I Believe in Respecting All Cultures

Abby - Cullowhee, North Carolina
Entered on September 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I Believe in Respecting All Cultures

I believe in the importance of respecting all cultures and celebrating the diversity of the human race. People become so absorbed in their own lives, they often forget that they are not the only ones that populate planet Earth. We share the planet with billions of other people of different culture, color, language, religion, and history. It is our responsibility to respect and listen to one another with an understanding of our vast differences.

I went to the American International School of Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with students from more than 56 different countries. My childhood has been a wonderful learning experience, which has fostered my appreciation and love of diversity. My school would host an annual International Day where students would attend in their national dress and bring food from their home countries to celebrate and share the differences of their cultures. Living in a country that is home to so many nationalities really opened my eyes, and influenced my perception of people and their own unique way of life.

During middle and high school I remember my English and History classes very vividly. We always had exciting, lively debates and discussions about religion, culture, and current affairs. Attending a school with so many nationalities gave me the opportunity to hear numerous different and important points of view. In a way, I learned more about life from the students than the teachers.

The classroom often became a heated environment bursting with emotion, as students possessed very different political, religious, and cultural views regarding sensitive issues. For example, many of my friends were seriously offended and enraged by the Danish caricature of the prophet Mohammad holding two bombs. They exclaimed that the “West” had no respect for the sacredness and sanctity of their religion because in Islam, the physical representation of the human form is strictly prohibited. In contrast, political and religious cartoons in the Western world are a form of freedom of speech and expression. In this case, ignorance is not bliss, as it created hatred towards the West among Muslims around the world.

My interactions with people in and outside of the classroom have helped me see the importance of living with an open mind and respecting those around me. In order for nations to exist in peace with one another I believe compromise and tolerance are key. Before we can begin to respect each other we must learn to live with open minds and open hearts. We must accept and embrace the diversity of our race.

I believe in respecting all cultures with a passion because life is too short to harbor hatred. Besides, we have so much to learn and share with each other. It hurts and disappoints me to think that the great human race is incapable of showing respect and compassion to their brothers and sisters.