Thursday, January 13

Respect For Other Cultures

Multicultural societies are the norm these days and this can sometimes ask for a great deal of broadmindedness in societies that have been traditionally more or less unicultural. It is only natural that various prejudices, misunderstandings, and xenophobic attitudes come to the fore in such societies contributing to racism. These feelings may even be termed instinctual reactions to what is commonly seen as the intrusion of the other. But civilized societies have to take a stand against racism and guard against it. Racism is basically a lack of understanding of a race other than one's own, and the reaction to this ignorance in the form of fear and anger. If we can replace this ignorance with understanding, then there's no room for those negative reactions.   

Childrearing involves teaching respect for other cultures

While various aspects of other cultures ranging from bonsai to Yoga have been appreciated and adapted as one's own, there are yet other features of the same cultures that defy assimilation much less understanding. That is all very well, for we are not all anthropologists; there is no rule stating that we should understand all cultures completely. What should be the rule, however, would be the need for tolerance of those aspects that we do not understand. It would help to realize that it is quite possible that there are aspects in one's one culture that others might find hard to get their minds around. A multicultural society can only coexist peacefully when there is acceptance and tolerance of all those aspects that defy understanding.

The modern world is increasingly multicultural and brings into play a wide range of customs, cuisines, dress styles, and mannerisms. There's plenty to be learned from other cultures and lifestyles. Cultures enrich each other constantly. Be open to give and take, and encourage your kids to do the same.

Children need to learn to show respect for other people and cultures

Children often accommodate other cultures easily and naturally till adults intervene and point out differences. Refrain from doing so in a negative way. Be accommodating in your interactions with people of other cultures. Understand that beneath all that difference is a human soul just like yours. Guard against racism in its various forms—prejudices, generic name-calling, and patronising behavior. If you find you are uncomfortable in dealing with other cultures, do not force your kids into positions based on your thinking.

It is no longer possible to exist in parochial societies. Kids have to grow up, live, and work in societies that are definitely multi-cultural. Prepare them for this by teaching them to respect, understand, and appreciate other traditions and customs.

All Photographs Courtesy


  1. So do you mean to say kids learn racism from parents?

  2. Yes,Janey, If parents have racist attitudes, there is a huge possibility for their kids to adopt it; much like smoking, drinking,and drugs.


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