What Is Cultural Diversity And Why Is It Important? Get a comprehensive answer to this question and other information you need concerning this topic.
What you do and what you are taught to do will tell you what kind of person you become. Culture is a broad term that includes beliefs, values, norms, behaviours, and collectively can be understood as our “way of being.” As you go out into the world, you meet people from all backgrounds and walks of life.
Respecting cultural diversity with your actions is a good rule of thumb. So, what is cultural diversity and why is it important?
Let’s take a closer look at how cultural diversity takes shape in professional settings, educational institutions, and most aspects of life in general.
Cultural Diversity – Definition
Cultural diversity is synonymous with multiculturalism. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines multiculturalism as “the view that cultural, racial and ethnic groups, especially those of minorities, deserve special recognition for their differences in mainstream political culture.”
The importance of cultural diversity can be explained in terms of the following related actions:
- Recognize that there are many cultures
- Respect each other’s differences
- Recognize that all cultural expressions are valid
- Valuing the impact culture has to make
- Empower different groups to contribute
- Celebrate differences, not just tolerate them
So, what are some examples of cultural diversity?
Cultural diversity is this:
- In the workplace: having a team that is multilingual team, people of different ages working together, having an explicit policy against discrimination, etc.
- In a school setting: Have students from all over the world accept all religious customs and traditions that students participate in, support students to share their culture with each other, etc.
The importance of cultural diversity in education
Cultural diversity is important in every setting of life, but it can be even more critical when it occurs in education. Students around the world have equal rights to quality education, so there are many benefits when institutions believe in the power of diversity.
Cultural diversity in education helps support:
1. More empathy
Interacting with individuals with different practices, beliefs, cultures fosters empathy and life experiences. While you can never fully understand someone’s life, you will put yourself in a position that will allow learning, listening and understanding.
2. Confidence and Growth
When students engage with people from different cultures, it gives them more confidence when dealing with things that seem to be outside their comfort zone. It builds strength and content of their character, pride and confidence.
3. Deep Learning
Learning happens inside and outside the curriculum. With a student body that is diverse, students are privileged to learn more about people and backgrounds from all over the world. It also contributes to the diversity of thought and perspective, making learning more interesting and dynamic.
4. Prepare for the future
If a workplace does the necessary work, it must be a setting that is culturally diverse. Attending an educational institution that is multicultural will prepare students for their future in the workspace.
The benefits of cultural diversity
The world has always been a naturally multicultural space. When you approach cultural diversity with a receptive mindset and action that accepts this fact comes with many advantages, such as:
- Compassion: When you communicate and understand differences, it will increases compassion, not judgment.
- Innovation: Different perspectives and perceptions on the world facilitate innovative thinking.
- Productivity: People who decide to come together and have their own work style tend to support a more productive team.
- New Opportunities: Diversity tends to open the door to many new opportunities and fusion of otherwise homogeneous ideas.
- Problem solving: Challenges are layered so that people from different backgrounds can better solve problems with a wealth of opinions.
How to Support Cultural Diversity
Both individuals and institutions have institutions that support cultural diversity. If you’re not sure how to act, consider these ideas:
- Interact with people outside your culture
- Become open-minded, listening and giving up judgment
- If you see someone culturally insensitive, speak up
- Accept that differences are beneficial rather than harmful
- Don’t impose your beliefs on people with opposing views
- Advocate for hiring or working with people who are culturally different from yours
- Travel around the world as much as possible, engaging with cultures and learning about them at their source
- Read a lot of literature and learn from diverse cultures
- Absorb media and art from around the world
- You can learn a new language and choose to communicate in a friend’s native language instead of your own
Cultural diversity is worth celebrating
The world is full of people with different beliefs, religions, traditions and lifestyles. It is in our differences that we find beauty.
In educational and professional settings, cultural diversity benefits everyone. It paves the way for better problem solving, more empathy and compassion, deeper learning, and access to the world from a different perspective.
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