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Inter-culturalism, Art, and Environment

Haitian Mango Salad

Cultural Perspectives

By Tim Hazell

Immigrants who must cross ethnic lines of demarcation inherently struggle to retain their own identities. Government legislation remains a standard procedure when attempting to create harmony among cultural entities with vastly differing histories. Promoting multi-culturalism has offered visible, accessible solutions to diplomatic agencies that provide support for programs directed toward positive initiatives for peace. The best of these groups advocate fundamental changes in how we rethink and rebuild our societies to reflect global aesthetics.

Legitimized ghettos are born of attempts to segregate ethnic groups in government-approved, minimalized urban environments. Differences between the politically correct and the more dynamically assertive inter-cultural programs become apparent when they are evaluated as strategies that achieve cosmetic versus life-changing results. Inter-culturalism as a header implies collaboration and interaction, proactive states of living in a constantly changing fraternity.

True inter-cultural agendas propose to integrate migrating groups into their new settlements with an emphasis on the benefits those populations can bring to their host communities. Without such strong promotion and positive action, ethnic societies perpetually exist on each other’s fringes. Unless fruitful collaboration and development of common interests is emphasized, social services and quality of life for multiracial populations will continue to deteriorate. The “inter-cultural” rationale encourages clarification of those tantalizing mysteries that accompany differing social mores.

Misunderstandings can breed intolerance. More humanitarian interpretations of ethnicity have spawned a growing network of individually attuned inter-cultural services. Agencies and organizations with philanthropic goals draw their inspiration specifically from a population’s lineages. Gradual shifts to modern critical thinking extend to acceptance of racial diversity, particularly where native rights related to the environment and nonrenewable resources are concerned.

Nations survive radical transformations through colonization by imperialist regimes, frequently with dire losses in terms of natural resources and cultural erosion. Throughout the Caribbean, art, literature, and crafts reflect another, resilient side of its people’s tenacity, in the joie de vivre, or gusto for life expressed in its naif movements, a sense of connections between dire realities and heroic imagination.

Taino and Arawak Indians, the original inhabitants of the islands, created paintings in caves, on the walls of their huts, their bodies, and utilitarian objects. In Haiti, distinctive cultural movements were derived from African belief systems, European influences, French language, and architecture. Staples, such as casava and carved wooden objects, preserve traditions of Taino cooking and craftsmanship.  Perfect for our sultry spring weather, this traditional Haitian mango salad is simple, delicious, and perfect for preparing in advance.

3 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cups pulp from mango, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 sliced French baguette or similar crusty bread

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, red onion, diced mango and mint. Add oil and balsamic vinegar, mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving on previously broiled slices of bread.


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