Cultural Identities

Aurora Alatorre, Reporter

     One knowing their culture is a vast part of knowing who they really are. Expressing your background and traditions should make you proud because your culture makes you, you. In addition to knowing who you are, you should also know about different cultures through ethnic studies or other available means.


     At River City High School, is a very diverse campus. Although, showing appreciation towards our background wasn’t celebrated through students or staff.


     “I think initially when I started here, I felt and I saw that River City did not have that because we are such a diverse campus, but you look around and there was not celebration of it,” Senora Monarrez a Spanish and Ethnic Studies teacher at River City High School shared. “And that why the very first year that I started, which was about three years ago, I started multicultural club and we started to do more events on campus that incorporate culture and celebrate culture and I’ve also seen that BSU [Black Student Union]  also does things to celebrate culture, but outside of that I think we have a lot of work to do.”


     River City has came a long way from barely any cultural based clubs to many new ones such as Pacific Islander club or Black Student Union. It is a step forward in the right direction, but like said, more work is to be done.


     “Yes, I want to join MECHA!”, Jasmine Morales, a freshman at River City said with lots of passion.


     Students electing to join these clubs is a positive choice. Learning about who you really are is crucial, especially during adolescence. In addition, others should also learn about different cultures to gain a better understanding of areas of cultural celebration and cultural sensitivity.  


     Also, learning about special dishes families eat and special events can be beneficial so others can accept and have an open mind about different cultures and their upbringings.


     “I have many favorite foods,  but my family makes pupusa.” Morales stated. A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish of a thick corn tortilla stuffed with a savory filling.


     “I would say the biggest one for me especially now as a mother and I think about things I want my daughter to learn about who we are as a culture is Dia de los Muertos. So ever since she was a little girl she’s helped us put the alters together and we’d talk about people in our family who have passed away and the contributions they have left the legacy they have left in our family and why we do these things to remember them and honor them.” Monarrez exclaimed.


     Although, there are many people who are or have been ashamed of their culture, whether it is the fear of peer acceptance, or just not knowing about their culture. Cultural education promotes self-esteem and self-identity.


     “Yes, when I was in high school I did not want to associate myself with speaking Spanish or being labeled as just Mexican because of experiences I had in elementary school where teachers thought based off of my last name that I didn’t speak English correctly when in fact English was my first language. By the time I got to high school, I was constantly trying to prove I could speak English better and or at the same level as people who didn’t have a Spanish last name so I took a lot of honors and AP classes.and it wasn’t until my senior year that I started connecting with and accepting my identity and started listening to music in Spanish.” Mrs. Monarrez said.


     Now that River City has more cultural clubs, students can feel comfortable to express their culture and not be ashamed.


     “–It’s not just about Chicanos learning Chicano history, it’s about everybody changing what their idea of what an American is. Chicanos are Americans, African Americans are Americans, Asian Americans are Americans, so when we learn their history that’s a part of U.S history, but it’s the part that often just gets a paragraph in an entire textbook”  Senora Monarrez said.