Cultural Diversity: What It Is and Why It Is Important

(United Reader) – Culture makes people and civilizations unique. The world is a big place, so it’s no surprise that it’s full of varying cultures. Some are closely related, while others couldn’t be more different. Of course, our cultures now mix and mingle with each other.

What Is Cultural Diversity?

Also known as multiculturalism, cultural diversity respects and recognizes the different people and groups within a society. The term doesn’t only apply to race or ethnicity; it refers to interests, beliefs, talents and skills as well. Cultural diversity values the differences among the people in a society and encourages us to celebrate them. The United States is a great example of cultural diversity as there are citizens from every part of the globe.

Why Is It Important?

Well, first and foremost, cultural diversity recognizes that there are numerous different cultures in the world and serves as a first step toward understanding others and creating a peaceful society. Sometimes, people don’t like what they don’t understand. Through cultural diversity, we can break down those barriers and show people that differences aren’t bad.

A culturally diverse community inspires people of different backgrounds to empower their identities as well as those of others. Culture can serve as a lens, reflecting only our familiar environments. When we’re exposed only to people who share our beliefs and traditions, we may become less open to different cultures. In some cases, we may be less understanding and more apt to develop preconceived notions and/or discriminate. To accept and appreciate another culture, we first need to understand it — although we don’t need to understand every aspect of a culture’s customs to accept it as valid.

Cultural diversity allows us to recognize, understand, respect and ultimately accept other cultures. Of course, there will always be prejudiced people in the world, an unfortunate truth, but these people are becoming the minority, thanks largely to cultural diversity. We are all different and unique, but culture brings us together and unites us. When we can unite, we can accomplish great things.

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