The Many Angles of Culture & Community
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The Many Angles of Culture & Community

Culture has been a means for connecting people for centuries, but is it really bringing us together or creating more divisions?

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We've reached an era where diversity is something to be proud of, it is recognized and celebrated even. But, for the longest time being an immigrant was a way for people to divide into groups. In 19th century New York, when the Italians and the Irish immigrated to America for better chances, they were separated immediately into a little corner. It took a while for them to be accepted into the community without any repercussions. Now, in the 21st century nothing has changed, immigrants still gather in groups around the world based on culture because that's their only way to have a sense of community. We have progressed to accepting and embracing new cultures in America. More and more, I'm seeing more opportunities and more representation in media and education. We still have a long way to go but we're making progress.

So, despite the fact that America is built up of so many different races and ethnicities, why is it that they still don't band together? Why do they only stick to what they know?

Being familiar with what you know is a lot easier than doing something you don't. This is the reason why many times there is prejudice within different communities of color. It's why Middle-Eastern parents will still make comments about culture in Asia, or why different European countries will still make fun of each other, or why people think their culture is superior. This concept is called ethnocentrism, it's the judgment you place on other cultures by basing it off of what you experience in your own. It's one of the detrimental sides of having different cultures across the globe, because this idea of superiority will always exist. It's hard to shake off, everyone will feel uneasy at seeing something done in a way they've never experienced. For example, I know a lot of people that scoff at the French eating snails, or Asia's practice of eating dogs, and they might scoff at us eating cows and chicken.

That doesn't mean that it's not healthy to be proud of where you're from, in a certain limit it's preferred but when it crosses into the line of cultural imperialism that's when it becomes dangerous. A lot of the times people impose their standards on other cultures/countries when believing in this mindset. Looking back in history, cultural imperialism is the reason for most invasions.

Despite all these negative ideologies that stem from different cultures, stripping people from this luxury deprives them from feeling a sense of belonging. All around the world, people connect with each other because they find similarities between how they were raised or they find a home away from home. Every culture needs to be celebrated and it's each individual's responsibility to take the time to educate themselves on cultures they are unfamiliar with.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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