Culture. The primordial soup of everything

Every behaviour we demonstrate forms part of a culture. A value system that is expressed individually and moreso within a community of people.

Cultures are everywhere around us and form the moral, ethical and social fabric of our daily interactions. Our behaviours change to fit into cultures — consider the way you behave differently at work to how you behave within a family/friend environment. Alternatively our behaviours over time create cultures. Consider the culture and values exhibited by certain ethnic groups over generation e.g. Asian community focus on education.

What is interesting today is the mix of cultures any individual is exposed to. As a British Indian, I have often found myself at the border of both modern day British and Indian culture. Excluding ethnic background, value systems further differ across multiple dimensions e.g. North/South divide, youth vs. the elderly, city slickers vs. country bumpkins and rich vs. poor, to name but a few.

What is important to realise is that instead of getting caught up in the ‘ism’ or the label overlying the disparity between cultures, there is a fundamental value system difference at its root.

Lets take racism for example. Racism is easily reduced in the media and popular discussion to(for ease of argument) black people disliking white people for the colour of their skin, and vice versa. My opinion is that a cultural disparity has existed between the two groups historically i.e. their value systems have been different due to lack of integration. This lies at the heart of the discord. Once the groups begin to integrate and share cultural practices, the colour of skin is not important. The values and beliefs remain paramount. White people may assume traditionally held black cultural practices and vice versa.

This applies across the spectrum of any popular divide in society. Labels are often used as the dividing line between people. In fact, value systems are the cause, with an often more nuanced polarisation.

Culture is the primordial soup within which we live, exist and grow. We should realise that a difference between us and another is due to a difference in our value systems, and nothing else. Any other barrier we put up is our own.

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