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Diversity--Exploring Cultures

September 28, 1998

With more than 50 languages spoken in California, you can travel the world by walking down the streets of neighborhoods such as Little Saigon and Chinatown. Whether it's the dances of Mexican ballet folklorico or the poetic lines of Japanese haiku, experiencing other cultures can be fun, fascinating and delicious. To learn about cultures of the world (and your community), use the direct links on The Times Launch Point Web site:

Level 1

AskAsia Adult-Free Zone: The region considered Asia consists not only of the continent but also of island nations such as Japan and Singapore. Whether you're interested in Bhutan, Hong Kong or Vietnam, this site offers online quizzes, maps, photos, timelines, student artworks and more on a range of Asian countries.

Africa: One Country, Many Cultures: A jeli is a poet, storyteller and walking encyclopedia of West African family history. Explore Africa's culture, geography and natural history and read works by African American children discussing how their cultural heritage contributes to their identity.

Whootie Owl's Stories to Grow By: How can fire be wrapped in paper? What happens when a ram and a pig set up housekeeping? Find out in this collection of folk tales from 16 countries.

Level 2

Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement: The signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 transformed many people from Mexican to United States citizens overnight. Learn about Mexican American history from its beginnings to 1975 through detailed timelines, biographies and Web links to Mexican culture and history.

... About Japan: Explore the culture, history, religions and geography of Japan. Participate in a visual literacy exercise that uses detailed woodblock prints to deliver a comprehensive overview of Japan's culture and diverse geography.

International Music Archives: The jew's-harp is played in Europe and in countries as varied as India, Afghanistan, China and Cambodia and is usually made of bamboo or metal. Explore musical styles and instruments from around the world through photographs, sound samples and descriptions.

Level 3

Library of Congress' Country Reports: Dive into a wealth of knowledge--including detailed commentary on history, geography, society and economy--about 85 countries, from Albania to Zaire.

Future Culture: To understand others, we must keep in mind that every culture has its own set of values and assumptions. This site explains traits of cultures and gives a guided tour to regions and cultures of the world.

ArtsEdge Student Research Pages: Cultures: The Chinese lion dance is performed to bring blessings and good luck; the African gadzo dance is to enhance spiritual growth. Discover music, dance, literature and visual arts produced by Native Americans as well as by people from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Japan and Latin America.

EXPLORER'S QUEST: How is a culture learned and transmitted from generation to generation?

CLUE: See Future Culture.

Find What You Need to Know: Have a project on California history? Need help doing a math problem? Launch Point now covers more than 50 topics for getting schoolwork done. Go to for the full list of subjects and direct links to the best Internet sites.

Answer to last week's Quest: The Southern Pacific Railroad.

For more information on how today's topic affects Orange County, see the Beyond 2000 story on A1.

Launch Point is produced by the UC Irvine department of education, which reviews each site for a ppropriateness and quality. Even so, parents should supervise their children's use of the Internet. This week's column was designed by Mariam Ishaq-Azizi, Rosario Aguila, Amy Ko and Anna Manring.

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