Each of us coming from different cultural backgrounds has a unique way of doing things, analyzing situations, and reacting to circumstances. Our individual way of viewing a situation is called perception. Differences in perception make up cultures. If you want to live comfortably in another country, you need to understand their culture, traditions and thinking. The population of the world has undergone many changes over the last years. It´s made up of people from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. That makes countries multicultural. More and more cosmopolitan cities are emerging, these are the cities composed of people and things from all over the world.
Multiculturalism brings a new and interesting atmosphere into counties. Thanks to cultural diversity, we are able to taste various kinds of food, listen to all types of music and learn many new customs. But cultural diversity only works if people respect one another. All of the cultures have different traditions – some follow strict religious rules or have different ways of viewing women.
Many people do respect and enjoy multiculturalism. They see the benefits it can bring. By learning about and getting to know different cultures, it´s easier to understand them and appreciate how they enhance our life experiences. On the other hand, multiculturalism can provoke racism. Some people are racist, and discriminate against people from other cultures. That means that they treat people negatively, unfairly, or as if they were inferior because of their skin color, culture, religion or nationality. Some people think that immigrants from other countries shouldn´t be allowed to come to their country and live in their own. They argue that immigrants take houses, jobs and benefits which people who already live there need.
Racism usually comes from thinking in stereotypes – that everyone form a certain culture is the same. Whatever your opinion, racism is illegal, and you can get arrested for it. It has been a big problem in the USA. In the past, African people were brought to America to serve as slaves to “white” people, because they thought of them as lesser species. This cruel regime was around for years until the slaves were set free. Although now, everyone has the same rights, we can still see racism playing a huge role in society. It is not only a problem of the US, racism occurs in Slovakia as well. As I mentioned before, we see people in stereotypes. Many people in Slovakia have problems with gypsies or Roma people. The basic stereotype is that they are people who don´t work, have many children so that they would get as many benefits as they can, they are filthy and not educated. Although, it might be true in some cases, there are many who aren´t the same way and because of these stereotypes, they are unable to find a good job.
Many people migrate from one country to another so seek refuge either from war, political injustice or maybe insufficient education systems. When people migrate, they usually go form poorer countries to richer countries in hope that they will start a new life there. Many people from ethnic minorities are employed in jobs with long hours and low pay. A high percentage also lives in areas of high unemployment. Many ethnic minorities live in run-down, inner-city areas and on poor housing estates, which often have low quality accommodation and suffer from problem such as violent crime. Most people agree that racial or ethnical inequalities exist; the difficult thing is to identify the causes and solutions.
Schools and government should educate people about cultural diversity, integrate communities and avoid segregation, attempt to wipe out racial discrimination and prejudice.
1. What is the difference between cultural values and individual values?
2. What are the benefits of living in multicultural society?
3. Is discrimination still a problem in modern society?
4. How can government fight discrimination?
5. What are the traditional family values in Slovakia?
6. Define the terms “melting pot” and “mixing bowl” when we talk about multicultural society.
7. What are the differences in traditions and culture in Arabic countries and western countries?
You believe that being a member of the European Union is a great advantage. You oppose Brexit and see a lot of benefits of being part of the EU. Start a conversation.
- Travel becomes easier.
- The EU does not interfere with cultural aspects of the country.
You believe that as a member of the European Union you have less influence over domestic affairs of your country. You support Brexit and would like your country to leave the Union.
Your teacher wants you to take part in an international summer camp. You have to prepare a speech about co-existence of people or different nationalities in one country or region. What would you talk about? Which bad examples would you use? How would you try to persuade your audience that all people are equal, have equal rights and can live together?
Look at the pictures. Compare and contrast them.
1. Obrázky - www.google.com
2. Bérešová J. a kol. (2008) Nová maturita z angličtiny - Vyššia úroveň B2
3. Kálaziová I. (2019) Úspešná maturita - Anglický jazyk - úroveň B2
4. Bérešová J. (2005) Nová maturita - Anglický jazyk - Interná časť
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