Cultural Diversity

Is it Important to Preserve Cultural Diversity?

Elisabeth Oppelt
January 27, 2020

Is It Important to Preserve Cultural Diversity? 

Cultural diversity is a diverse group of people co-existing in an area. Diversity can come from cultural differences like religion, values, lifestyles, language, entertainment, etc. and/or ethnic differences as people bring traditions and beliefs from their homelands to another area. As people from diverse backgrounds come together in one location, a multicultural community is formed. The most successful culturally diverse communities have high levels of cultural awareness: they are aware of their own cultures and the cultures of those in their areas and have learned to adapt to the differences by letting go of parts of their own culture and taking on new cultural ideas. As this happens, the cultural identity of individuals or groups can change to reflect the cultural diversity in their communities. There is some debate over whether cultural diversity should be preserved or whether it is better for diversity to be absorbed into one homogenous culture.

How Diverse is America? 

The United States has been called a “melting pot” of cultures, almost since it became a country. The idea that the US gathered and combined cultures into one became even more common as the United States became more industrial, gathering more people to cities rather than having its population spread out over the land living in smaller agricultural communities. An increase of immigrants from various countries also added to the melting pot mentality. The US’ “melting pot” concept favors the idea of cultures combining into one culture, rather than maintaining different cultures existing together. According to the US Census, the population of the United States is still largely one race and mostly born in the US, with 76% of the population identifying as white and around 14% of the population born outside of the US. Compared to the ethnic diversity of other countries, the US is in the middle, according to the Washington Post.

Cultural Diversity Should Be Preserved 

There is value in maintaining cultural diversity within a community. Each culture brings with it unique and valuable ways of looking at the world. Preserving that multiculturalism in a community prevents those unique ideas and world views from getting lost. Diversity adds creativity, problem-solving and perspective to a community that would not exist if those cultural differences were lost. For example, Native Americans have lived, hunted and farmed on in the Americas for centuries, and they did so without doing damage to the land or animal populations. The same cannot be said of the European settlers and their descendants who hunted buffalo almost to extinction and have harmed farmland. Indigenous farmers are currently moving back to their roots to preserve land and farm sustainably. The loss of culture with the destruction and forced assimilation of Native people in the united states has done a disservice to the people of the United States.

Cultures Should Blend into One Homogenous Culture 

Communities that gather cultures together to bring them into one culture create safer societies for all involved. Differences in culture can cause division in societies and lead to conflict and even violence. When everyone comes together into one cultural identity, many of those conflicts go away. Taking on the culture of the area where you live also makes it easier to adapt to the lifestyle, language, and expectations in that area. This makes it easier to go to school, find a job, find a social circle and form connections with new people. In turn, increased employment and educational opportunities bring increased economic success and productivity to the whole community. Language is a key example of this: in societies where one language is prevalent or countries with an official language, learning the language of that society makes it much easier for diverse people to integrate and succeed in a new society.

What Culture Should People Identify With?  

Cultural differences exist in nearly every society and cultural identity is a large part of who we are as human beings. The United States is a good example of this: there are people from nearly every country in the world living in the US and they bring their own cultures with them. The question becomes, what culture should people identify with? The one they were born into or the one where they live, or both? Does multiculturalism lead to a stronger society or does it cause division? Should diverse people hold onto their diverse culture or should they try to form a homogenous one? Culture brings much to our lives, but it can also cause divisions in some diverse groups of people. Each individual and community will make their own decision.



Sources

[2] Fisher, Max. “A revealing map of the world’s most and least ethnically diverse countries.” The Washington Post, May 16, 2013. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/05/16/a-revealing-map-of-the-worlds-most-and-least-ethnically-diverse-countries/ 

[3] Brown, Taylor. “Native American Farmers are Growing a Sustainable Market.” Civil Eats, Nov. 21, 2018. https://civileats.com/2018/11/21/native-american-farmers-are-growing-a-sustainable-market/

B.M. Brianka Morgan

Hmm, So, I DO believe that cultures should preserve their cultural identity to an extent, but I think the ability to do this would vary from nation to nation. In the United States in particular, I think that it benefits all cultures to yield to certain principles of American culture not only for safety, but also to preserve their culture for future generations.

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Hmm, So, I DO believe that cultures should preserve their cultural identity to an extent, but I think the ability to do this would vary from nation to nation. In the United States in particular, I think that it benefits all cultures to yield to certain principles of American culture not only for safety, but also to preserve their culture for future generations.

I also think focus should be on adaptation, not necessarily extreme cultural exclusion or full-blown assimilation. But of the extremes, i think that cultural or national pride is most dangerous, so I'm on team "cultures should blend."

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