Ever since I was a sophomore, I’ve looked forward to the Global Village fashion show. Every year, I start planning my outfit a month in advance and lay it out the night before so I’m ready to go in the morning. The thrill of leaving class and getting dolled up with my closest friends is a memory I won’t forget, and many of the students who participate in the event would agree with me.
This year, as it was my friend’s turn to walk on the ramp and display a bright outfit from her home country, I was thoroughly disappointed to see another student run onto the ramp and chant “USA! USA!” repeatedly. To me, the act was not patriotic at all; it was an embarrassing attempt to be funny for the audience.
As the attention diverted from my friend’s colorful ethnic outfit to this chanting individual wearing a USA t-shirt, I questioned why anyone would do something so distasteful. It was just plain mean to interfere with a school’s cultural celebration and take the attention away from a student genuinely interested in representing her culture. She had planned out a whole outfit in advance, and practiced her poses the night before; she deserved her moment as much as anyone else.
For those who would defend this young man’s actions, I am not at all suggesting that the United States shouldn’t be represented in such an activity. I am not at all against American culture; I am a proud American citizen that was born and raised here. I root for Team USA when the Olympics come around, I recite the pledge with a hand over my heart, and I always make a point to celebrate the 4th of July by watching the annual fireworks shows. I am so happy to have grown up in this beautiful country, but I still acknowledge the culture that my parents grew up in and passed down to me. And I think it’s perfectly fine to celebrate one’s ethnicity and native culture while appreciating and being loyal to the country he or she has grown up in.
The concept of the Global Village fashion show is to display the various cultures RBHS students represent, and American culture should definitely be represented by any student who wishes to do so. But interfering in a tribute to another country’s culture is unprofessional and completely unacceptable; the young man that interrupted the fashion show last week clearly made the statement that the United States is a better country than the country being represented on the ramp at that moment. And this mentality is exactly opposite of what RBHS promotes.
Global Village is an opportunity for the whole school to appreciate the diversity of the school population. It is a time when students are exposed to clothing, music and food from different portions of the world, and taught to respect each individual culture. Students should learn to respect each individual country and act appropriately throughout the week-long celebration. Global Village is a time when the RBHS “Freedom with responsibility” policy is really put to the test. The young man at the fashion show showed me how some people have not understood this concept yet, and we, the student body, should not condone the disappointing behavior we saw at last Thursday’s fashion show. Global Village is just one of the many events that makes RBHS different from other schools; it shows how our students can respect one another, regardless of race, culture or religion. And any behavior that opposes this mindset of acceptance should not be tolerated.
By Afsah Khan