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Exploring Ethnicity in the Fox Cities

The not-so-fine line between tolerance and celebration: the story of ethnicity in the Fox Valley
When I was told that I would need to begin a blog series as part of my editorial internship at FOX CITIES Magazine, I honestly had no idea what to write about. I racked my brain to find something that had yet to be done on the blog – other interns had already written about the connection between the Fox Valley and Lawrence University (where I’m currently a junior), recipes (I’m not much of a cook anyway, so you readers aren’t missing out), and their artistic talents (check out former intern Andrew’s blog on photographing landscapes). So what was left for me?

It hit me as I read through some articles from a class I took during Lawrence’s winter trimester. The class, entitled Identity Politics and Ethnic Conflict, covered a history of major ethnic conflicts, along with theories of how it can be prevented. One of these theories said that the more people learn about and interact with people from ethnicities different from their own, the more likely that these groups would live in harmony.
Now, don’t get me wrong – the Fox Valley is certainly not on the verge of any kind of ethnic conflict. On the contrary. The Fox Valley is a very warm and open community. What I do want to focus on is this theory that says learning and interacting equals harmony between people of different ethnicities. It can be easy to forget that being a diverse community is not just about tolerance of other ethnic groups – rather, it’s about embracing these ethnicities and making sure that we take the opportunity to learn about them when we can.

So, that’s what I decided to do in my blog series: explore the manifestation of ethnicity in the Fox Valley by informing residents about different ethnic festivals, events, community centers, and restaurants, in order to help unite the Fox Cities in diversity. I hope you’re as excited as I am to explore this aspect of the Cities, and check back soon for my first post!

Do you have any suggestions of local ethnic events or organizations I should blog about? Leave a comment below!

—By Alyssa Villaire

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