A World Without Racism is Kind
Kindness in Different Cultures
Kindness is spread around the world among various cultures in unique ways. Although the specific phrases and details for this concept may look different, the underlying theme remains the same, kindness is spread.
In South Africa, there is a cultural concept called ubuntu. The idea behind this philosophy is “I am because we are.” In other words, what one of us is, all of us are. In a short story about children participating in a race, they walked hand in hand so that they could all share the prize. When asked why they did this their answer was simple, “Ubuntu, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” In South African culture we see kindness displayed through the practice that we are all in it together. Therefore, in order for one of us to be happy, we must all be happy. Kindness in this culture could also be interpreted as extreme compassion and empathy towards one’s neighbor.
In Japan, kindness is a keystone in culture and tradition through consideration. The Japanese word “motenashi” or “omotenashi” roughly translates to hospitality, although the general meaning is consideration and thoughtfulness. When someone is sick, whether that be the cold or flu, they will wear a mask in order to prevent those around them from getting sick. Additionally, if someone is having work done to their home in which they know dust and soot will make it into their neighbor’s home and onto their clothes, an individual will give them washing powder as a thoughtful gesture. These are just a few of the many ways in which kindness is woven into Japanese culture.
In Italy, a common tradition in which the Italians spread kindness is called the “caffe sospeso” or “suspended coffee”. The idea is that when you order a coffee, you pay for two, however, you only drink one, and the next person in line receives a free drink. This tradition originated in Naples around 100 years ago, however, thanks to a recent interest in the concept surging around 2008, this traditional act of kindness has made a worldwide comeback. Perhaps you have been on the receiving or the giving end of “caffe sospeso” and not even realized it!
If there is anything to be learned from this universal connection, it is that no matter what part of the world you’re from, kindness is no doubt an important keystone in every culture. Kindness spreads joy, love, and respect — all of which create a happier and better world for everyone!