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Cedar is more diverse than many realize
by Mary Anne Andersen Cedar City Arts Council
Mar 04, 2017 | 634 views | 1 1 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I must confess I don’t think of Cedar City as being a place of much diversity. Most of the people who live by me look and sound like me. (There is one happy, notable exception on my street. When I knock on the door of a family a few houses down to deliver some Christmas peanut brittle, the wife answers wearing a head scarf, and the most exotic smells waft out from behind her. She and her husband teach at SUU and I am always greeted with enthusiasm and grace.) The students that I see each day and the colleagues among whom I work are like me in most ways as far as appearance and background. (Again, there is one exception of a violin teacher of Haitian background.)

So when I attended the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on January 16, knowing its intent to show that music can be a uniter of peoples of all cultures and ethnicities, I thought it might a hard mission to illustrate. But I was so wrong. In speech alone, the program of a little over an hour presented a different accent with nearly every person who spoke.

In the first place, the emcee, DaKishia Reid, is from Colorado, so her speech patterns are not much different from mine. We share a love of words, music, and art, and join together monthly with others on the Cedar City Arts Council to work to promote the arts in Iron County. However, no one would ever get us mixed up. Chalk one up for diversity. But as she began introducing the program, a variety of speech patterns provided a greater diversity in Cedar City than I had expected.

Dr. Ali Siapush, a professor at SUU, is an expert in the fields of heat transfer, aerospace, and thermohydraulics. If that isn’t enough to insure diversity between him and me, this Pakistan native speaks Farsi, so his address about the wonderful diversity he has seen in America was underscored by speech patterns and accents that were very different from what I hear every day.

The Hispanic dance group Herencia Hispana introduced itself in accents I remember from our time in the central valley of California. The Spanish accent was common there, but here it was at an important cultural event in Cedar City, Utah.

The featured speaker of the evening, Janice Brooks, spoke in the easy, soft tones of her ethnic group, making me lean forward just a bit to catch each word. And, best of all, she laced her remarks with occasional bits of song, a device used more in the black culture than in my uptight crowd. (Think President Obama singing during his eulogy in a church in the south.)

I also happen to know that if two other performers had spoken, we’d have heard German and Chinese accents.

All those accents representing all those diverse lifestyles and upbringings…….Who knew?! So much for my perception that everyone here looks and sounds like me.



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Sara Penny for Cedar
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March 07, 2017
Thanks for getting this posted.
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