A World Without Racism is Respectful
Respect Within Cultures
Culture is at the core of our identity. No matter what culture you represent, cultural respect is invaluable. According to nih.gov, culture is a combination of a body of knowledge, a body of belief, and a body of behavior. Culture involves elements specific to ethnic, racial, religious, geographic, and social groups.
In the United States, American culture is shaped by all the different cultures that live within its borders. Native Americans, Africans, Latin Americans, Middle Easterners, and Europeans are just some of the cultural influences in American culture. Dr. Asim Shah, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine, discusses in an article how cultural understanding helps to increase a person’s cultural horizons. “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” (https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/02/01/cultural-diversity-why-we-should-respect-other-cultures/). Lacking cultural respect will only cause people to form an echochamber around themselves for their preexisting beliefs to become more deep rooted, and can lead to cultural prejudice.
Cultural knowledge is important for not only adults, but children too. Children who are not taught to appreciate cultural differences might be confused or misguided about those differences. At its worst, this can lead to bullying in schools. To prevent such divisiveness early on in the lives of children, they must be properly educated about different cultures in an unbiased, easy to understand way.
After understanding the importance of cultural respect, one might wonder what the best ways to learn about other cultures properly are. Dr. Shah identifies a few ways to help teach children the importance of cultural respect:
- Teaching the importance of data. Data can often be used to tell the story about a situation clouded in disagreement. Parents or family members can share data and statistics about different cultures with their children to help teach them about the culture. An important note for using data to teach others about different cultures: Approach controversial data and statistics with a healthy dose of scepticism. Never rely on a single study or statistic to make a cultural judgement.
- If you live in a larger metropolitan area, seek out cultural centers for information. In cities across the US, different cultural organizations have made a great effort to inform the general public about their culture. You may find a culture office or a museum as institutions through which you learn about a different culture.
- If physical sources of information are scarce, one can always look online. Many times, local cultural groups will have websites and social media pages through which information about the culture is shared. Be sure that the information from these groups is factual and coming from a local organization.