Global and Cross-Cultural Diversity

The United States is a culturally diverse country, and while we continue today to grapple with tensions related to race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion, and age, the very fact that we can have public debates about matters related to diversity is some measure of social progress. Across the globe, there are many instances where groups of people continue to be oppressed along dimensions of diversity.

For this discussion, you will review some terminology related to diversity and cross-cultural relations, and then you will demonstrate your understanding of these terms as they relate to a practice that most in the United States would agree is unpalatable.

Review this week’s Learning Resources.

Here are some terms that are often included in discussions about diversity:

Cultural pluralism is the recognition that society consists of many diverse groups that have unique cultural identities and practices that continue to exist within a larger, more dominant society.
Multicultural societies consist of many diverse groups, none of which are socially dominant.
Cultural relativism is the idea that an individual’s behavior and beliefs can only be understood in terms of that individual’s culture.
For this discussion, respond to the following questions:

What is the cultural basis for female genital mutilation (FGM)?
What would a “cultural relativist” say regarding the acceptability of FGM?
How can we reconcile cultural relativism with the need for human rights?
What role does globalization play in changing cultural practices?

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