The Importance of Understanding and Respecting Cultures
Culture refers to the way a society conducts its lives. It includes both tangible and intangible elements. The tangible elements include physical objects, places, and spaces, while the intangible components include beliefs, languages, and social roles. Many of these elements are only accessible to those who live in the culture. In addition to physical objects, culture can also be defined by symbols, heroes, and rituals.
Cultures are a collection of shared beliefs, values, and ideas that make a particular group of people unique from others. They are also the basis for the social behavior and behaviors that characterize a people. Cultures can range from high-brow aspects of life to everyday activities such as attending baseball games, going to the symphony, or eating at McDonald’s. As a result, culture can encompass many different aspects of a person’s lifestyle, including language and dress.
The study of culture is often complemented by other fields of study, such as sociology and psychology. Sociology, for example, studies the forces that drive humankind’s collective behaviors, including how meaning is created. Popular culture studies, on the other hand, studies popular culture in a critical theory framework. Other fields, such as human geography, focus on people and communities in general and emphasize the relationship between place and culture.
Understanding and respecting others’ cultures is essential for successful community building. It is important to build strong, diverse communities in which people of various backgrounds can live and prosper together. People of different cultures must feel like they are part of the school community, and they are more likely to be successful in school. In addition to promoting diversity, understanding and respecting other cultures is crucial for socially responsible decision-making.
While many cultures are highly individualistic, some have their own values. In some societies, people define themselves in terms of ‘we’, and they are integrated into strong in-groups. In these societies, social interdependence is valued over individual harmony. The family is often extended, and extended families offer protection and unquestioning loyalty to one another. Marriage decisions are also often made on the basis of love, rather than on personal considerations.
Culture plays a major role in how individuals live. Some cultures are more health conscious than others, and culturally-determined behaviors can affect a person’s health. For example, individuals who are strict vegetarians or abstain from certain foods may be at higher risk of developing certain cancers. And those who drink too much alcohol or smoke may be at risk of developing heart disease.
The way children learn English is often affected by their heritage language. In fact, most children are bilingual. While English is the dominant language in the classroom, most students are still learning their heritage language. This is a difficult situation for educators.