the initiative to learn about each other.

For just as much as you might want other cultures to understand about what makes you special, you have to take the time to see what makes them special.

Don’t complain that someone has a false idea about who you are and where you come from if you too carry a false idea about him or her.

This is the mission every person must accomplish: Learn about one another. Ask honest questions to really find out about different cultures.

Let go of the animosity of previous events and generations. Maybe, just maybe, if we do this, can we understand one another, and we can spend the other 11 months studying the “everybody else” history.

Laura Fenton is the education reporter for the Selma Times-Journal. You may reach her at 410-1744 or