People of different origins characterized by race, language, and physique inhabit the world. The world’s major races include People of African origin, People of Caucasian origin, Asians, Arabs, and those with mixed races (Lie & Brym, 2006, 204).
These groups have diverse cultures characterized by both material and non-material aspects that make each of them unique. The most important factor however is the fact that all these people belong to the same species that make them collectively human beings. There may be some instances of conflict involving various groups of human beings.
However, behind the peaceful coexistence of the majority of these groups is the concept of cultural heritage and share humanity that operates on the simple belief that all human beings are equal. This has culminated in the formation of a social political and economic environment where all human beings are closely integrated for the benefit of all regardless of culture or race.
There can easily be discord between these peoples who live across different geographical places and time zones. Better understanding of different cultures ensures conflict is avoided. Better understanding of humanity’s collective cultural heritage will help people appreciate other people’s beliefs and adopt them for their own benefit.
From Indigenous, people who are estimated to range between 250 million to 300 million, to people who have assimilated other culture’s practices, understanding of each other’s backgrounds will help in fostering unity for the good of the future generations and survival of this world. Through this cultural collaboration, human beings will be able to easily exchange good cultural traits that their cultures do not have to strengthen ties and eliminate weaknesses that they may have (Tischler, 2007, p. 347).
Roles of cultural understanding
In academia, cultural understanding has helped in the growth of cultural literature and documentation of different people’s cultures in positive portrayal. Additionally cultural understanding has provided numerous opportunities for academicians in their pursuit for academic excellence. Outside academia, better understanding of cultural differences has helped the formation of global movements devoid of racial or cultural overtures. These movements are evident in trade, human rights, sports, and social life (Rapaille, 2007, p. 43).
The initiatives fronted by these movements have helped in the promotion of peace, development, elimination of social problems and ills like poverty, human trafficking, and violence against some groups. It has also helped highlight the plight of indigenous people some of them who have been saved from extinction. Cultural understanding has also helped foster worldwide unity against ills such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons, terrorism, and gender imbalance.
Better understanding of cultures has enabled formation of trade blocks by nations of different cultures that has had numerous ripple benefits of their peoples. For instance the formation of the North American Free trade Agreement and the European Union has changed the lives of hundreds of millions in the regions.
Latin America, which has more or less the same melting pot situation in the US, has benefited greatly from arrangements such as NAFTA. Similarly, Europeans who have distinct cultures have overlooked their cultural backgrounds and united for the good of their peoples (Kwok et al, 2002, p. 56).
Human rights is another area outside academia that has benefited greatly from better understanding of different people’s cultures. It’s no secret that misunderstanding of the world’s cultures led to prejudices that laid the ground for the commitment injustices such as slavery and the holocaust.
However, improved understanding by leaders and the people involved in the injustices coupled by pressure from multiracial human rights groups helped end such unfortunate situations. The civil rights movements in the US best highlight the situation.
In today’s’ world, sports has become big business as well as a big uniting factor between the world’s cultures. Better understanding of other people’s cultures has greatly benefited from sporting activities. Many people have had their lives changed through sport.
Sporting events such as the Olympics and FIFA world cup have been used to united hostile nations besides helping touch individual lives through initiatives such as “One Goal” for children. Many nations front multiracial teams whose members have roots from different parts of the world. Promotion of peace and appreciation of other people’s backgrounds has been greatly promoted by these activities (Kwok et al, 2002, p. 102).
Another role that is played by better understanding of other people’s cultures is the promotion of social life. Practices like intermarriages that were previously considered a taboo have been broken down. There is increased intermarriages that has greatly encouraged unity.
With the introduction and advancement of technology, there is better cultural understanding among the peoples of the world. Furthermore, people can now easily share their cultural experiences and interaction is easy and fun. Prejudice due to lack of understanding of other people no longer play a part in deciding the fate of other people. There is more harmony among different people and peace is eminent more than ever, thanks to better cultural understanding.
Kwok et al. (2002). Culture and humanity in the new millennium: the future of human values. Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Lie, J. & Brym, J. R. (2006). Sociology: your compass for a new world. Belmont. Thomson Learning.
Rapaille, C. (2007). The culture code: an ingenious way to understand why people around the world live and buy as they do. New York: Broadway Books.
Tischler, L. H. (2007). Introduction to Sociology. Belmont, Wadsworth Cengage learning.