News Release

Understanding African American and Dutch American Cultures

As part of Trinity’s Diversity Lecture Series, Dr. David Brodnax, assistant professor of history, and Bill Boerman-Cornell, assistant professor of education, recently led an open, and often light-hearted, discussion about the uniqueness of the African American and Dutch American cultures.

The professors answered questions submitted anonymously by students that broached such subjects as cultural ties between the Dutch and African Americans; becoming part of another sub-culture; and even the definition of Dutch bingo.

In addressing a question about why people tend to separate into specific groups, Brodnax explained, “People look for the biggest common denominator and congregate with those they feel they have the most in common with.”

Often sub-cultures are perceived as exclusionary, and some students wonder how to go about making in-roads into a different group. Boerman-Cornell suggested that it isn’t necessarily the sub-culture that is exclusionary.

He said that fear is what usually keeps the individual from joining another group. “People exclude themselves.”

The professors encouraged listeners to continue talking about these subjects. They also stressed the importance of understanding cultural history and celebrating the cultures of others.

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