Respect Our Culture, Respect Our Dignity
How to Respect Other Cultures
Sometimes it is easy to become consumed with our own beliefs and habits. We can find it challenging to accept other ways of life. However, close mindedness and intolerance are not constructive for anyone, especially when there is so much we can learn about other cultures. Learning to accept and respect other cultures is an important step to having new experiences and learning about the world.
Increasing Your Knowledge Base
Practice self-awareness.One of the most important ways to learn to become respectful of other cultures is to spend some time reflecting on your own beliefs and biases. Each of us has what is known as a "filter". The filter impacts how we see other cultures.
- Your filter describes the way you view the world. Many different factors can affect your filter.
- Some factors that affect your view, or filter, are ethnic background, religion, and age. Your filter is also affected by your income level and your education level.
- Spend some time reflecting on your filter. Ask yourself questions such as, "How does my income affect the way I look at others?" or "Do I have any biases because of my religion?"
- Becoming more self-aware can help you realize new things about your own culture. This, in turn, can open your eyes to appreciating cultural differences.
Read a book.In order to respect other cultures, it is important to understand something about them. You can expand your knowledge by doing some research. Start by reading about the culture you are interested in.
- For example, if you are interested in Japanese culture, look for a book on the history of Japan. Background knowledge of the history can help you comprehend the culture.
- You can also try fiction. Reading a fictional account of a new culture can give you a more clear understanding of what life is like in that culture.
- Try reading Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" for an interesting story about life in Nigeria. Or consider reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" to learn about Italy, India, and Indonesia.
- Ask your local librarian for guidance. Ask for recommendations for both fiction and non-fiction works.
Study religion.Religion is an important part of many cultures. Learning more about a different religion can help you understand cultures other than your own. Take some steps to learn more about religion.
- Attend a different type of worship. If you are Catholic, you might have only experienced a traditional Catholic mass.
- Visit a different type of worship service. For example, visit a Jewish synagogue or go to a mosque.
- Make sure to inquire as to whether visitors are allowed at services. Also take care to ask about any guidelines for dress or behavior.
- Do your research. Read books and newspaper articles about different religions. For example, you could read about what it means to be a Buddhist.
Take a class.Furthering your education is a great way to learn to respect other cultures. You could take a traditional course at your local community college. For example, you could take a course on Russian literature.
- Colleges also offer classes in topics such as the history and religions of other cultures. Many of these types of classes are even available online, and some are free.
- Ask a friend to take a class with you. The two of you could have fun learning to speak beginning Spanish.
Talk to a new person.Make an effort to have a conversation with someone from another culture. Meeting someone new, or having an in-depth talk with someone you know, will help you gain a more personal understanding of another culture.This can help deepen your respect.
- Try to place yourself in situations where your will be around people from many cultures. If you are in college, your campus might sponsor multi-cultural awareness events. Make it a point to attend.
- Make an effort to make new friends. Join a new sports team or spend time in a diverse neighborhood.
- Take time to talk to people. Listening to their stories and experiences is a great way to connect with a new culture.
Respecting Other Customs
Become an ally.A great way to show respect for other cultures is by becoming a cultural ally. This means that you identify yourself as someone who respects cultural autonomy and will speak up to protect the rights of people in other cultures. You can be an ally at school, work, and in your community.
- Often, people in the cultural minority suffer discrimination. You can show that you will not respect discrimination in any form.
- For example, maybe one of your coworkers makes culturally insensitive jokes. You can try saying, "Bob, I know you mean well, but that kind of comment is offensive to myself and others."
- Stand up for the rights of others in your community. For example, if your city tries to block the building of a mosque, attend a city council meeting and make your voice heard.
Correct misunderstandings.You might have some prior assumptions about other cultures. For example, if you are traveling in India, you might start to think that people are not honest. It can be really difficult to get a thorough answer to a direct question.
- However, in India, it is common and polite to not always directly answer questions. Take time to observe other people interacting so that you can personally observe cultural differences.
- Many British people think that Americans are fake. That is because Americans typically tend to be more outwardly optimistic than people from other cultures.
- When you are speaking to a British person, take time to speak genuinely. You can teach each other about your cultural differences.
- Your own cultural filter might make you nervous to approach a woman wearing a hijab. But don't be afraid to go up to her on the bus and say, "Excuse me, is this seat taken?"
