What Lexington Needs: John Stempel – A Celebration of Cultural Diversity

What Lexington Needs: John Stempel – A Celebration of Cultural Diversity


Ace, April 1991

What Lexington Needs: A Celebration of Cultural Diversity

By John Stempel
Patterson School of Diplomacy
University of Kentucky

Lexington needs a celebration—well, at least a way to show off its cultural diversity. The Wildcat Basketball Fan is a common sight, well remarked in the newspapers and on the radio—but Lexington has other groups with fascinating heritages but no venues for showing them off. There are small but active Muslim and Hindu communities, as well as a number of hyphenated Americans: Indians, Greeks, Japanese, Italians, Germans, Chinese, Thais. Several of these are represented by ethnic restaurants (Amato’s, Imperial Hunan, Nagasaki Inn); many are not.

Occasionally, foreign cultural events come to town, often sponsored by U.K. foreign students—such as the beautiful and renown Indian Bharatanatyam dance team that will be appearing in the U.K. student center on April 19—and from time to time there are ethnic performances at ArtsPlace, but they are often under publicized and there is a much richer heritage here. What’s needed is a way to highlight and publicize (so others can enjoy) some of the fascinating and meaningful events such as Greek Easter; the Persian (Iranian) “Now Ruz,” a new year’s celebration on or about March 21; or the German Oktoberfest, the beer-drinking celebration of autumn that should commend itself even to the six-pack commandos!

What Lexington Doesn’t Need

More fast food franchises. I yield to no one in my admiration for the “instant burger,” fried chicken or salad bar, but enough is enough! Not only do studies show that Lexington is number one in the nation in fast food consumption (or at worst number two) but the franchises grow like weeds. More Triangle Parks, less scattered French fry wrappings!