Why Cultural Appreciation is Important...

Dear Beloved World,

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognise, accept, and celebrate those differences”

A quote by Audre Lorde. We are too much of hypocrites, and I can guarantee that. We all say that it is important to “Respect” but it’s easier to be said than done. As this piece of writing is dedicated to my English Assignment, I’d like to pour in my thoughts regarding a certain issue. Racism is caused by the lack of appreciation, the lack of respect among tribes, identity, background and culture. Where the majority of our people in this world today tends to not tolerate and accept, which led to hatred, conflict, war and brutality. We need unity in our world, we need togetherness, to fight for each other, not among each other, to celebrate with each other’s cultures.


This is why the world lacks Cultural Appreciation, cultural appreciation itself is to learn more about a culture so you can better understand it. You earnestly seek to learn about or explore a different culture, you listen, you strive to understand. You seek to honor its belief and traditions and not for your own personal gain (fame, clout, money, etc.). We live in a beautiful and diverse world. We should celebrate and enjoy the many different and contrasting cultures. They help give texture and creativity and diversity to our world. But as we appreciate other cultures, let’s be sure we’re doing it with the right intentions - to learn, to gain understanding, and to ultimately show honor and value.



Now let me ask you a question, have you ever worn or used any clothing attire, symbols or visited places (monuments, or a place of worship) that weren't from your culture? I believe we all have at least conducted one of the above. Well make sure you understand what you're wearing or where you're going, the intention, and what are other people’s perspectives. Make sure the way you interpret it or the way you wear any symbols or objects of another culture, won’t come out wrong. As if you’re offending someone, you’re disrespecting a certain culture, and that would look very bad. That may lead to a problem, which you should be very careful about. Using symbols/objects of another culture without knowledge and understanding can lead to it being used in an inappropriate way. The most common misuse of a culture's symbol/object often leads to negative cultural stereotyping.


There are so many benefits from cultural appreciation itself, from my past personal experience. When I was in Iran, (us girls) we were told to use the headscarf from day one of entering Iran to our last day leaving the border. So as other tourists, as I wore it, I've gained a perspective from this particular country and it is absolutely beautiful, I’ve heard from friends and family labeling their country as, “dangerous” or a conflicted country, it blinded the real country, their culture, and the humanity. Compared to what other people have said about their culture and the bad things people say about their country, but not just Iran, but other countries i’ve visited as well such as Myanmar, India, Thailand, Turkey, etc.


But here’s the other thing, different kinds of people have different ways of showing their appreciation, their approach of other cultures and it is quite interesting. But then again, it can lead to another problem of the way you convey appreciation to a certain culture, they may find it disrespectful and (then again) may lead into another problem. It is time to be more open-minded, to accept, respect & tolerate. This is the importance of Cultural Appreciation. I can assure you I am NOT 100% open-minded, but I am willing and fully aware of the importance of it, because it has given me so many insights and knowledge about this world today, it has mostly given me positive impacts in various ways. So if you have made it this far, it’s a sign that you should either start or keep contributing in creating change in this world, especially towards problems that aren’t acknowledged by many people as an “issue” and requires change a.s.a.p, just by the little things you do… I can assure you, it definitely matters.


Sincerely,

Alheamina Houtman.


Sources:

Love, Preemptive. “What Is Cultural Appreciation (And How It's Different From Cultural Appropriation)?” Preemptive Love, Preemptive Love, 13 Oct. 2020, preemptivelove.org/blog/what-is-cultural-appreciation/.


Holmes , Kelsey. “Cultural Appreciation vs. Cultural Appropriation: Why It Matters.” Greenheart International, 2015, greenheart.org/blog/greenheart-international/cultural-appreciation-vs-cultural-appropriation-why-it-matters/.


Imania, Nicole. “What Is Considered Cultural Appreciation?” The Finery Report, The Finery Report, 6 Oct. 2020, www.thefineryreport.com/articles/2020/10/5/what-is-considered-cultural-appreciation.

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