“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture.
Just get people to stop reading them.”
Who Am I?
Author Darya Hodaei’s journey to literary and scientific accomplishments has become an inspiration to a growing multicultural audience. Turkic ethnics of various backgrounds are recapturing their identity and exploring the bright promises of cultural diversity through the ingenious creative contributions of this best-selling author.
Born and raised in a middle-class family living in Tabriz, Iran, Darya began writing short stories at just 9 years old. As she got older, she became aware of the cultural and linguistic suppression in her home country: Azerbaijani (her mother tongue) was banned in Iranian schools. Heartbroken by this suppressive educational system, Darya Hodaei struggled with deep identity issues for most of her life.
Dr. Darya Hodaei felt called to preserve her roots, but it wasn’t until she immigrated to the US in her 20s that she saw a beautiful expression of a functionally diverse society. So, she rekindled her innate creativity to develop unique educational materials taught to young people in their native Azerbaijani Turkic.
Despite never being taught to read and write in her native language, Darya started writing multicultural and multilingual children’s books, leading her to become a best seller. Presently, she is an inclusion advocate who publishes multicultural children’s books to inspire thousands of people from different cultural and language backgrounds.
Author Darya Hodaei’s in-demand creative and dynamic tools and resources help people retain and regain their native identity. She introduces her mother language and culture in the style of western traditions.
This article is for you if you have questions about racial, cultural, and literary diversity. Several people suffer chronic cultural and dialectal suppression under the shadows of another dominant culture. If you’re enduring the same identity crisis that Darya Hodaei and countless people face worldwide, keep reading. You’re welcome to access valuable insights into the importance of cultural/linguistic diversity and how Darya Hodaei has contributed to transgenerational language and cultural preservation for her children and several thousand more.
WHY CULTURAL/LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY?
It Drives Creativity and Innovation
Great civilizations validate the contributions, complexities, and criticality of cultural diversity and creativity and innovation are drivers of civilization and the economy. An experimental study using a sample of 149 Italian elementary school students (51 immigrants inclusive) showed that exposure to cultural diversity increased creativity when Italian students were made to collaborate with immigrant children on a cooperative task.
It Promotes Collaboration
Evidently, creativity can be brewed from interaction with different concepts and characteristics across diverse cultures. Additionally, it was discovered that this effect only appeared when participants demonstrated a significant communal attitude.
Since cultural diversity is economically important, the state must prioritize support for advocates and initiatives for multicultural language inclusion in public institutions.
Research reveals that diversity interferes with the extent to which people use narrow cognitive schemas and stereotypes, allowing them to think more creatively for effective problem-solving.
To promote creativity, educational programs could embrace a diverse, multicultural environment. This begins with institutionalized permeation that supports the inclusion of ‘foreign’ languages and learning resources to intentionally harvest creative treasures seeded in diverse cultures.
It Reverses Racial Discrimination
Multicultural literature is among many tools to right the wrong of lingual suppression and racial discrimination. It opens students’ minds and stimulates an understanding of classroom diversity. It also helps to understand and gain respect for people from other cultures. In fact, multicultural works of literature can help manage racism (Colby & Lyon, 2004).
People gain satisfaction when they live in a society and can feel comfortable in their own skin and at the sound of their native language. However, according to the Surgeon General’s Report, racism and intolerance are major contributors to mental illness because they worsen anxiety and sadness.
Several kinds of research have exposed how colored people and Native Americans suffered emotional crises through coloniality and forceful dislocation of their identities. For instance, from 1860 until 1978, US Native children were voluntarily or forcibly taken away from their homes and sent outside their tribal lands to residential schools during the boarding school era.
There, they were banned from using any aspects of their indigenous origin, such as their language, appearance, customs, and beliefs. They were punished for speaking their native language and acting in any way that represented their tradition and culture. They suffered emotional, physical, and psychological abuse, and many never returned home because they eventually committed suicide. Imagine that!
NEED FOR LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL INCLUSION
Also, Anthony Aristar’s globally recognized works in linguistic research and development have confirmed that nobody wins when a language dies. The Erudite Linguist and Professor Emeritus said, “Losing a language is a major setback for everyone because along with the language, you will also lose all of the poems, the stories, the songs. And those things are of immense importance to all of us as human beings.”
Suppression of minorities may serve narrow-minded and racial agendas, but the whole society will suffer in the end. Just as the body has many parts—major and minor our nutritional requirements have the same classification: diverse cultural and racial majority and minority in the same demography.
America’s population’s racial and ethnic variety was a melting pot for many years. The expression of the belief that one race or culture is superior fosters feelings of alienation, humiliation, sadness, and self-doubt. However, over the past ten years, the population and the number of people of various ethnic groups have increased steadily in the United States. As of 2016, African American was 13.1% of the population; Hispanics were 17.79%, and non-Hispanic Whites were 61.275%.
How can we create a society where everyone feels valued and is treated with respect? One essential element to achieving this objective is the use of language inclusion. Research led to the conclusion that a bilingualism policy offers clear advantages over an English-only strategy when attempting to hinder American racialization processes through language policy.
Language, culture, history, and identity are different sides of the same tree. When a minority’s language is attacked, their history is forgotten, culture is restrained, and identity is lost. Research findings have exposed the psychological links to language usage, freedom and expression. Hence, national commitment to social wellbeing and racial equality can be better shown through support for language inclusion in a multiculturally diverse society.
YOU CAN BE PART OF DARYA HODAEI’S STORY
Dr. Darya Hodaei’s creative effort is to address the wrongness of dialectical deprivation through literary works like “Jirtdan’s Halloween” (best seller), “Azerbaijani Turkic Alphabet and Numbers”, “Which Animal Is More Useful?”, and “Fun Facts About Animals”.
Darya’s remarkable contributions to private and public efforts to restore multicultural diversity and identity in American society have earned her international recognition, and this is just the beginning!
- Andre Smith (2009). Indigenous people and Boarding Schools: A Comparative Study for the Secretariat of the United NationsPermanent Forum on indigenous issues https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/E_C_19_2009_crp1.pdf
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