Cultural Diversity: Why We Should Respect Other Cultures
With approximately 190 countries and 7 billion people on earth, it is not hard to imagine that many diverse cultures exist. Here in the U.S., our cultural landscape has been shaped by Native Americans and by African, Latin American, Polynesian, Asian and Middle Eastern countries. This is the reason that the term “melting pot” fits our country, as different cultures have contributed distinct flavors.
While many have adapted with most cultural norms here in the U.S., some have kept a few from our origin, and this has been the beauty of this country — it lets you assimilate easily in its culture, while keeping your distinct identity. Cultural diversity means merging different cultures; introducing good aspects of your culture to others, but also accepting the positives of a new culture.
Culture shapes our identity and influences our behaviors, and cultural diversity makes us accept, and even to some extent, integrate and assimilate with other cultures. Cultural diversity has become very important in today’s world. Whether we work or study or even stay at home, our chances of interacting with people from various races, ethnic groups and cultures is far greater now than it has been ever before.
By learning about people of different cultural backgrounds, we can increase our horizons, have better interpersonal dialogue and communicate more on a personal level.
If you put aside any prejudices or biases you might have and you are open to other people, it can help prepare you to listen, talk and learn about other people and their cultures.
One of the most important first steps people can take to learn about other cultures is to simply accept that there are many different cultures other than their own. We need to start thinking about the positives of different cultures and how surrounding ourselves with diverse groups of people can enrich our life.Sometimes a person might not know very much about geography or history but by mingling and mixing with people from other cultures, they are given the opportunity to possibly learn about the geography, religion and customs of different countries. Being open to learning about different cultures also can encourage people to have diverse friend groups that include people of all different races, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations.
For those who want to learn about other cultures, but do not know where to start, a great place to start is picking up a book and reading about the cultures that interest them, or doing research online from reputable sites. The best way to learn, though, is through face-to-face interaction with a person of the culture you would like to learn more about. Most of us enjoy one aspect of cultural diversity, which is food from different cultures and regions, and this can also be a good way to start learning about new cultures.
Diversity is not only important for adults, but children should be learning about different cultures too, especially those who live in diverse cities such as Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or Miami. It is extremely important for adults to teach kids to be accepting of different cultures because if children are not taught, then they become more close-minded.
This can lead to issues at school and even lead to bullying. Kids are still forming opinions, so it is essential that they are taught to be accepting while they are young. Parents or family members need to sit down and talk with children as well as present them with easy to understand data, and talk about the importance of cultural diversity. For example, if you live in Houston like I do, you can visit the website for the recently created Office of New Americans and find lots of facts about the diversity in Houston and present that to your child. If you are able to explain the importance of diversity to children and show them how diverse the world is, you can help them to be more open minded toward people of different cultural backgrounds.
In today’s world if we all are able to respect and know about other cultures, and respect their values and belief, life would be easier for most of us, and we can learn a lot of good things from each other.