The Candor

Melting Pot:The importance of knowing your cultural roots

By Aisha Sarvana

America has long been known as the melting pot. People from all over the world have left their motherlands to settle in this land of opportunity. The country is filled with Chinese, Indian, Irish and everyone else.  Cultural assimilation has led many of us to forget our cultural roots and where we come from.  English is largest used language all across the world, as many other languages are fading away.  As we move forward in this progressive country, it is necessary to remember where we came from and what our families stand for.

But then again, why does all that even matter? Individuals are consistently craving for identity and distinct traits that allows them to stand out and be unique. Many of us seem to forget that cultural roots are the foundation of uniqueness. Knowing where you came from, traditions, and customs create the root of finding ourselves. Culture plays an important role in shaping our principles and morals. Culture is what ties a community together and makes its distinctive.

Having a second language was often common when America had an influx of immigrants. Many people of that first generation made it a point to hold on to their language and culture and passed it on to their children. On the other hand, there were those that just wanted to fit in. The desire to be like everyone else took over and led to assimilation. Studies have shown that being bilingual makes the brain stronger and less prone to degenerative mental disorders. Knowing an additional language other than English is a skill. And it is through these skills and traits of culture that we are diverse and different in our own ways.

Culture is what teaches us about our beliefs. It influences us daily from how we act, what we eat, and even what we wear. Knowing our culture is a way of knowing ourselves and what we believe in. Culture does not have to be limited to where you came from or who your ancestors were. Especially living in America, there are new customs and traditions we have adopted. For example, the Thanksgiving holiday is part of American culture. Whether you come from Japan or France, it is an American holiday that almost all families celebrate. Culture is constantly added upon. And by knowing our own culture or cultures, we are better able to understand others.  With the great amount of diversity, we are still able to accept and respect each other and our beliefs.

Many believe that culture is lost and there is no need to know where you came from. However, to find yourself and truly know who you are, knowing your roots is just the foundation. Culture influences us in more ways than we may know. It is an invisible bond that ties a community together. So take a moment and reflect on who you are, where you come from, and what you believe in. Self-reflection is the first step of self-discovery.