Understanding a culture that is different from your culture is important in becoming a global citizen and leader. This can also help you avoid culture shock if you visit a country with a different culture. It is important to understand the difference between appreciation and appropriation. Appreciation is when someone recognizes and learns about another culture to widen their perspective and connect with others. Appropriation is when someone takes a specific aspect of culture to use it for their interests. Here are some ways to help you appreciate a culture without exploiting it.
Examine your culture:
By observing your culture, you can understand the differences in cultures across the world. If you recognize that a specific feature of your cultural background is significant to your identity, and it would upset you if someone used it without fully understanding what it means, understand that the people of different cultures all over the world, may feel the same way. Imagine how you would feel if someone wore an important religious symbol of your culture without understanding its importance.
This is the best way to understand and appreciate another culture. Listen to the people who have complete knowledge about their culture. Pay attention to their stories and try to understand their perspective. Try to put yourself in their shoes to broaden your worldview. For example, if you buy traditional handmade home décor, ask the artist about the story behind his creation and learn about his background.
What a particular symbol means to that culture, when it is appropriate to use are some of the questions that will help you understand the culture better. Understanding various aspects of a culture is very important. If you genuinely show interest in different cultures, their people will be happy to share their cultural knowledge with you. Ask about the item, symbol or custom to appreciate the culture fully.
Share your culture
Culture exchange is always mutual. People learn about your culture and you learn about their culture. Through appreciation and discussion, you can share something about yourself, learn something about others, and participate in understanding each other’s culture and background. The kind of interest you have in learning about someone else’s culture, chances are they have the same excitement to know about your culture.
Invest your money where you appreciate it
If you want to buy a piece of traditional African jewelry, purchase it from actual African people. This will support their culture and provide you authentic pieces. Support the work of the artist whose work you admire. This is how you appreciate the culture without appropriating it. Companies that want to produce diverse materials from different cultures can partner with small traditional vendors to supply the products. This will help those vendors grow their business and make the world aware of their cultural symbols.
You must know the origin of the things that you own. If not search and learn about it before you buy it. This will help you know who makes them and what their cultural significance is. And if you decide to buy something purchase it from an authentic store and not from the mall. If you are attracted to a culture find everything about it and then admire it. You must appreciate diversity without exploiting it. Don’t contribute to financial misuse of the culture of colonized people.
Appreciating does not mean taking. The best way to appreciate a culture is by learning about it and respecting its customs. If you like other cultures support it. Don’t buy ethnic products from mass producers, buy it from a source. Travel, read and develop relationships with people from different cultures. Finally, learn about your culture to find meaning and significance of your heritage.
U-Diverse helps international clients and expatriates, with diverse backgrounds, to be fulfilled in their professional career, and work authentically with their strengths.
We provide the following services for private clients:
We also support global organizations to set up a diverse and inclusive environment. Through coaching and training, we assist them in creating productive work environments where international, expatriate and diverse clients are valued.
We provide the following services for global organizations:
- International Recruitment and Interview Coaching & Training
- Diversity & inclusion
- Leadership for Global Executives
- Outplacement & Talent Acquisition
- Virtual Team Training
Take charge of your international career, and schedule a free strategy session with us today!
About U Diverse’s founder:
Magali Toussaint is the founder of ‘U-Diverse’. She is a certified Talent Acquisition Strategist, an ICF-certified Leadership Consultant, a Career Coach, a Cross-Cultural Trainer, and a Job Search Strategist with an extensive career in Recruitment, HR, Diversity, as well as Education. She has lived and worked in over four countries and speaks French, English, and Dutch fluently. Read More...