| TAKING AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT CULTURE
1. Culture is not homogeneous - "One man's meat is another man's poison." Values differ from one culture to the next. For example, people of the western world shake everbody’s hands – be they an elder or toddler. As a contrast to this, the Yoruba people find it offensive to shake the hands of elders. If you are a stranger to these cultures, it takes some time to learn and understand their customs.
2. People living together in a society share culture. For example, almost all people living in the United States share the English language, dress in similar styles, eat many of the same foods, and celebrate many of the same holidays. The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert are almost naked and hunt animals for food.
All the people of a society collectively create and maintain culture. Societies preserve culture for much longer than the life of any one person. They preserve it in the form of knowledge such as scientific discoveries, objects like works of art, and traditions like the observance of holidays.
3. Culture is revered. Many peoples of the world cherish their cultural heritage and believe that it, in itself, has a great deal of value. It is important enough to be a subject of controversy in our daily lives. Americans say that the British are too conservative. Eastern Europeans blame Western Europe’s love of capitalism for many problems. It is like a god. Adored by all and sundry.
THE NEED TO SHARE AND RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE’S CULTURE
No man is an island. The same goes for our culture - it cannot be self-sustained. It grows by reacting against and learning from other cultures.
No culture should be looked down on, or viewed as worthless. Cultural exchange can provide vast benefits for all societies. Different societies can exchange ideas, people, manufactured goods, and natural resources.
Makossa, a type of African music, is rapidly cutting across continents, while demands for Hip-Hop CDs by African youth are increasing. African girls want to look like Britney Spears, and guys want to break dance. This mixing of cultures benefits both sides, as it helps them both to grow.
We all cringe when we see pictures of Inter-tribal wars in Africa and Europe. We feel bad when we hear Arabs call the western world "Infidels." All of these occur when we trample and look down on other people's culture.
A LASTING SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM
As I said earlier, no culture can be self-sufficient. We must make a conscious effort to accept other people’s cultures as they are. The United Nations must make further efforts to convince the governments of the world to “sell” their cultures around the globe. The UN must attempt to restore frayed diplomatic ties between cultures to prevent them from clashing in the future.
The Internet has been instrumental in bringing the peoples of the world together. It can be used to promote global culture. More chat groups can be made to allow for a greater cultural exchange amongst the peoples of the world.
We should all come together and appreciate humanity. We are all created through one source. This fact cannot be ignored.
Respect other people’s culture as you would like them to do unto you!
When I was in Junior Secondary school, my teachers defined culture as “a way of life of different peoples from all over the world." Culture, in anthropological terms, is "the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create, and share." That is why a Zulu's culture is different from the Shankalas, and a Yoruba's is different from the Fulani's.
APPRECIATING OUR CULTURE
In 1977, Nigeria hosted the largest ever annual “FESTival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC '77).” A total of five million naira was spent in hosting the event.
Many people within the Diaspora were delighted by the event’s success. It gave them the chance to showcase their cultural heritage to the world, an opportunity that was especially important considering the fact that several African nations had only recently gained independence. Africans are so proud of their culture that, at first, they resented that of the Colonials who came to their land. Young ladies who opted for the "Western Style" of dress were branded as "uncultured". Many are still against the incursion of Western culture, and it will probably remain a subject of dispute among different groups in Africa over the next several years. They claim that their culture has been "trampled upon by others" and have thus take steps to protect themselves from this perceived threat.
The governments of various countries from all over the world spend huge amounts of money on tourism, just to display their culture to the world. In educational institutions, too, history as a subject is introduced to make citizens both proud of their culture, and to teach them about the cultures of other peoples of the world.
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Olawuyi Olusola Akanbi
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Well Done Alexandra Govere
| Aug 31st, 2002
Thanks for being so thoughtful. I hope you are the next leader of the African Union! Then me!
keep it up makinde kayode
| Oct 10th, 2002
sola has spoken the minds of people
caught in the throes of culture conflict
Got it right Abongta Shu Moncha Brain
| Oct 31st, 2002
wonderful Ayodeji Thomas Adewunmi
| Dec 24th, 2002
Keep it up!! Thanks for being a wonderful African Child!!
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