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Barron Park celebrates cultural diversity

Original post made on Feb 17, 2013

Palo Alto's Barron Park neighborhood association is creating a series of "Celebrate Cultural Diversity" events to attract new membership and leadership from its ethnically diverse neighborhood. Lunar New Year on Feb. 9 was the kickoff for the new project, with a celebration of the Indian Holi festival to follow this spring.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, February 17, 2013, 9:33 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by remembrance, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 17, 2013 at 9:51 am

Today is the Japanese-American Day of Remembrance. Very sad that an article about cultural diversity that is published on this day does not even mention it.

BTW - I am curious, where did they find a Chinese grocery store in Palo Alto? I would love to have one of those within walking distance.

Posted by All-American, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm

> Cultural diversity ..

This is a bit of an odd idea—given that people petition to come to the US for a better life—openly admitting that the culture of the US results in more prosperity, and freedom, than the cultures of the countries that are seeking to leave.

So—what's the point of trying to elevate, and possibly impose, the failed cultures of other countries on a culture that has provided more people with more of the fundamentals that people, worldwide, are seeking?

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Remembrance--- there are no Chinese groceries in palo alto ( if you notice all the new groceries tend to be boutique, Caucasian type stores) . There is ranch 99 in mountain view,which has wide variety of ethnic stores.
No one is imposing anything on anyone. We are celebrating different cultures, which is why the USA is a melting pot. Seems that recently on this forum there has been much bashing of Asian cultures-- seems that PA is not as progressive as people think.

Posted by All-American, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2013 at 3:02 pm

> Palo Alto is not as progressive ..

Progressive? What does that mean? Is there some sort of litmus test that prospective residents have to pass in order to buy/rent/lease quarters here?

The term means so many things that used by itself, it is beyond ambiguous.

Certainly most people would agree that it has something to do with left-wing political causes/movements—but it's difficult to believe that most people claiming to be a "Palo Alto Progressive" would actually be able to identify the details of any of the movements that identify themselves to be progressive.

One could only hope that Palo Altans would see themselves as critical thinkers before they would call themselves progressives.

Posted by What diversity, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Is it really cultural diversity when there are only two cultures? In palo Alto it seems to be only Caucasian Americands and Chinese nationals. Diversity would include a LOT of other races and nationalities. Most of the Europeans nationals left ten years ago.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Just curious, what diversity, how do you know which are Chinese- Americans and which are Chinese nationals? There are also African- Americans, Japanese, Koreans and other cultures in our city. But I would like to see your evidence.

Posted by resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 17, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Most of the Chinese in my neighborhood were born in California, as opposed to most Caucasians who were born elsewhere. Of course, Caucasians always assume that ethnic Asians are foreigners because they are non-white.

Posted by I agree, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

@resident - I totally agree with your comment. We know many folks of European descent who have moved into the area. You wouldn't know that they were new to the area (and country) at first glance.

We absolutely treasure the diversity of this city. Instead of focusing on differences, why not embrace them? Get to know your neighbors. I have, and it has really enriched us and broadened out perspectives.

If you take some time to talk to folks, you will learn that they are taking great efforts to adjust and assimilate into the American way of life. They appreciate what America has to offer and want to be positive contributors to society, if given the chance.

They also want to learn about other cultures, which is why these types of events are great for the community.

Posted by Alex, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 19, 2013 at 5:23 am

All-American: Honestly, the idea that American culture is somehow exceptional is really silly. The fact that we still tell people "Don't get raped!" rather than tell the rapists not to rape, that we call all males 13-year old and above in war zones "militants", that we have a political and economic system that considers corporations to be people; that, my friend, is cultural failure.

Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 19, 2013 at 10:33 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 19, 2013 at 10:48 am

BTW - I LOVE other ethnic cultures and learning about their traditions. If you were born and raised here (US) and are white, what traditions do you have? Not a lot! I wish there were.
Had a great Chinese New Year meal at MIngs, Dragon dance, etc.
Everyone should try it next year!

