Cultural diversity refers to the different human societies, civilizations and cultures in a particular region or in the world as a whole. Humans are believed to have had their cradle in Africa. From there they are believed to have spread everywhere to occupy different parts of the world. Cultural diversity arose thus from this spread. This is because different people depending on the migratory pattern they took settled in different areas and adapted to different conditions. They also adapted to different climatic changes. These different societies from different parts of the world differed in great ways from each other and these differences still exist to date.
Different societies exist all over the world and the factors creating differences and similarities between the groups include majorly religious, race and political practices. The major religions act as a demarcating factor for people in the world. They include Christianity, Muslim, Hinduism and Buddhism. These religions embed themselves in political practices of the people and nations who are majorly followers of either. Race, which arose also from the spread and resettlement of humans, is also a major separating factor for the human society. Political practices create politically sovereign nations, which create boundaries, and this is another form of separation and diversification for people (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2010).
From a survey done to compare the difference in perception between different people a form was filled that analyses different behavioral characteristics of two different religious groups in America, which are the Christian Americans and the Muslim and Arab Americans. The same form was filled by my friend and I and it showed two different pre determined opinions as to the behavioral characteristics of social groups and the interviewees were supposed to fit the descriptors to either group or both. Both my friend and I thought that Christian Americans were good neighbors, were not oppressive to their women, have women who go to work, have immodest dressing and are well educated. In addition, we thought they had secular content in their education, are governed by biblical law, have a political environment open to both sexes, are peaceable, socially inclusive, socially compliant and have moderate and flexible social value.
However, we differed on the opinions that my friend thought that the Christian Americans have moderate political values and are feminist while I thought they have conservative values. We both thought that Muslim and Arab Americans are oppressive to women, have a modest dress code, are undereducated, have religious content in their education, are devout, are governed by the Qur’an, are fanatically religious, are violent, are socially exclusionary, and have strict moral values. My friend however thought they have conservative political values and are sexist while I thought they have moderate political values, have their religious values perpetuated in politics, and are feminist (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2010).
We both thought that both groups are family oriented, have women as homemakers, have patriarchal societies, are law abiding, and have male-dominated political environments. However, my friend thought that both societies have religious values perpetuated in their politics and have religion as part of their government. Perceptions of each group are created by how each group conducts itself and how members of each group view the members of the other group. The difference in religion and social activities also plays a huge role in creating perceptions since no group is sure of the other’s activities.
The main difference between Muslims and Arabs is that Muslims are a religious group that profess the Islamic religion and can speak any language at all and belong to any nationality. On the other hand, Arabs are people from the Arabian regions and hence they form a nationality and speak the Arabic language. They can however profess any religion they wish to. The United States government requires that all males from South Asian, Middle Eastern and other Muslim countries to first register with the relevant authorities before entering the country. After the September 11th bombing, the American government up to recent years detains immigrants mostly from Middle Eastern and South Asian descents, on minor violations to investigate terrorist ties.
Orientalism is the confusion and similar generalization of Muslims and Arabs. Some characteristic of orientalism include racial profiling which means the members of one race being generalized as criminals due to the acts committed by one of them. Another characteristic is the confusion of a person to be of a certain religion or nationality since he/she looks like people related to that religion or who come from that country. Orientalism and prejudice contributes to hate crimes against the Arabic and Muslim groups since they are wrongly generalized and believed to be the ones after terrorism acts by most patriotic Americans. These patriotic citizens therefore treat these people with prejudice and end up seeing them all as enemies. To reduce tolerance in towns and cities, people can increase social events that cover a diverse cultural scope and be open to all. People can also educate their children on the importance of unity and make them understand the concepts of diversity in culture (Pyne, 2003).
Pyne, S. (2003). Making Enemies. The Village Voice News. Retrieved from http://www.villagevoice.com/2003-07-08/news/making-enemies/
Southern PovertyLawCenter. (2010). Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved from http://www.tolerance.org/
Southern PovertyLawCenter. (2010). Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved from http://www.splcenter.org/