Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Multiculturalism : Mankind's only hope.
Alexandra Mack blogs about the "Bring your kids to work" day at her workplace, talking about how she used the opportunity to give kids an insight into life in India. Indsight agrees with her point, as do I, that if more people had a better background of where their fellow world citizens are coming from, there would be less problems in the world. Of course, it would not eliminate bickering and disagreements, but, in order to solve any problem, understanding the root cause of it is half the battle, and trying to understand the cultural aspect behind why someone disagrees with you is the first step towards resolving your differences. An awareness of other cultures also allows people to empathize with other cultures and undermine dehumanization of people of another culture. For example, if more people in the US and the western world had a better knowledge and awareness of the people of Iraq and looked upon them less as just some turban clad critters far far away from everyday life, that would probably make it more difficult to casually list their deaths as "collateral damage". However, multiculturalism faces a backlash in almost every country in the world. No matter where they come from, people always have an innate sense of superiority of their own culture with respect to other cultures. Here in the US, there is a serious movement against multiculturalism, carried on by the Republican Party and spearheaded by conservative talk radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and others. Its basically a kind of pseudo-white supremacism, where they do not want to taint their culture by even educating their kids about other cultures. A similar situation exists in India as well, with the Shiv Sena, which is a hard right Hindu fundamentalist organization, rallying against any kind of western influence in Indian society. But, as Ms Mack observes, if you start instilling an appreciation of other cultures in children from an early age, they would grow up to be more understanding world citizens and be more resistant to intolerance. As I have realized at this point in my life, the kind of upbringing one has as a child has a tremendous influence on the choices one makes and the life one leads as an adult.