Intercultural Understanding and Coexistence
Intercultural Understanding and Coexistence
Human discrimination is majorly on the basis of tribe, religion, race, personal backgrounds, and others. These forms of discrimination date as back as since the beginning of relationships amongst us. Although we all share a common origin, human beings have proved to always find ways of differentiating themselves, the extent of differentiating ourselves has been deep-rooted that today, some societies have varied differences amongst family ties and blood relationship. Personally, my life as a child was characterized by religious background that our family was known for abiding to protestant rules of conduct. The character and way of life in my early days has come to change upon realization of the truth about life after I have interacted with diverse cultures and understood the meaning of cultural diversity and its benefits. In the struggle to dominate others and enjoy social, economic, or political hegemony, human beings have continuously looked for slightest differences amongst themselves so that to create a rift, where leaders find their way to rule and enjoy support from their dominating groups. Therefore, prejudice is not an ingrained issue in our modern society but a problem that we are trained to absorb as we grow for the purpose of domination or self-pride.
Cultural discrimination against some section of people is unfavorable to coexistence and mutual understanding. As I have witnessed today, there are many reasons why people should appreciate diversity and learn to peacefully coexist with other regardless of their race, religion or traditional backgrounds. Notably, prejudice against others has created mistrust, inequality, distress and a feeling of being rejected for those subjected to discrimination (Camille & Mathew, 2016). It is a form in which a society is divided into conflicting groups where one group seeks to control the other on the basis or “justification” of being superior to the subject group. In the majority of instances in which a certain group seeks to dominate the other, the one that is considered as inferior also seeks to retaliate against the misunderstanding through stereotypes and even resistance that has at times resulted to permanent disagreements between groups of people. For instance, in my first days in the University, I would rarely interact with course mates simply because we had not been brought up from the same culture and that we had diverse ideologies about life. This difference saw me segregate with friends in my early days in campus that others would see it distasteful to associate with me since I was an introvert. However, as time flew, the characters faded and left me a free man, open to conversation and interaction with other members of the class.
Diversity gratefulness is not a common quality among many people across the globe. Even though others appear to appreciate diversity, they still enjoy some conceited aspects of prejudice. However, the issue of diversity appreciation is not always as a result of personal denial to acknowledge cultural and ethnic diversities, but as a result of the nature in which one is brought up. The nature in which one is brought up since birth up to adulthood determines how one perceives the society and its diversity. The determinants are not necessarily parents or close relatives but even the nature of the society in which one grows (Camille & Mathew, 2016). This means that the close people that one interacts with during childhood, play an integral role in shaping one’s understanding of the society and its perception of diversity. Since I was raised from a protestant family, as I grew up, I have been in need of learning other cultures and how they work. Of late, I have chosen to make friends with people from diverse beliefs, especially the Muslims and atheists. To my surprise, we have always get along as their beliefs are not widely varied from ours. This has made me acknowledge cultural diversity regardless of my traditional roots.
Having been brought up in a religious family, my childhood life was characterized by frequent prayers from my parents. My parents would pray in the morning, perhaps in the afternoon, and at night before retiring to bed. Also, I was brought up to the norm that prayers were important after a successful course or before a hard task. The life was absolute religious and I enjoyed it as I knew that was the only way of life. Worse enough we were not used to attending social events and ungodly events as my father and mom would describe them. Therefore, the only events that we would attend were the one related to the church and as my father was among the church leaders, immediately after the event we would drive off home as a family. Although I would play together with friends, the friends were close family friends who we attended church together. Therefore, we shared common values, a fact that perhaps made my parents feel safer. It had not dawned on me that I would interact with other members with different beliefs and characters as ours. However, recently, I have chosen to challenge my understanding of religion and how effective it is to understand different cultures. I lately attended a church service in a Catholic church. After the service I had a chance to attend a youth affair meeting and was overwhelmed by their beliefs and practices. I realized that nothing negative is about Catholicism but just stereotypes from people (Camille & Mathew, 2016).
My opinion of other religion has been absolutely disapproving. This is because of the belief that I had been brought up with and the nature of my parents. Owing to my background, I had been treated to various beliefs that I had committedly accepted and practiced. However, it has dawned on me that I was in a totally different world as others when I joined the University. In the University, I have met different colleagues who have diverse beliefs and practices. Their beliefs vary, just like their skin color varied. To make it worse, learning providers in the institution have very different characters and beliefs. I have been exposed to non-believers, and people of diverse religious beliefs. I have also been exposed been exposed to blacks, who I had a very negative perception about, characterized by many stereotypes. In my first days at the University, I chose to seek cultural knowledge from a guidance and counselling expert who guided me on how I would mutually coexist with different people from diverse cultures. With time, the couching has really helped me to navigate through social interactions.
I understood black people as violent people who had a tendency to toy around with their lives using guns. The definition of the black was that of a typical colonial white (Camille & Mathew, 2016). Initially, this was, however, because of the nature in which I had been raised from. Therefore, at first, I was troubled by the fact that the University composed of many blacks. What confused me further was the performance trend of the university. The school’s performance is excellent, a fact that made me doubt my perceptions. Funny enough, the blacks in the university take their studies serious. I had a thought that my father took me to this university deliberately. Most likely, so that I would perform better as I was not good in class earlier. Left with no other choice, I had to make friends. Although I was careful with the type of friends I made, I have realized that the blacks were the best friends who only think of success in academics. I connected their commitments to education and their passion for learning to the fallacy that blacks would toy around with their own lives using guns so long as they achieved what they wanted. I have interpreted the fallacy that the effort that black students put in schools is to only see themselves succeed and not that they are what they are purported to be.
As a sophomore, I was elected to lead our class on consensus. My election came as a surprise as I was elected unanimously. The person who had suggested my name was a Muslim. The entire class agreed that I was the best to lead the class. I had been appointed as the class representative, to lead a group composed of majority blacks. Amongst them who voted for me were Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Protestants, and others. The very population that voted me was different in the realm of sexual orientation. But they had chosen me to lead them, despite that I was a staunch Protestant Christian. Immediately after the class voted for me, I had a quick picture of the American politics: politics shaped by religious and racial prejudgment (Camille & Mathew, 2016). I remembered how America had for long been ruled by one race and deduced that nothing is impossible. As the leader of the class, I embarked on creating a good relationship with every member of the class that I realized that I had put aside all stereotypes I had been attuned to during childhood. It is at this time that I realized that for one to possess good leadership skills, he must fight cultural diversity by whichever means to achieve acceptance from other people.
In conclusion, cultural prejudice is not an ingrained character but a learned practice. Human beings devise prejudices to dominate over those who are considered being weaker. The best solution for prejudice is getting exposed to the diverse cultures and people with different understandings. Even after being brought up from a society embedded with racial discrimination and religious bigotry, I was able to change my perception and believe that most beliefs were wrong and did not reflect the truth. For a people to acknowledge other people’s culture, they must devote to learn and appreciate diversity by focusing on the positive results of our diversities.
Camille, H. & Matthew, T. (2016). Developing Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills: Diversity Training Makes a Difference? Multicultural Perspectives Vol. 18 Issue 1, p35-41, 7p.