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Fall Quarter '94

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Cultural Diversity Enriches Our World

A CULTURAL DIVERSITY FORUM


MANKATO STATE UNIVERSITY
East Wind, West Wind
MSU Box 65
P. O. Box 8400
East Wind, West Wind
Mankato, MN 56002-8400
(507) 389-2812 An MSU Cultural Diversity Forum
Fall Quarter '94
Editor
Vann Phan "Cultural Diversity Enriches Our World'"

Staff Writers
Victor Philips
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Samurai Phan
Nicole Henderson
From the Editor i

Cover Art Melodious Echoes from the Plains 1

Scott Allan Kingbird Schindler's List: A Last Review 2

Negative Stereotypes of Minorities Persist. .4


Art & Design Cross-cultural Issues: It's Unity 5
Yee Xiong
Kawanzaa ; 6

Jackie Eckert, the Linchpin of OMA 7


Photography
Victor Philips The Bus Drive 8
Nicole Henderson You Can Come in Now 12
Khanti Thongvivong
The Hmong New Year Celebration in La Crosse 13
What You Can't Miss : 14
Typesetters
Loan Trinh Picture News: Cultural Diversity Activities 16-17
Vanna Nguyen
Nicole Henderson Alienation Leads to Change ; 18
Khanti Thongvivong I Am a Vietnamese! 22

Distortion not New to Local Chapter ofIndian History 23


Contributors Profile: Mona Wallace 24
Ken Berg
Dara Akiko Connections Across Cultures 25
Ronald B. Bailey Vietnam Reconsidered 26
Francisco J. Gonzales
Beverly Ho-A-Yun East Wind, West Wind News 30
Remi Van Huyen Acknowledgments inside back cover
Maria Baxter
CROSS-CULTURAL ISSUES

By Francisco J. Gonzales

Editor's Note: The bottom line of cultural diversity is to


create a win-win situation in which harmony, not conflict,
among people of different cultural backgrounds could be
achieved, thus eliminating the prospect of one racial group
gaining advantage over another or any privileged group
could prosper at the expense of others.

It is with this understanding that Francisco J. Gonzales, a


contributing writer of East Wind, West Wind, writes the
fol/owing article which we're glad to introduce to our dear
readers this time.

In the last couple of years, one of the most evident


changes in the American political and social landscapes is
the increasing conservatism among the majority (White/
European-American) population. Both main parties, re-
publican and democratic, have shown a pronounced shift
to the right of the political spectrum. For minority groups,
this is a particularly troubling development. Historically,
conservative right-wing administrations have not only failed
to take out concerns into consideration but also have
actively worked to hamper progress in critical areas such
as civil rights, equal employment opportunity, affordable
housing and, most recently, universal health-care insur-
ance.

Since we cannot trust either established political party to


deal with (or even show interest for) these issues, it is now
crucial that minority people pool our strength together.
However, a major barrier in this process is the continuing

lack of unity between the leadership of the African-Ameri-


can, Chicano-Latino-Mexicano, Asian-American and Na-
tive American communities.

5
The Black vs. Asian violence seen in the 1992 Los Angles ers among the African-American and Latino communities
riots, and the ongoing Black vs. Hispanic conflicts in south that are opposed to any connection with Jews and gays,
Florida are but two of the most graphic examples of the while the feminist movement for many years excluded
fights among people of color in many communities. The women of color from leadership positions. Regardless of
consequences of this are also obvious. In Los Angeles, an these past and present conflicts, we should all realize that
European-American right-wing businessman became we really have no choice. The forces opposed to equality
mayor in 1993 after defeating a Chinese-American oppo- and justice for all Americans are formidable. Unity in the
nent who lacked the support of Blacks and Latinos in a city face of this threat must be our overriding priority at this
where whites are a minority. In south Florida, due to the time. Unity is our only hope for a better future.
political disagreement between Blacks and Latinos, plans
for a new minority congressional district were canceled.

Even within ethnic groups there are social, economic,


regional and class barriers standing on the way of achiev-
ing greater solidarity. For Latinos, the problem is com-
pounded by the fact that each major group has a particular
concern that is quite different from the others. To Mexican-
Americans, the single largest Latino community, immigra-
tion law reform is an important issue; however, for Puerto
Ricans (who are all U.S. citizens by birth), it is not an issue
at all. On the other hand, Cubans are mostly interested in
how to influence developments in Cuba.

Despite these divisions, there is hope thatthrough inspired


and determined leadership our communities can pull to-
gether and form a common front. The Reverend Jesse
Jackson and his !!Rainbow Coalition" had led the way for
many years, reaching out to all sectors interested in
ending injustice. The N.A.A.C.P., the most influential
African-American organization, has recently stepped up
it's efforts to expand the membership and include Latinos
and their interests. Multi-ethnic and multi-cultural groups
and organizations are becoming increasingly active in
many parts of the country, influencing political and eco-
nomic decisions in their communities.

But we must also look beyond race for unity and support.
Other groups in society, besides people of color, have felt
the same discrimination and injustices and are natural
allies in our struggle. The Jewish population in America
share many of the historical prejudices that racial minori-
ties have endured for centuries. Jews also have a strong
sense of justice and a record of involvement in civil rights
movements. Their political and economic influence could
greatly boost any reform initiatives supported by people of
color. The feminist and gay communities are also groups
in society that, while mostly representing people of White/
European-American ancestry, are also faced with many
obstacles similar to those encountered by other minority
groups.

It would be a long and arduous process to build a coalition


among people of color, and even more difficult to include
other progressive elements such as Jews, feminists, gays,
and environmentalists. There are many prominent lead-