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What is Cultural Diversity?

Jaime Durison, David White
  • Author
    Jaime Durison

    Jaime Durison has taught University Sociology for over three years. They have a master’s degree in Sociology from University of Chicago and bachelor’s degree in science from University of Michigan.

  • Instructor
    David White
Learn about cultural diversity. Discover the meaning of cultural diversity, learn its benefits, uncover its challenges and understand how to support it. Updated: 06/09/2022

Table of Contents


What is Cultural Diversity?

The cultural diversity meaning is an ideological belief upheld in societies that recognize, appreciate, and respect the cultural behaviors and presence of other people or people from diversified groups. Societies comprise different types of people originating from diversified ethnic groups. Each ethnic group is constrained by its specific values, behaviors, and social norms. Therefore, a culturally diverse society enables and empowers different contributions that different people make from various ethnic backgrounds. Essentially, cultural diversity is the act of inclusiveness; that is, acknowledging people from different cultural backgrounds and creating an enabling environment that recognizes and values the social behaviors of others. Understanding diversity stands out as a critical aspect of promoting cultural diversity. In this regard, diversity is attributed to various factors such as religion, ethnicity, and race, among others.

Cultural diversity promotes peaceful coexistence among different people in modern society. There are outstanding characteristics that explain cultural diversity. The main features include:

Existence of Multiple Cultures

The world's population comprises people from different cultures. Therefore, in a culturally diversified society, society includes people from multiple cultures, with each culture being a product of individual development. Individual development refers to the historical development of the culture, the people involved, their social behavior, and how the population merged or moved to their current society. However, even though they come from different cultural backgrounds, they acknowledge the cultural diversity of others and live together in harmony.

Each Culture has its Distinctive Features

Each culture has unique distinguishing features that differentiate it from others. Common features that differentiate culture from others include history, language, arts, and religion. Nevertheless, even though each culture has its primary characteristics, they continue practicing their culture while still appreciating the culture of others. Acknowledging the cultural practices of others reduces cultural conflicts and helps people live in peace.

It Tries to Preserve

People's culture comprises social norms, religion, traditions, and language. Cultural diversity increases the probability of some people adopting other people's way of life. However, when acknowledging cultural diversity in a given society, the culture of the minority group is encouraged to preserve its culture, thus preventing cultural extinction. Acknowledging the presence and social norms of the minority culture helps them continue practicing their culture, thus reducing the chances of extinction.

It Possesses Interculturalism

In a society that promotes cultural diversity, interculturalism is the aspect of promoting inclusiveness or dialogue to both the minority and the majority groups from different cultural backgrounds. When promoting cultural inclusiveness, the minority groups are given special recognition for their differences from the dominant groups. Society will easily adapt to intercultural communications and interactions through this special recognition.

Each culture has its unique way of living in a given multicultural setting. Therefore, key elements serve as a pillar of recognizing the abundant diversity of cultures in modern societies. Some of these elements include:

  • Customs
    • There is a specific behavioral pattern in each culture or a member of the given culture in their social functions. In addition, customs also include the beliefs held by the people from a given culture. It is therefore essential to acknowledge other people's customs.
  • Social values
    • Social values refer to the acceptable code of conduct within a specific social setting. Social values include the way people interact with others, especially the elders, addressing those in positions, generosity, and telling the truth. Social values help to promote cultural respect.
  • Languages
    • Language refers to the mode of delivering a message to the other person. Even though a language barrier may exist, especially when speaking or communicating with a person from different cultural groups, it is essential to use appropriate means to help promote understanding between the two. For instance, sign language reduces language barriers or uses a language that is easily understandable to the parties involved.
  • Social organization
    • The basic unit of any given culture is the family. Therefore, in each culture, a family has its specific obligations. In addition, the social organization also entails dietary needs, product or service preferences, and mutual obligations within the society. Social organization is essential since it helps to bring harmony among its people. It also helps to promote interaction between people from different cultures.
  • Gender interaction
    • In cultural settings, gender interaction refers to respect given to a specific gender or how individuals from different sexes interact. However, in the modern world, gender interaction may be a minor element since most cultures promote fair or equal treatment between the two genders. Nevertheless, some cultures still uphold their traditions. Therefore, both males are treated differently regarding respect, governance, and mode of interaction.

Interacting with people from different cultures is the modern way of life. Various factors such as work, education, religion, and social settings play a crucial role in bringing people together from different cultures. Therefore, in modern society, cultural diversity plays various roles, such as promoting respect for other people's cultures and their way of life. It also contributes to innovation and creativity by welcoming ideas from people with different perspectives. Conversely, cultural diversity in the modern world helps to dispel people's negative stereotypes of other people's cultures. Also, the digital era has enhanced cultural interaction through various social media and social networking. Therefore, modern societies are homes for different cultures and ethnic groups.

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  • 0:03 What Is Cultural Diversity?
  • 1:21 Shared Culture Benefits
  • 2:42 Cultural Diversity Challenges
  • 4:17 Cultural Diversity Support
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Benefits of Cultural Diversity

In the modern world, there are various benefits associated with cultural diversity. The main key benefits of cultural diversity include;

  • Cultural diversity helps promote peaceful coexistence among people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds in their workplace, institutions, and social settings.
  • Cultural diversity helps people to acknowledge that the world comprises different types of people from different cultural settings
  • Cultural diversity helps promote respect for other people's cultures and learn how they function and live.
  • There is beauty in promoting cultural diversity in society since people learn new skills from others and encourage innovation through dialogue and consultations.
  • Cultural diversity is beneficial to people living in the society since it promotes cross-cultural friendship, increases comfort, reduces cultural stereotypes, and impacts positive attitudes toward people living in a given society.

Challenges of Cultural Diversity

Even though cultural diversity is highly practiced in modern society, various challenges are associated with cultural diversity. Some of the challenges include;

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good example of cultural diversity?

A society comprising people from different religions, languages, races, and ethnic backgrounds is an excellent example of cultural diversity. For instance, some states and cities in America are culturally diverse. New York City is an excellent example of a culturally diverse city.

What is cultural diversity, and why is it important?

Cultural diversity stands out as a way of accepting and appreciating other people's way of life, thus promoting a peaceful understanding as people live together in society. Cultural diversity is essential since it enhances togetherness in society regardless of ethnic background.

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