Monday, October 3, 2016
While back, our town had an art walk down Main street and a Latino festival coinciding side by side. The art walk has been going on for years but has been declining to the point that it now spans only part of a block and only in one row, versus multiple blocks with multiple rows in the past. I think a lot of this has to do with our county being the poorest county in the state and there just isn't money there to support luxury items like original artwork to hang on your walls. I don't help because though I have the money for such things, I prefer to put my own artwork up on my walls over that of someone else. Anyway, there was a steady dribble of people walking through the handful of stalls selling original art and when compared to the block next to this one, it was a pretty white European crowd.
We crossed the intersection to the next block of Main street and the Latino festival, the first year in that location, was going strong. There were three times as many people there and although there were a smattering of us white European (and pacific rim Asians) among the crowd, it was for the large part, a Latino crowd. While the art walk required cash to buy anything, at the Latino festival, everything except for a few food vendors was free. Because there was more things to do there, we spent the majority of our time with the Latino crowd.
It got me to pondering why we tend to self segregate ourselves as a community rather than integrate and enjoy the multitude of cultures around us? Language is probably the biggest reason as the sound stage out of frame to the left was completely in Spanish of which I have forgotten more than I remember by a factor of 20. However, I still enjoy watching the performances even if I have no idea what they represented.
I don't think that is the only reason because having lived twenty miles away in a town with more cultural diversity than any other town in the nation, everyone tended to co-mingle just fine at community events. So I wondered if it has partly to do with education. My former town graduated nearly 100% of their students every year. My current town just celebrated the fact that they now graduate 89% of the students now, up from 75% of the students a decade earlier. I am blown away that one in ten kids don't graduate from high school anywhere in this country.
I guess I'm at a loss for reasons but self segregation in this town anyway is still very much alive. For those who don't abide by it, there are some perks. A friend of mine clued me in to a little shop that makes fresh corn tortillas daily. I stopped by and bought a stack of 25 or 30 so tortillas (they only sell by the pound and I got one pound worth) for a measly one dollar. They tasted like heaven on earth that evening for supper and cost a small fraction of what I pay for in the store. Seeing we had so many, we didn't get them all eaten and the following day, they tasted only slightly better than what I have got from the supermarket. So I have realize that tortillas you buy in the supermarket are only stale cousins to fresh ones. I'll never buy another non-freshly made corn tortilla again.