Posted by Anthro major, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I took Mandarin Chinese as an honors course thru Stanford in grades 7-10. After that, it was Latin, German, Italian, French, and Dutch in that order. My hubby is fluent in Japanese, and knows some Korean.

I hear a LOT of Mandarin speakers here in PA. Very few Spanish or Japanese, some Korean speakers, some Cantonese speakers. Used to be a lot of French, German, and Italian speakers, but no longer. A few French, very few Germans, a couple of Italians, some Dutch, and a Belgian. Most of the Europeans who became citizens retained their original citizenship "just in case", as many have told me.

I really hate that the city is becoming more homogenous than it has ever been in the twenty years I have lived here. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by All-American, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

> American exceptionalism is a joke

You're free to express your opinion on that point—which is more-or-less an American birthright (perhaps even a fully guaranteed right under the First Amendment). You can't claim that every culture (or nationality, in this case) has not only a similar right—but rights that exceed ours (on this point), can you? Having a Bill of Rights that is now over two hundred years old—pretty much the first of its sort in the world would be an example of American Exceptionalism.

As to your other points—given the extremely large number of benefits, gifts and opportunities that exist in this country—compared to those in other parts of the world—it's very difficult to see how someone would turn their noses up at what the US offers—and claim: "Nuttin' special here!"

> what traditions do people in the US have?

That's a question that might be asked by someone with a fairly poor sense of world history. While the US is very young, compared to countries like China, India and Egypt—the US was founded during the "Age of Reason", which saw its development based on more science and reason, than religion and tradition.

Because of our late creation, we were able to skirt the wars of religion that have killed millions, over the ages. Sadly, we were not able to skirt the secular wars of the 20th Century, so we found ourselves creating a sort of tradition of "being there" when the world needed a stabilizing force—our gift to the world, and one of the "American traditions" that is still in the making.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2013 at 3:50 pm

All American, I like the idea of trying to define what is American culture.

I tend to think that America is a very prideful nation, feelings of entitlement and superiority alongside. There is an arrogance and an ignorance of other events, history or geography of the rest of the world, with an attitude of "This is the only truly free country in the World" and "We are the greatest Leader of the Free World".

I am not blaming most Americans, because I believe this is what our politicians keep telling us every election time and our education system - particularly in high school, supports the idea.

As someone who has traveled extensively in Europe, I see this is the world view of the "average American" if he actually exists. It is not necessarily all bad though, as the view of the average European national identity by any other European nation is probably something worse. Stereotyping is not just an American pastime, but is inherent in all nationalities. Looking on the ugliness of other cultures is probably a survival mechanism in dealing with some of the problems each nation has to deal with. Generalisations, although not necessarily helpful, are understandable. Although we would all like to think that we look for the best in each other, we are probably just secretly trying to make ourselves sound better to ourselves, hiding our own faults.

I would try and give some examples, but then again, I wouldn't like to offend, and I would probably be censored anyway. But I know there are some very funny examples if anyone feels like googling the topic.

Posted by Anthro major, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Once again, as everyone else gets priced out of Palo Alto, or outgrows their little house on a postage-stamp lot, this city gets less multicultural and more homogenous. Just not American citizen homogenous.

Posted by dso, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by All-American, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2013 at 10:01 am

> with an attitude of "This is the only truly free
> country in the World" and "We are the greatest
> Leader of the Free World".

While everything can be attributed to culture (in some way), these are probably not very good examples. Certainly given the history of the world since 1776/1783—the US has certainly demonstrated more "freedom" than any other country—keeping in mind that it was mostly empty during our formative years, and people could "go west" and be free (for a while, anyway).

It is true that the US claims to be the "leader of the Free World", but it's hard to believe that most Americans really believe that it is. This is a mindset that can be seen to be more a "Washington" thing, than something that is inherently a part of US culture. With the creation of the EU, there is a political entity now that is larger in population and wealth than the US. Unfortunately, the US is still spending more for defense (including the defense of Europe) than the next 165 countries combined.

So, for people seeking to celebrate other cultures, you folks need to explain to us why you think that countries that have a history of starting wars, and not cleaning up after themselves—are something to get excited about.

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