|The power of culutral perspectives|
Monday, 02 January 2012 00:00Written by Carlos Hurworth
I live in London, which is statistically one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. According to the National Statistics on line, its 2001 census recorded 40% of London's population as being foreign. To actually understand this concept, one merely needs to step out onto the streets and experience the city itself.
To look around you is to take in a plethora of sights and sounds, as well as be stimulated by the scents and the tastes of the massive conglomeration of cultures that London is.
There are Muslims in typical dress and people of every different colour, with each of their different individual styles, influenced by their native culture, and its associated influences. There are endless different styles of restaurants, cafes, takeaway shops and other food vendors. And, there's the myriad of different sounds from all of the languages that these people naturally speak.
It is this exposure and indeed, my immersion in not one, but many of the world's cultures in this city, that has helped me to understand that tolerance is an important tool that we need in life and that only comes from the ability to think outside the box.
Quite simply, what we know of our own world, is invariably different from what others know of their own. Fall short of this knowledge though and frustration will inevitably result. In some cases, frustration is only the tip of the iceberg. Magnify these misunderstandings and racism and prejudice, will unfortunately arise.
My own morals, beliefs, standards, manners, mannerisms, attitudes, angles, interpretations and ideals, are totally fashioned from what I saw in my world at the time that they were formed. Although these experiences can and do vary from person to person, we can never be sure, or ever assume that someone has had the same experiences that we have had ourselves. Simply enough, these are some of the elements that make us all different. And this is what I have found lucky enough, to be constantly surrounded by such diverse cultural experiences and what this experience can teach.
Before we can pass judgement on the beliefs of others, it is nothing short of imperative that we at least take the time to understand, question and learn about where these beliefs have come from, and why they may exist.
Being so exposed to foreign cultures can only help us to learn how to tolerate and understand each other and get along better.