Ask questions.The best way to learn about new cultures is by asking questions. Don't be afraid to ask someone about their customs or beliefs. Just make sure to do so in a respectful manner.
- Maybe you have a coworker who has a habit of bringing interesting foods for lunch. Try saying, "What is that you're eating? It smells great."
- Perhaps you have a co-worker who routinely arrives at the office later than others. Instead of assuming that she is lazy, ask a friendly question. You might learn that your boss has agreed to accommodate her prayer schedule.
- If you have a friend who is from Japan, ask him about the custom of bowing. He will likely be delighted to talk to you about his culture.
Keep an open mind.Try to not let any preconceived notions color your feelings towards people from other cultures. Show respect by making every effort to keep an open mind. For example, go into a new experience ready to learn something new.
- Maybe you are traveling in Asia. The food might not be what you are used to, but be willing to try new things.
- Be aware that just because people behave differently does not make them better or worse than you. For example, Middle Easterners often engage in more elaborate greetings and small talk than most Americans.
- Be willing to participate in new types of conversations. You'll likely learn something, and you might also enjoy it.
- Outwardly demonstrate your respect. Do not roll your eyes or scowl when you encounter an unfamiliar sight.
Teach your children to be respectful.The best way to learn respect is to be taught about different cultures at a young age. If children grow up understanding different cultures, they will be less likely to discriminate as adults. Take time to teach your kids about other cultures.
- If your child comes home from school and asks you why his friend can't play on Saturdays, you can use that as a teaching moment. Explain that some faiths or cultures observe Saturday as a holy day.
- Look for a school that teaches multiculturalism. Before enrolling your child, ask if there are multiple languages taught, or if the kids will be exposed to different kinds of art.
- Set a good example. If you behave with kindness and respect, your children are more likely to model that behavior.
Trying New Things
Eat new foods.Food is an important part of each culture. To many people, food represents not only nourishment, but history and heritage. Make an effort to try foods from other cultures.
- Ask some friends to join you at an Ethiopian restaurant. Not only will you get to experience delicious food, but you will probably have fun eating with your hands.
- Ask your Orthodox Jewish friend to tell you about her favorite Kosher meal. Ask about how it is prepared.
- Try cooking something new each week. You can make dinners from around the world and involve your family in your cultural exploration.
Experience a new cultural activity.Different cultures have different leisure activities. Try joining a rugby team or go to a pub to watch soccer (football). You'll likely meet some people from elsewhere in the world.
- Listen to a new type of music. Consider attending a recital of African tribal music or listening to an Italian opera.
- Watch a foreign film. Go to a local art house and see a film with subtitles.
- Look at different types of art. When your local museum as an exhibit of Egyptian art, make a point to go.
Learn some new words.If you can speak the language, you will be better able to communicate with people from other cultures. Also, learning some key phrases can help you feel more at ease if you are traveling abroad.
- Learn new greetings. Your new neighbor will feel very welcome if you make an effort to greet them with a friendly "Bonjour!" or "Konnichiwa!" instead of hello.
- Take a class. Many community centers offer affordable (or free) language courses. Take advantage of their offerings.
- You can also take online courses or download a translator app for your phone.
Travel.One of the most effective ways to learn about another culture is through travel. By traveling abroad, you can immerse yourself in the daily life of a new culture. Don't be afraid to explore new areas of the world.
- Be a respectful traveler. For example, if you decide to travel to the United Arab Emirates, be aware that women are expected to dress modestly.
- Try some "local" activities. When you travel, there are many typical tourist sites that you will want to see. But don't be afraid to ask a local to point you towards their favorite neighborhood.
- Be aware of your safety. You want to enjoy yourself, but make sure that you are always aware of your surroundings and using common sense.
QuestionHow do you respect other nationalities?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDo not be stereotypical. Have discussions on interesting topics, and respect the other person's idea - or at least listen to him/her.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are some other ways of respecting other people's cultures?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn addition to following the tips in this article, you can simply ask the person how you can respect his or her culture. It is likely that the person will appreciate you for asking.Thanks!
How to make 5 pages of research in 1 day?
Where does diversity come from and how can it be respected?
- Watching movies from different countries, like Bollywood movies or those on ancient happenings can be eye opening and help you appreciate different societies.
- If you're into fashion, try sampling different culture's dress and styles.
- There are lots of magazines available on different cultures.
Sources and Citations
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