As per Geert Hofstede, culture can be defined as;
“The collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.”
Culture can be anything and everything a person holds dear to himself. It could be as little as the family heirloom or as big as societal behaviour. Even the internet ‘culture’ is a thing just as rape culture is. In short, culture is an embodiment of;
shared and held dear by a particular group of people. With this in view, one can very easily say that they follow the internet culture rather than one promoted by a particular ethnicity or even a society. It can be based on different things like;
- moral codes etc.
Sometimes it is highly difficult for people to accept another culture and thus go into a long stretched debate cum argument about the rights and wrongs. Different cultures have a difference in their moral values. Thus, no one can define ‘truth’ or ‘right’ objectively as per morality. The right and wrong sides of the coins are highly based on opinions and they are something that differs from culture to culture. For example, while drinking and live-in relationships aren’t a big deal in many Westside countries they are shunned upon in the East side of the earth to a great extent. Now, however, cultural diversity is something one comes across almost every other day. For some, it is mockingly hateful while some are good at accepting and making a home with the world as their own.
Cultural Diversity around us
Our country is an amalgamation of various cultures all united into one. All working and thriving under the American dream to be free and have the liberty to breathe as per one’s own choices. The workplaces and schools are embedded with different racial, cultural as well as ethnic groups.
Culture makes up to be a strong influential factor in people’s lives. It shapes their views, hopes, humor, fears, loyalties as well as worries. Thus, when you’re in a place filled with cultural diversity the best thing to help you build better relationships with them is to have an understanding and acceptability to the cultures others come from.
Cultural Relativism – the solution
When talking about cultural relativism – it refers to not being judgemental towards a culture other than yours just because it is different as per your cultural standards. If someone wears a veil it doesn’t mean she is backward and if someone lies on a nude beach without even flinching while undressing it doesn’t mean she’s a prostitute. It’s all a matter of how their culture formed their lives and minds. Because when you judge another culture you’re promoting Ethnocentrism. Your culture is not the center point of a whole universe and you need to understand that.
If you ever travel to a foreign country – you’d come across a difference in your cuisines. While there would be people eating dried squids alongside fried crickets with sauces of many flavors made with similar ingredients – you might think ‘ew, they eat such things’. To be honest, that is alright to think but how about you change the statement to a why rather than giving a verdict straight off? For instance, if you thought that why would someone eat fried insects and ponder or search it – you’d know that insects are a source of proteins and many countries that eat them do so because of the protein boost they have to offer as food. In short, there’s a reason to every rite or tradition in a culture – don’t go about declaring you hate them – try to understand and find the stories behind them that forged such acts into the book of cultures for them.
Cultural Relativism made easy with Internet
Without a doubt, a good internet has made our lives easier to a great extent so why not this? It is an online library filled with as much information as we wish to acquire. The topic, title, or keyword doesn’t matter. From finding out the best internet speed providers to the significance of even color within a culture – you can have millions of debates and references to look up to quench your curiosity.
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It is always a good idea to have a little knowledge about a new place or culture whenever you travel even to a different state. Even states have their own self-made cultures. Thus, the best thing to do is have a bit of information about what you might come across so that you don’t give any expressions of disgust or hate towards a new approach. Keep an open mind and accept humans globally rather than just the ones you find within the boundaries of your home.