(Now this is the change we can believe in - promoted by masslass)
Recently I thought about this topic and of course my thoughts could not be expressed on any of the political blogs, politically correct or not, they are simply not germane to current politics. The following is not meant to provoke, as I just mean to question not judge.
I am a Russian-Jewish immigrant to the US. Came here in 1990 at a tender young age of 13. Now, I've "americanized" or assimilated enough that I don't even think about Russian culture, but it's not that I adopted a different culture. I think I almost prefer to think of myself as culture-less American. I just don't think in terms of culture. I think in terms of right and wrong, sensible and senseless, rational and irrational, good for humanity or otherwise. Of course my concepts of those things are ultimately colored by the Western Civilization's preferences.
|Often times I hear people saying that they are proud of their culture, and how important their heritage is to them, etc etc. It's all fine and good to respect your heritage and remember it, but is it really important to perpetuate the multitudes of cultures that exist in our world? As far as I can see, a lot of the cultural baggage continues to divide humanity. Whether it is tied to religion or not, cultures set a lot of the both soft and hard rules for how to live our lives, socials mores, and how we view those on the outside. Some cultures are more open than others, but they do color how we perceive the world. In my view, those lines on our perceptions are limiting our abilities to work together.
Italian, Jewish, African, Chinese, Russian, French, Latin, Caribbean, etc - when I hear those words in describing one's heritage, they are often followed by some generalized spiel about some aspect of their life being more important in their culture, or possible even less important if used in a negative way.
And look outside of US - in many of the countries around the world, people view others as outsiders because they do not conform to their culture. Which in turn leads to tensions when "outsiders" prefer keeping their own cultural heritage, and the natives get offended that their culture is not adapted. Of course there is some validity to the latter since guests do have to conduct themselves in accordance to the reality of their situation. However if cultural barriers were diluted, the whole world would be a friendlier and less judging place.
Just how important is this cultural baggage that we brought with us through time? Why is the cultural wisdom so prized? Historically we've discarded a vast majority of the scientific thought as invalid and continue to do so as we are able to see our world with higher accuracy and greater technology. So why do we keep clinging to some of the cultural baggage simply because we've always done things that way or always had a certain "special emphasis" on various aspects of our lives.
Our heritage is an accident of birth. Are we obligated to perpetuate our ethnic/racial/cultural/whatever guidelines without critical examination of it, as we do with science?
As our world becomes a smaller place, there is a greater potential for a clash of cultures but with more interaction there is also a greater potential for blunting some of the sharper edges as we begin to understand that others might simply have a different approach to getting to the same place in life, and that their difference is not threatening our approach.
I think in terms of human beings and it annoys me to hear different groups of human beings being defined by their differences from me. I can't wait till the time when everyone defines themselves in terms of their station in life and not based on belonging to a particular group with a particular heritage.