Cultural Pluralism

6 June 2017

Cultural Pluralism is a term used when smaller groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities, and their values and practices are accepted by the wider culture provided they are consistent with the laws and values of the wider society. In my neighborhood, (Brooklyn, East Flat bush) there are many people from different races, culture and creed. I am surrounded by Indians, Asians, Latinos, Russians, African Americans, West Indians and Jews and we all co-exist with each other. Native Americans and the Amish are both superior examples of how cultural pluralism works.

The Native Americans continue to reside on their isolated reservations and speak their traditional language without being a bother to dominating society. The Amish also maintain their customary life style organized around farming and keep their customs separate from the dominances as well. It can be a problem not to understand another culture, especially, in New York City where we live in a society that is rapidly changing.

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The City has increasingly brought people of various cultures, to interact closer with each other.

This interaction can be either positive or negative depending on the level of sensitivity and respect people have for other cultural groups. One cultural group may believe that their culture and traditions are better than the other person’s culture and may even seek to convince you or to impose their beliefs on you. Especially when it comes to religious and political beliefs. The negative side to all this is that each culture has their own beliefs, traditions and values that could pose a problem on someone else who do not share those values or traditions.

Disagreements over what’s right or wrong and lack f communication because of language barriers could arise. But with an open mind, we could all turn this toa positive and learn from each other’s culture. For example, something as basic as cooking rice, each culture have their own way of cooking a rice dish. The may prepare rice and beans different toga Hispanic’s or a West Indian’s. Is there a right way or wrong way of cooking rice? Not really. But we can all learn from each other and come to realize that hey, this is delicious maybe we can try to cook this way once in a while and integrate it in our own mix.

Now a moral absolutist believes that there are universal laws that governs and draws a line between right and wrong. For example a moral absolutist may say that it’s wrong to take a life so therefore, having an abortion is morally wrong regardless of the beliefs and goals of a culture that engages in these practices. Lying, for instance, would always be immoral, even if done to promote some other good (e. g. , saving a life). Then there’s the ethical relativist who believes that whatever is right in someone’s moral frame work is right to them.

One advantage of ethical relativism is that it allows for a wide variety of cultures and practices. It also allows people to adapt ethically as the culture, knowledge, and technology change in society. The disadvantage of ethical relativism is that truth, right and wrong, and Justice are all relative. Just because a group of people think that something is right does not make it so. Slavery is a good example of this. Two hundred years ago in America, slavery was the norm and morally acceptable.

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