May 2017 President’s Message by Cindy Towles

According to the U.S. Census Bureaus’ Estimates, this is the cultural breakdown of Cherryland:

Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 55.6%
White 18.1%
Black or African American 9.5%
Asian 9.2%
Other/More than one 7.6%
The United States has been traditionally called a melting pot because American history began with waves of immigrants, who became assimilated into American society.  The term “Melting Pot” is from Israel Zangwill’s 1908 play of the same name, which depicts the life of a Russian-Jewish immigrant whose entire family is killed because of their ethnic group. He writes a great symphony called “The Crucible” expressing his hope for a world in which all ethnicity has melted away.
In the UK, where immigrants have always been encouraged to maintain their traditions and their native language, they describe themselves as a “salad bowl”, with people of different cultures living in harmony, like the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots in a salad.
A 2004 survey of Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican immigrants by National Public Radio and others shows that many came here with the hopes to return to their home land, but realize that, for their children to have opportunities to be successful in America, it is important to assimilate and learn the language. At the same time, they desire to preserve the culture of their homeland and pass on traditions and values to the generations of family members that follow.
The book Who Are We: The Challenges to American National Identity, compares American culture to a basic tomato soup with immigrants adding spices to the soup.  I like to think of Cherryland as being more of a casserole; soup is a little too homogenous to describe us.
Cherryland’s population is 55.6% Hispanic.  According to a 2012 survey by the George Barna group, Hispanics believe a strong traditional family is the building block for a healthy community.   I like that spice that they add to the Cherryland Casserole.  Savory and cozy, like cumin.  Heartwarming.
I am not sure what the 18.1% white is. I suspect white means the 19th-century immigrants from Europe who fled poor economic conditions and settled America, developed its infrastructure, and advanced its politics and culture.  Like my great-great-grandparents, the Borge da Silvas, who immigrated from the Azores Islands. I think the 18.1% add the salt to the recipe. Basic, but an essential nutrient; and you notice it when it’s missing.
Salt’s counterpart, the fragrant peppercorn, once prohibitively expensive and a global commodity, is supplied by the Asian population.  This enterprising people group earns 115-120% of what “whites” do.
The 9.5% Black/African-American population most likely immigrated here originally from the African diaspora. Spirituality was a significant part of African Americans’ ancestral culture, so “Grains of Paradise” will be the zesty flavor this vibrant people group adds to the Cherryland Casserole; like their enormous influence on music, art, literature, religion, cuisine, and American culture in general.
When we have a casserole, we expect that there will be different ingredients and that they will be mixed together. But what if you ordered casserole and got a pile of sauce on the right, spices on the left, and some vegetables on a separate plate? Or, worse yet, what if all the ingredients were put into a blender!
My recipe for Cherryland Casserole would be one where the ingredients would maintain their own distinct individuality and were lovingly mixed into equal proportions of rights and opportunities, into a unified dish.

With a generous portion of spices.

In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
(“in necessary things unity; in uncertain things freedom;
in everything compassion”).
~ Marco Antonio de Dominis

This entry was posted on May 1, 2017. Bookmark the permalink.