Whether or not we’re of African American descent, we’re aware of the existence Black History Month. Certain holidays that originated with specific nationalities and cultures – like St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Chinese New Year, to name just a handful – have become American staples that just about everyone acknowledges and celebrates to some extent. Even so, multicultural awareness is about so much more than just connecting with a given social group here and there on certain days.
An ongoing study of the many heritages and ethnicities that call America home is personally enriching on a deeper level. It’s an important part of maintaining our society. It can be beneficial to your own unique life in other ways, as well. Here we’ll take a closer look at why everyone should eventually undertake a personal study of cultures and ethnicities other than their own.
1. Multicultural studies are an important part of American history.
They don’t call America the great melting pot for nothing. American history is filled with immigration stories from beginning to end. Over the years, a multitude of cultures came together in countless ways to create one big, wonderful nation, and the influence of each has made its mark on America’s unique identity as a country.
That said, more generalized study is fine when it comes to American history. However, to truly get to the bottom of what makes our country so great, we need to study each of the individual cultural identities that are part of the story. Only then can we truly say we have a full understanding of the story of America.
2. Multicultural studies help enhance your understanding of other people.
Here in the 21st century, it’s obvious that issues like racism, sexism, and xenophobia are all very much alive and well. It’s also obvious that ignorance is a huge part of the reason why. When you make it a point to study and develop your understanding of social groups other than your own, and encourage others to do the same, you’re helping to combat ignorance.
Studying ethnic and multicultural topics helps us understand one another better as fellow humans. It helps us identify our similarities while learning to see the beauty our differences. It makes it infinitely more difficult to justify the “us-them” mentality that is so harmful in today’s society as well.
3. Multicultural studies can help you explore your own family background.
Even the most typical Americans grow up with at least some understanding of the many cultures that are part of their family background. They may be aware that their great-grandparents were originally from Poland, Sweden, or Spain. They may know of ancestors who were Native American, Indian, Chinese, or South African.
Multicultural studies can help you develop a new understanding of the influences that helped make your family the unique entity that it is. What better way to honour your ancestors than to really explore their backstories as people?
4. Multicultural studies can enhance your love for your city of origin.
Most American have and retain a loyalty to the city or region they consider themselves to be from. Many may decide to study the history of that place at some point in their lifetime. However, it’s important to realize that a general study won’t uncover all the details a true history connoisseur would be interested in.
At the end of the day, a city is nothing if not its people. Studying the many cultural groups that have also called your area home over the years (and most likely still do) can help you experience it through the eyes of others. Studying native peoples that lived on the land long before America as we know it existed can help you take your studies even further.
5. Multicultural studies help you expand your mind.
In order for a mind to continue growing and expanding, it needs to be challenged. Challenge quite simply doesn’t happen when you keep studying the same topics from the same angles that you’re already used to. It does happen when you make it a point to do things in new but equally important ways.
Studying regional or national history from a multicultural perspective helps you build your mental capacity by encouraging you to think in new ways and consider other perspectives. Your thought processes are challenged, and the way your mind goes about processing information is strengthened as a result.
6. Multicultural studies are just plain interesting.
When you truly love something, it only makes sense that you’d want to absorb anything and everything to do with that particular topic. However, the longer you study a topic, the more difficult it becomes to locate new informational tidbits to get excited about. This is just as much the case with history and American culture as it is anything else.
Deciding that it’s time to explore history from a multicultural or multiethnic angle opens you up to a wealth of new information to discover. You’re instantly treated to countless personal stories and perspectives you’d never experience any other way. You discover how deep a subject American history really is, and your whole world is changed for the better because of it.
Explore history and American culture in depth with regional interest literature.
Of course it’s one thing to decide you’re ready to explore history from a completely new angle. It’s another to know where to start. An expansive regional history catalog like the one maintained by Arcadia Publishing is a stellar place to begin.
Regional interest literature lets you decide where you’d like to begin your journey. Explore the various cultural influences in your hometown or home state. Study specific cultures or social groups of interest by reading multiple volumes on the neighborhoods, landmarks, events, and people associated with them. Learn about the history of your favorite cultural cuisines, celebrations, and traditions.
Here in the 21st century, it’s never been easier to educate yourself in regards to any topic that strikes your fancy, and that includes the fascinating roots of the American identity. Start exploring today!