Multicultural Awareness involves a greater understanding, sensitivity, and awareness of the history, values, experiences, and lifestyles of groups that include, but, are not limited to, Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Religious Affiliation, Socioeconomic Status, Mental or Physical Abilities.
This is the idea that several different cultures (rather than one national culture) can coexist peacefully and equitably in a single country; where the people in the country respect and allow the existence of numerous religions and cultures in one area.
Respecting the culture of others does not mean that we must agree, understand, or even integrate another understanding into our own. There have been a lot of discussions between separate communities that boil down to differences in culture and understanding, and the inability to embrace concepts of cultural sensitivity and awareness.
What cultural awareness is not, is proving that someone else’s cultural or personal understanding of the world is wrong. Integrating empathy into our own awareness and practices can propel everyone into another position of growth. Global understanding of cultural matters & experiences, the differences, and views of those who do and think differently than another, allow us to work together; tightening the knit of our nation through the embrace of our differences and similarities.
While we are contemplating what it means to respect the cultures of others, maybe we should stop pointing fingers outside as the root problem and start to look further inside; the ability to see the beauty within the divine spirit of another starts with the ability to see it within oneself. At that moment, we can see more beauty within the colorful cultures of those around us, adding paint to our otherwise limited black and white canvas.
Let your values and ethics pave your road of good intention. There will always be differences of opinion in the world and that does not mean you have to deviate from what values you say are important. If you want equality, practice equality in spirit and value. That doesn’t mean bring everyone into your world, but it does mean not to say you want one thing and then display another.
It is only through our own sense of justice for our own self and our own community, that we can understand justice for another. It is with that same force of spirit, that same passion, and that same longing for respect, that we should strive to understand what justice looks like for others.
Healing, harmony, and unity between groups occur as we interact more with, become more aware of, and become better educated about one another. It is a cause for celebration when we are willing to take risks regarding our multicultural growth. Challenge oneself to unlock your endless capacity for multicultural awareness. It is up to you to do your part in creating a society with greater understanding and awareness between groups.
Language is powerful. The words we use are impactful and can cause real pain, whether intended or not. Words will have associations, energetic connections, and history that can change the interpretation of what is being said, versus what was being heard.
Becoming aware of our cultural dynamics is a difficult task because culture, by default, is not conscious to us. Since we are born, we have learned to see and do things at an unconscious level. Our experiences, our values, and our cultural background lead us to see and do things in a certain way.
Sometimes we must step outside of our cultural boundaries to realize the impact that our culture has on our behavior. It is immensely helpful to gather feedback from foreign colleagues on our behavior to get more clarity on our cultural traits.
Cultural Awareness is the foundation of communication and it involves the ability to step back from ourselves and becoming aware of our cultural values, beliefs, and perceptions.
Questions to ask yourself:
Why do we react in that way? Why do we do things in that way? How do we see the world?