Cultural Dialogue: The Need for Connection Amidst Diversity

Photo by cottonbro studio

Millions of years ago, the world was said to be made up of a single supercontinent. But while it’s a single land, which presupposes a possible single, extensive culture, there’s no saying that conflicts never occurred. With the world becoming more diversified now, fostering various cultures, there’s a need for further cultural dialogue.

On the topic of diversity, it doesn’t only involve the acceptance of different cultures. It also includes welcoming individualities in gender, age, religion, and expression. However, among these characteristics, culture brings about the most evident behavioral and bodily differences, influencing how people interact with one another. Hence, it’s no questioning how it’s typically the factor associated with and considered regarding diversity.

Decades ago, when the world had yet to learn about inclusivity, it can be assumed that different cultures group with each other, only associating within a limited circle to decrease the chances of intimidation and culturally-driven aggression. However, the world’s cultural environment has gradually changed as societies become culturally diversified. Now, people can’t expect individuals sharing the same culture to convene in a single land, strictly staying within their borders for essentials and pursuits. These people learned not to limit themselves to one territory. As the world continues to evolve, so do the changes in how people interact with each other, forming intercultural relationships.

The Ever-Expanding Cultural Diversity

The world is gradually becoming an excellent hotpot of culture. Regardless of what region people visit, they will most likely be welcomed by a rich mixture of people from different ethnicities. This diversity has dramatically contributed to the world’s development and globalization, with each culture offering unique insights and opinions on distinct matters. Cultural diversity proves to be beneficial to societies economically, socially, and politically. 

However, this factor offers a profound advantage but also increases countless societal challenges if inadequately managed. With more diversity comes an improved trigger for stereotyping, intolerance, racism, discrimination, and cultural aggression, threatening the essence of communities. Regardless of how accepting the majority is, the more people are forced to interconnect and interact with each other, conflicts of interest are also likely to happen. With this diversity, people will be exposed to more than a single cultural group within their direct community. Throughout this, there would inevitably be prejudiced individuals who may find it challenging to be welcoming of people they deem as outsiders to their communities.

Protecting This Diversity

The Vegetable Grows and The Lion Roars presents Gary Lindberg’s exploration of cultural dialogue during his experience as a Peace Corps volunteer. His book depicts how society had treated different races then compared to how they’re regarded now. While it can’t be argued that communities have improved their treatment, there’s no questioning that there’s an evident need for more action.

With the evident importance of multiculturalism, incidents like racism and xenophobia shouldn’t be disregarded. These problems should be given ample attention and concrete solutions. There may be countless advocacies and ventures toward keeping this diversity sacred and peaceful. But when looking at how there are still myriad discourses and incidents of aggression, perhaps, these movements aren’t enough. A solid agreement and understanding should exist regarding how another group wants to be treated, conditions, and limitations to their relationship to better comprehend each other’s demands within the interaction.

What Is Cultural Dialogue?

Despite the prominence of cultural diversity, there still exists an evident separation between locals and foreigners. Regardless of how long they’ve already resided in a region, they’re still considered foreigners if they aren’t native-born.

What does this have to do with anything? As foreigners, they mostly can’t enjoy or aren’t protected by the same laws as the locals. For this, they can become second-class citizens to live better lives with more opportunities. While this doesn’t automatically put them at a disadvantage, this separation still gives them the discrepancy of treatment, allowing for gaps to which ill-intentioned natives may unjustly attack them for.

Cultural dialogue exists to ensure these instances don’t happen. Such a dialogue occurs when different cultural groups with contradictory opinions converse to acknowledge their differences mutually. As a cultural dialogue, two groups must talk with equal comprehension and active participation by sharing views. This allows them to meet halfway or to a fair conclusion, where each side’s dignity and needs are met and respected. The ultimate purpose of cultural dialogue is to create a cooperative environment where everyone feels secure and accessible regardless of ethnicity.

The Significance of This Dialogue

Cultural dialogue allows individuals to commit and be willing to look at diversity from different perspectives. Without respect for their opinions, some may believe diversity can be disadvantageous. This conversation opens their eyes to the advantages and benefits they may have never considered before, increasing acceptance of others which leads to the peaceful coexistence between cultures. Cultural dialogue has been a fundamental crusade to combat cultural rejection, helping achieve a peaceful, multicultural world. 

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