Culture is You. Your thoughts, environments, customs, ethics, beliefs, and traditions define your culture. Such people sharing the same traits form a society as a collective. But not every society is the same. The cultural activities of societies differ enormously based on geography especially and accordingly with the changes of time, development, and creative thought processes. So it is important to understand that people around us differ in their culture and IT IS FINE. It is definitely not our right to judge them or hate them for that.
Hate crimes are rising every day. Is this the world we want to live in when we make speeches of creating a “better world”? I think not. It’s not a God-given right for us to beat up someone or spread asinine rumours about someone else’s culture just because it is right in their eyes and wrong (and “oh such a sinful culture”) is yours and nor is it a forceful obligation to adopt it. But as a human being and a culturally-shaped person, it is our solemn duty to respect diversity.
Dr. Patty Goodman, cross-cultural communication faculty lead for the Northeastern University Master of Science in Corporate and Organisational Communication program says, “Cultural awareness becomes an understanding of one’s self and how one needs to adjust to the environment and ecosystem that he or she is in,” Goodman says. “To be culturally aware, you’re acknowledging, ‘I’m aware of what my culture is and I’m taking the strategy to adjust my behaviour in a specific way.’”
Being culturally uneducated is the basis of creating stereotypes, misconceptions, lies, and spreading hate and animosity within humanity. For example, it is a most common stereotype (and a ridiculously formed belief) that every Muslim is a terrorist. This has been existing since the evolution of man, if you say, and persists today and grows even bigger every day. But is every Muslim a terrorist? If so, then all the fingers of your hand must be of the same length and size. Don’t you have a Muslim friend with whom you shared your tiffin in high school or your co-worker who lends you their awesome collection of jewellery or, a cute new-born baby in your neighbourhood whom you visit after work every day? Do you see them carrying a knife or something around them every time? Lose such stereotypes; because if you don’t believe me, then you must believe it when Shah Rukh Khan says, “My name is Khan and I’m not a terrorist.”
Everyone mirrors their own culture; no one is exempted from it. Don’t create an image which you can’t bear to confront. There are too much and so many things to love in this world. Embrace diversity and its various cultures. It will gift you a lifetime of experiences and adventures.