Why Explore Ethnic Cultures?

The Influence of Ethnic Culture

I grew up in a small town of Western Pennsylvania. Therefore, I have the advantage to explore many different ethnic cultures. People from Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Italy, Ireland, and Germany developed my home town. Immigrants and refugees came to work in the Pittsburgh Plate Glass factory. Furthermore, many people came from poverty-stricken countries seeking freedom and a better way of life. Typical row house line our streets and avenues.

Festivals and holidays consist of a multitude of ethnic dishes. Pastas, breads, cabbage, Kolbasi, Haluski, schnitzel, potatoes and more are common feasts. Interestingly, traditional American food dishes are rare.


Think about your favorite food dishes. I surmise they all originated from some cultural influence. Spices creating exquisite flavors and artistry laid out on plates make eating a treat. There’s nothing like going to “Babicka’s, Nonna’s or Oma’s” house for supper! I didn’t have to travel the world to taste a little bit of Italy, Germany or Poland!

Increased my World

Having the advantage to explore ethnic cultures at one’s fingertips, makes it easy to accept others as equals. Therefore, I learned to acknowledge other people’s religious beliefs and their different way of life. Surrounded by influences outside my own heritage, I believe, made me a more well-rounded individual who easily accepts diversity.

Learning why other cultures do things differently helps defuse hatred. It allows us to think “outside the box.” Knowledge expands our thinking and maybe even teaches there are other ways to approach problems.

Why Embrace another Culture

Take time to learn about someone’s personal ethnic history.  You will not only honor them but broaden your views on life. Through experiencing another culture, one nurtures understanding. Thus, you increase your world view, develop insight to realize there is more than one way to accomplish things. Embracing another culture opens the mind, the heart and helps us take a look at our own lives and values.

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