On September 18, 2023, Concord Academy's Community & Equity office announced the introduction of Culture Clubs via an email to All School FYI. According to the announcement, the primary goal behind Culture Clubs is to relieve the pressure on affinity groups to educate the CA community on their cultures, as well as to provide support to those exploring or already feeling confident in their identities.

However, following this announcement, many students, including myself, felt confused. When I tried to ask my peers and faculty members what Culture Clubs were really about, every response I received began with an admission of uncertainty, followed by an attempt to articulate potential changes resulting from establishment of Culture Clubs.

In particular, there was not enough clarity surrounding the management of the clubs. What skill sets or qualifications would one need to become a Co-head of a Culture Club? If Co-heads of affinity spaces are already busy enough, who would be left to run these spaces? Would people who are not necessarily part of a culture be able to lead one of the corresponding Culture Clubs? Too much was unknown, leaving people questioning the logistics and impact of such Culture Clubs.

Many were also confused about the decision behind grouping diverse cultures into one Culture Club. The email states, “The point and purpose of the Culture Clubs is to be more inclusive by allowing all cultures and identities within the umbrella term to collaborate and uplift each other.” With umbrella terms covering so many different people with different cultures all put together to “uplift each other,” how can everyone be truly and fully represented? Grouping together, for example, a large group of people into Asian Culture Club knowing that the identity covers so many people (among them East Asians, Southeast Asians, and South Asians) in the name of inclusivity. Is there a way for an umbrella term to actively and accurately represent all of the cultures it covers?

Additionally, the shift of responsibility for educating the community on these identities from affinity spaces to Culture Clubs did not make sense to me. I feel as though the affinity groups should be able to choose whether they hope to share their culture with the larger CA community. They should not be forced to share their culture or educate a community on their identity as that decision should be made exclusively by people who hold that identity.

When Culture Clubs began as an idea I can imagine they were brought up with only good intentions, however, affinity club Co-heads and C&E heads voted against Culture Clubs three days later on September 21. With the intention of taking pressure away from affinity spaces and providing more inclusive spaces on campus, Culture Clubs would have shifted the responsibility to other groups and clustered people into identities under huge umbrella terms. This could not have possibly been able to run smoothly alongside affinity spaces, nor will Culture Clubs also allow everyone of an identity to learn about their culture or feel fully comfortable in it afterwards.