Our world has been divided by our differences and lack of cultural understanding and a broad, global perspective. An important part of this is that there are so many people that simply don’t understand or have knowledge about their global neighbors. This results in stereotypes and negative views that shape the way that an entire group of people is seen. These reasons lead to a divided world and one that lives in fear. The fact that Americans, being a contributing factor towards global divide, don’t understand that the world is watching them only contributes to the cultural divide of ignorance.
In order for the world to be unified and a more caring place to be, people to need to be educated on what’s happening in the world around them. Being exposed to other cultures and what they entail is essential for there to be less judgment and fear of each other. In some instances, people are at a certain advantage when they intentionally take another language in school or go to an international school.
For the first nine years of my education, I attended the Lycee Francais de Chicago, the French-International School in Chicago. In this environment, I was exposed to Europeans that were very wealthy and predominantly white, at a very early age. I was exposed to a perspective that wasn’t American. After transferring to Peterson Elementary, in Chicago, I was being exposed to the rest of the world through a student body that was multi-lingual and multi-cultural. It was through attending Peterson and living in Chicago that I had access to many international perspectives by engaging and establishing relationships with people from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. Americans may not understand that the world sees it as this standard of what a country should be with the American values of freedom and opportunity– many of which aren’t equitably available to all, even with our many flaws of historical racism.
Having a complete appreciation of someone else’s culture breaks down barriers of judgment and fear. After 9/11, much of the world viewed any Middle Eastern, any Muslim, out of fear, racism and ignorance, based on the actions of a few. How black people are portrayed in movies and music videos is transported throughout the world which puts images and opinions about them, ones that are formed based on stereotypes. This can also be said about white Americans, and how they are seen as racists and or as southern Christians who use the Bible to ignite and support hate and fear. These stereotypes and actions of people around the world follow them and people that look like them everywhere. People tend to live in fear of the unknown and distance themselves from cultures or a person which only creates a greater discomfort, which is likely the complete opposite of what they want.
To make the world a more caring place, we need to break down cultural ignorance and bring people together through cultural understanding. People will never feel safe or cared for in this world if they are constantly being judged and misunderstood. This kind of transformation allows for an opportunity or everyone to be involved. This one thing can completely change the global dynamic in a way where it grants a greater perspective and can bring peace.