There is a large gap, and it’s between cultures and race and people in general. According to “U. S. Department Of The Interior” (n. d. ), “The term “diversity” is used broadly to refer to many demographic variables, including, but not limited to, race, religion, color, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, education, geographic origin, and skill characteristics. ” (What is diversity). It’s important not to group diversity with just race. Diversity can include differences in religions, race, appearance, social status, heritage, marital status, and customs to name a few.
Diversity is important because people need to be able to recognize the differences in others and groups and understand how to treat each fairly. Understanding and being able to value diversity will help close the gap between peoples. According to Schaefer (2012), Ethnocentrism is when one group assumes that their way of life is superior to other groups. (“Chapter 2, Prejudice”) Ethnocentrism leads people to judge or evaluate others way of life as less than their own. For instance, ethnocentrism can be seen in America with the different dialects and accents.
A northern born person may think that a person with a southern dialect is slow or unintelligent, where a southern person may view a northern dialect as uppity or privileged and not in a positive way. They both think that each other sounds different, and it’s not the right American way to speak. Ethnocentrism leads to an almost complete misunderstanding of values, intentions, statements, and actions of others. Ethnocentrism accepts one’s group’s norms, values and behaviors seen as moral, right and proper whereas
those of groups that differ from one’s own often are seen as immoral, wrong, and improper. It hinders our understanding of the customs of other people, and at the same time, keeps us from understanding our traditions. Ethnocentrism brings about [adverse] reactions to out-groups such as distrust, hostility, and contempt. It leads to intolerance of other cultures and is used to justify the mistreatment of others. It leads to a rejection of the richness and knowledge of other cultures. Furthermore, it impedes communication and blocks the exchange of ideas and skills among peoples.
(Zikargae, 2013) Ethnocentrism creates thinking that feeds stereotypes like Asians are bad drivers, or English people have bad teeth. Ethnocentrism can be detrimental to a society. It allows us to create impose judgment on others that can lead to prejudice and discrimination. Groups of people can be identified in many different ways. Some of the more obvious distinctions would be gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. Some other ways they are identified could be sexual orientation, income, geographical location, or education.
“I think we categorize because it is easy to accept than not. It’s like everything else in life… a math problem, dinner on your plate, choosing outfits, picking a career…. It’s just easier to break things down into groups. ” (Nealy, 2014) People label and group other people because it is easier to see things with some commonality. If we did not group of label, I think there would just be too much to process. “Another thing is that it’s hard not to because the groups are usually set apart from each other. Rich and poor don’t usually live in the same neighborhood.
Criminals and law enforcement aren’t usually friends. Men and women don’t often go on shopping trips together. ” (Nealy, 2014) It does seem that it is human nature to label and group people. In everything that I have learned about humanity there has been labeling and grouping. When I think about it, we are set up from the start to group, and it begins with what part of the world you are from or live in. Beginning with regional geography, grouped as European, Middle Eastern, or Asian broken all the way down to what side of the street you live on.
These divisions are in every category and subcategory thereafter. According to “Culture” (n. d. ), “Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving. ” (Some Definitions). I don’t see that culture is limited to anything, especially not race and ethnicity. I did believe this for a long while.
When we think about it however, if I am discussing a Native American dish called fry bread with my grandmother, she always says things like it’s part of her heritage or that’s how she taught and things similar to that. I feel that heritage and culture are very closely related. I think heritage is the things we learn that are handed down. I think that culture is when we use these learned ideas and behaviors in our everyday lives. So my race and ethnicity is not explicit to how I behave and what I believe in. It does not dictate my beliefs and values. “Culture” (n. d.
) also reads “Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person’s learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning. A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next. ” (Some Definitions). Cultural diversity will continue to be an important part of our world. People will need to be able to work together, live together, and learn together.
Understanding diversity and how to respect all people in general and understand that all of our differences combined is what will help to continue to create the world we live in. Just think if we were all the same how boring it would be. Our cultures contribute to create the diversity among us. That diversity will contribute to keep us evolving as a society. Just think of where we came, now imagine where we can go. References Culture. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. tamu. edu/faculty/choudhury/culture. html Nealy, S. N. , (November, 2014). Categorizing People.
Unpublished, Eth/120 Cultural Diversity in the United States, University of Phoenix, AZ Schaefer, R. T. (2012). Racial and ethnic groups (13th ed. ). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix e-Book Collection database. U. S department of the interior. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. doi. gov/pmb/eeo/whoweare/whatisdiversity. cfm Zikargae, M. H. (2013, October). The impacts of ethnocentrism and stereotype on inter-cultural relations of Ethiopian higher education students. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 3(4), 126-148. Retrieved from http://www. ojcmt. net/articles/34/348. pdf