Sometimes, it can be the things that bring the world closest together that make us realise how far apart it really is. The ease with which we can communicate with other cultures in modern days has made it clear just how different some societies can be.
That’s not a bad thing.
Connecting with people who are vastly different from us can be an incredible learning opportunity for everyone involved. Combining the knowledge of every culture is, ultimately, one the key factors that will bring about harmony among mankind.
But there is a lot of learning to get done before that time comes. For all the progress that people have made, there is still a lot of conflict in the world, often caused by the inability of some to learn how to merge with others. Or their unwillingness to.
Or their overt willingness to.
Reluctance to engage with someone else’s traditions has been a wedge between nations for as long as societies have attempted to mingle.
Today, the world faces almost the opposite problem.
While there is still conflict raging between some cultures, others are making a very conscious effort to engage in a way that will benefit both mutually.
Where or not they’re doing it consciously, there are a lot of people who are interested in furthering this process on an individual level.
Making an effort to learn about other cultures, to understand their histories and their traditions, to see what you can learn from them, even as only one person, you contribute to the way that cultures come together to form one cohesive society.
But sometimes people go too far. Sometimes, they find something so wonderful that they want to incorporate it into their own lives.
And that’s not a bad thing. It can be the first step towards truly identifying as a single species.
But it’s not something you can rush into. It’s something you have to take your time to actually learn about the thing you admire, to show respect for the culture it comes from and to prove that you understand what you’re doing. Jumping onto something that you don’t properly understand can mean that all you do is offend the people who genuinely consider it a precious part of their heritage.
But diplomacy goes both ways.
It’s important not to immediately condemn someone for having an enthusiasm for something new and exciting. People get carried away with themselves without realising that they’re being obnoxious.
If someone is mistreating an ideal on purpose, then let them know it’s not okay.
But that’s often not the case. Sometimes, people just get carried away, trying to emulate something they’ve fallen in love with. Then, it’s important to be able to recognise when people aren’t being disrespectful, even if they don’t quite hit the mark when it comes to showing respect.
There are enough people out there that are genuinely going to be disrespectful, maybe even hateful, towards others. Ostracising those who don’t mean to hurt anyone only causes more conflict, not less.
The way forward can only be forged with candid dialogue and understanding, making an effort to include people and choosing to refuse to isolate others, however that may manifest.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.