The world in which we live is huge and diverse even though technology is shrinking the distance and empowering earth’s citizens. Increasing interaction intensifies awareness of cultural commonalities and differences, thus increased tension along cultural fault-lines. The result is a perpetual love/hate relationship.
What is culture and how is it determined? How are beliefs about culture formed? Ones beliefs, behaviors, values and attitudes were originally shaped by parents or teachers or those who were important to us. We accepted them without question. We identified. This lifestyle is passed from one generation to another and impacts character in predictable ways.
Unfortunately, for every group in the world, there exists at least one offensive, derogatory word meant to belittle. Just ask Archie Bunker.
Perhaps this is born out of fear.
Human nature has a tendency to be against the unfamiliar. Either side of the color-blind issue lends to our crazy world in damaging ways. Lumping individual factions into group identity is a gross over-simplification. Failure to recognize, appreciate and honor differences is a human injustice. Both over looks the uniqueness of the individual.
Who we are - or who we think we are at the moment - is reflected by identifiers such as manner of dress (dapper or saggin’), cuisine favored, housing style chosen and lifestyle embraced. How does one become more embracing of diversity?
Change in any area comes through something that tweaks our perception. That something is broad and can be major or minor. Here are thoughts to consider.
- Individuals are personally accountable for what they believe and corresponding actions.
- Life is about relationships. The relationship of one individual interacting with other individuals, either one-on-one or in a group of individuals.
- Acknowledge the possibility of the individual (self-included) being unduly influenced by social forces (i.e. laws, employment practices, social segregation).
- Blanket coverage for solutions engenders the perpetual problem (zero tolerance).
- Change comes one mind and one heart at a time.
- Culture/race matters significantly. None are exempt.
- Graciously speak up, one person, one situation at a time. You never know who you may influence to question their current perception.
- We are all fellow strugglers.
I have more questions than insights (and no answers). Answers denotes being right; insight gives lee-way to wisdom and compassion.
What is accepted today or even seen as honorable is subject to change with time, knowledge, experience and relationships. As the humanity of each individual is valued, the perpetual problem is less persistent.
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