Gauss-Telegraph: Why is cultural diversity important?
On 12.09 the “Bündnis gegen Rechts” called a demo against the AfD state party conference in Braunschweig. The AfD is characterised by racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophonic statements. In Gauss Haus we do not accept any kind of discrimination. The Gauss Friends rather want to promote intercultural exchange and international understanding. For this reason the Gauss Friends were also represented with a banner at the demo.
Why is cultural diversity important?
by Karolina Kołodziejczyk
Cultural diversity has always been important to me, especially because I come from a country, where it is scarce, which made me realise how crucial it is for a person. Fortunately, I was able to spend a semester in Braunschweig and some of my time was occupied by international events, which made me exposed to cultural diversity. I also made friends from different countries who I met with often.
It is crucial for one’s personal growth to be exposed to different cultures. If a person grows up in one culture without being surrounded by others, they might end up being closed-minded and not tolerant or accepting of people having their own ideas and beliefs. It is also easy to fall for the upsetting and untrue depictions of other cultures or ethnic groups that the media falsely portrays. In today’s age of media and internet, it is important to educate oneself from non-biased sources, which are difficult to find. Therefore, it is sensible to get a bigger picture on such stereotypes and hear the opinion of a person affected by them. Even if the cliches turn out to be accurate, talking to someone and learning about their culture might help one understand why they are correct. When one understands the roots of a certain belief, that results in them being less hostile towards it.
When you surround yourself with people from different cultures, you gain a wider perspective on life and situations you are in. As a result, it makes you more open-minded to explore different options and solutions to a problem you face. It is beneficial not only for the person affected, but also for other people. It gives everyone an opportunity to grow and exchange their remarks and experiences, which makes it mutually valuable.
Another important aspect of cultural diversity to consider is the exchange of values, such as food. Food is an important part of cultural diversity because you have the possibility of learning about different cultures from a historical perspective. Food holds thousands of years of history in some cases, and if you converse with someone from a different culture about traditional dishes and their history, you could learn more about the culture altogether. Learning the historical roots of cultural practices within a culture other than your own makes you more of a global citizen, which is important as globalization is increasing rapidly.
Of course, with cultural diversity some problems might occur, such as disagreements and misunderstandings, but everyone should feel comfortable and safe to express their own beliefs and when differences of opinions happen, they should be resolved in a calm manner. That is also one of the benefits of being surrounded by the people from an unfamiliar cultural background- a person gets the chance to learn how to communicate better and how to calmly resolve the disagreements.
The effects of the lack of cultural diversity can be easily observed in the countries where this issue occurs. The inhabitants tend to be more hostile towards foreigners and they easily believe the stereotypes and base their general opinion on the incorrect information. Therefore, it is important to travel and experience cultural diversity and all the benefits and challenges it comes with.