Sociologists, academics and pedagogues have submitted for discussion in various fora the topic “cultural diversity” as an urgent and important issue.
This is because countries, east and west of the International Date Line, workplaces, and schools increasingly consist of various cultural, racial, and ethnic groups.
People from diverse cultures contribute language skills, new ways of thinking, new knowledge, and different experiences.
We ask questions or want to ask questions like: What language do you speak? What is your religion? What holidays do you celebrate? What is your racial identification? What is your ethnic identity? What is your culture? Why is cultural diversity so important?
Scholars suggest our culture is what shapes us, it shapes our behavior and our identity. Culture is our way of living, it refers to the shared language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and material objects that are passed down from one generation to the next.
This cultural diversity cannot be hidden in the world’s 7.9 billion population – one can immediately see in their language, their religion, their beliefs, values, and other brands of character their respective identities.
That diversity will continue to be underlined less than four scores from now, when the world population is projected by the UN Population Division to reach 10.9 billion, with a growth rate at that time of close to zero.
But why is cultural diversity important?
Let’s read Kwame Molden, who says human beings are extremely diverse in very many ways.
According to Molden, “people differ in opinions, race, nationality, gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity, class, religion, lifestyle and so much more, yet at the very basic we are all human species. Ideally, all people feel pain and joy despite the differences.
“Today, the changes in time and technology have made it extremely impossible for any group of people to live without interacting with others outside their group. Often people of different cultural and geographical backgrounds meet in international conferences, education exchange programs, sports, etc.”
It is a sad commentary that in mankind has this dark chapter discriminating against each other based on cultural differences – and this has been with us for ages.
So many people have died or have been denied their rights because of individual greed. Properties and economies have also been destroyed due to lack of understanding. Unfortunately, some of these occurrences are visible even today, perpetuated by people who little understand the importance of the uniqueness of our diversity.
Why is diversity important?
Diversity gives you access to a greater range of talent, not just the talent that belongs to a particular world-view or ethnicity or some other restricting definition.
It helps provide insight into the needs and motivations of all of your client or customer base, rather than just a small part of it.
What can diversity teach us?
The positive effects of diversity enable students to work with people from other races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds and challenges the views they are accustomed to. This leads to greater awareness, understanding, and acceptance of differing beliefs and customs.
Not many realize that diversity creates richness in opinion.
Some problems cannot be solved by a homogenous group of people.
The complexity of challenges facing the world today requires the input of people from different cultural backgrounds if we are to succeed.
A diverse group will offer fresh ideas to solve problems. Diverse groups have often been found to be creative and thus producing better solutions to problems.
Also diversity makes us compassionate about others. When we interact and try to understand others, we will not judge them. This instead makes us compassionate about others.
We are then able to love and help one another. Compassion allows us to empathize with others and realize that all human beings are the same. Hatred among people of cultural differences only makes us resentful and full of hunger, and often denying us the opportunity to live life to the fullest.
Let’s face it, diversity is a growing trend. There is no country in the world that has only natives living there. Each and every day, millions of people are moving from a part of the world to another.
Most people are in such of better opportunities, education and lifestyle. In the process people of different cultural backgrounds often find themselves going to the same schools, working in the same office and so much more.
As citizens of this world, we are therefore left with no choice other than to embrace our diversity. Children have to be taught to live and respect people who are different from them in some way so that the world would be a peaceful place to live.
Diversity, at the same time, opens up new market opportunities. Through diversity, entrepreneurs have been able to reach new markets.
Today we have multinationals setting up offices in different parts of the world of which it would not be possible without embracing diversity. This further creates employment opportunities for people in those parts of the world.
Let’s embrace cultural diversity; it is essential for a sustainable and healthy lifestyle across the board.