Intercultural Dinner emphasizes togetherness with speeches, performances

As seen on the event’s pamphlet above, this year’s Intercultural Night theme emphasized togetherness, including the other two main ideas of intersectionality and equality. This event brochure depicts the unity of various cultures coming together, embodying both happy and loving spirits (Kara Burke/Managing Editor).

Nine different clubs hosted and performed in the annual Intercultural Dinner, last Saturday on Oct. 26. The theme most clubs preached regarded intersectionality and equality. 

Food from all different cultures was served and performances were put on by all the clubs involved. A brief intermission allowed those who attended to get dessert and then performances continued.

The Chinese Culture Club kicked off the event with a short video about masculinity in Chinese culture. In this video, students and professors discussed how masculinity has been defined by things like having to provide for the family. They explained that harsh definitions of masculinity not only put men in a box, but also put down and discriminate against women. 

Nine cultural groups performed at this year’s event. Performances ranged from dances and skits, to the recitation of literary works (Kara Burke/Managing Editor).

Next, the Latin Student Association went on to read “Querida Familia Latina,” a piece about Latin Americans being silenced and treated inhumanely. They spoke out against family separations and detention centers at the border as well as calling for everyone to speak out against hate.

One of the group’s final lines was, “May we turn this time of despair into a time of action, may our love for one another be our guiding light during these dark times.”

Pride Alliance then read a poem about identity being unique to each person, affirming that identity is fluid and doesn’t have to fit social constructs. 

Both the African Student Association and Shakti performed a skit showing how women in their cultures are often encouraged to lighten their skin to be beautiful and discouraged from feeling beautiful in their own skin. Both groups followed this with a dance, ASA to Blue Ivy’s “BROWN SKIN GIRL” and Shakti did a traditional Indian dance. 

Black Student Union performed a skit about sexism and racism in the workplace and encouraged everyone to rise up against oppression and achieve their goals. The Korean American Student Association followed with a video and dance called “Butterfly” about inspiring everyone to be themselves. 

Caribbean Student Association played audio about intersectionality and understanding all the struggles people face, followed by an interactive exercise with the audience where club members asked people to stand if a statement they made applied to them. They ended the activity powerfully with members of the club coming on stage to talk about who they were. Their final statement was “Divided by water, united by culture.” 

The Japanese Culture Club wrapped up the performances with a kamishibai, which is a form of street theater. A story was told about the Ainu people of northern Japan, who are an indigenous group of the islands that have been forced to assimilate to Japanese culture.

Students enjoyed the show and thought the performances were both educational and fun.

“I thought it was really great, it was a really nice way to represent [the interconnectedness] of the Geneseo community. My favorite part was the Shakti dance and the reading from Pride, but the entire thing was amazing,” biochemistry major sophomore Hannah Smith said. “We’re going through such dividing times right now, politically and culturally, so I think this is a really great show of unity within groups that have been historically marginalized.”

Math major junior Luc Melo elaborated on the importance of these educational but celebratory events saying, “My favorite part of the event was the fact that they tried to show social issues without being afraid of making the audience feel uncomfortable, because you can feel uncomfortable with these topics but that doesn’t mean that they’re not important. You should still put them in these shows so people engage with these topics.”