Cultural Diversity and Racism

Ethnic Harmony

We live in a society that consists of diverse people that come from different areas and backgrounds of life and are different shapes and sizes. The textbook talks about “diversity” in relation to physical abilities, religion, gender, social class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and nationality (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). Within that, culture and cultural diversity (ethnicity and race) are seen as what creates influence over the lives of people who come from different backgrounds. It brings a sense of uniqueness to different groups of people who have their own sets of rules, beliefs, behaviors, and values that they follow and teach throughout the generations.

As someone who grew up in the Indian community, culture is seen as important. There are traditions/values/behaviors/etc. that have been passed down for generations. I was born in America, my family is more modernized so the traditions, behaviors, etc. differ a bit from what is taught in India. However, in present day, India has come a long way in changing certain things to keep up with the times as opposed to how it used to be back in the day. For example, let’s talk about the clothing. Indian people are known for their beautiful traditional and intricate clothing and the fancy jewelry that compliments it as well. There is traditional clothing that is a little simpler in detail and a majority of the residents there wear it every day. In the past when I would visit, I’d never seen anyone in anything except the traditional clothing but times have changed and nowadays individuals also wear jeans, t-shirts, and clothing that’s modest yet not the typical traditional outfit. Here in the U.S., a majority of the Indians I know wear your typical clothing, like t-shirts, jeans, etc. for their casual wear for a regular day like everyone does. It’s not like India, where it’s normal to wear the traditional clothing every day. Personally, I only wear my traditional clothing if I attend my parents church, at certain Indian weddings, or for special events within the community.

The textbook talks about how the norm behavior for when people greet each other in India is to nod (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). I do catch myself nodding at other Indian people but I’ve also seen it used as a joke by other people who witness it because they think it’s funny the way that Indian people “bob their heads all the time”. It’s unfortunately not understood by many that it’s just a form of greeting each other. Another thing that people associate with Indians is arranged marriages. For a long time, it was tradition for marriages to be arranged for an individual by their parents. As the textbook states, in places like India and Japan the purpose of marriage wasn’t viewed “as providing happiness to the two individuals involved; rather, it is viewed as developing alliances between families” (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). In current day, this tradition is still practiced in different parts of India but things have expanded and there’s a bit more freedom. My parents don’t believe in arranged marriage, and in being more modernized, that tradition isn’t passed on to me. Being from Indian background though, there are people who assume that that is how my life is going to go, which is just an assumption created based off my culture.

Furthering into assumptions that are created, there’s the unfortunate response of racism and discrimination that tends to occur. It’s a sensitive topic that people don’t like to talk about, but it does still exist to this day. Racism is defined as “bias against an individual or a group of individuals based on the individual’s or group members’ race/ethnicity” (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). There are a lot of people that don’t want to talk about this topic because it’s just easier to push it under the rug and act like it’s not a real thing that exists. I sadly have been discriminated due to my ethnicity. I’ve had people tell me (for no reason) to go back to the country I was born in, but then would be silent when they realized that I wasn’t born in India. It’s not fun to be bullied in general and it’s hurtful when it’s based off of who you are, where you and your family come from, and what makes you different from other people.

If you’ve seen The Office, there’s an episode called “Diversity Day” in which different cultures are acknowledged and the characters are seen using stereotypes of the cultures, in a comedic way. This doesn’t remove the fact that some of what they showed in the episode tends to happen in real life. In the episode, they’re all role-playing as different cultures and saying stereotypical things to each other in a game to figure out who each person is representing and one woman isn’t in the room at the time and so she doesn’t know that this game is being played. When she returns, a character says a stereotype about the woman’s actual cultural background, as a part of the game, but the woman didn’t know that and thought the character was being serious and got offended, thus opening the eyes of the character who said it to her. The concept of Diversity Day exists in real life as well, except it’s nowhere near like how it is in that show. An article connected to the United Nations talks about how bringing together cultures is good for development, peace, and stability (United Nations, 2020). On the 21st of May, it’s known as World Day for Cultural Diversity in which cultures are embraced and values and traditions are understood with knowledge of it being broadened (United Nations, 2020). My workplace has a Diversity Day where everyone comes together, brings food from their cultural background, and people get to interact with each other and learn more about each other and where they come from.

I hope that one day it’ll get to a place where people aren’t judged for where they come from and people will be kind to all the individuals that they encounter without creating assumptions or discrimination. People from all cultures should be able to come together in unity from a place of love and try to understand each other more. We should all love each other and create that harmony and peace within us as a society. No matter where a person comes from, everyone is beautiful and unique in their own way and should be accepted as such.



Works Cited:

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2016). Applied social psychology : Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Retrieved from

cultural, diversity, dialogue, development, Alliance of Civilizations, tolerance, inclusion. (n.d.). Retrieved from


  1. I can really relate to your post, like you my parents are from a different country, they are from Egypt, and they moved to America before my siblings and I were born, therefore, I also like you, was born in America. I’ve experienced a lot of similar situations as you did, with people being very stereotypical, saying ignorant things, like “do you live in the pyramids?”, “are you related to king tut?”do you have a camel? It’s funny, but it can get to be too much at times, and it makes you feel singled out. A lot of times people will also say intentional things that are very hurtful, such as comments about being an Arab, or a terrorist. So I understand how much it hurts to be judged by where you come from. It is really sad that after all the advancements in our society we are still very behind when it comes to racial and ethnic equality. America is supposed to be a country where people from all backgrounds can live in harmony and peace among each other, however, unfortunately America is actually among one of the racist countries in the world in my opinion. Every country I’ve been to, including Egypt, people aren’t judged by their skin color or where they are from and if they are it isn’t as harshly as they are judged here in the US. I’m not sure why that is, and am very curious to learning more on the topic and where all this hatred came from. It is very true that law enforcement treat people of color differently, for instance, going through the airport, when I go through security they will let me by no problem, but I see how they treat my brother just because his name sounds more Arab and mine doesn’t. They will search all his bags and give him a really hard time, all based on his name. So hopefully this issue improves in the coming years, especially after everything that happened with George Floyd, Bianca Taylor, Ahmed Arbery, and many others.

  2. Thank you so much for your post and for sharing your experiences. This is such an important issue and the more we openly talk about it, the better chance we have of raising awareness. Most people will think that they are not racist or prejudiced because they don’t see racism outside of the construct of blatant racism. However, aversive, symbolic, and ambivalent racism can be just as harmful and sometimes even more hurtful, as it can come from friends and colleagues. I first learned about microaggressions a few years ago; a microagression is defined as “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority)” (Miriam Webster). This can be a comment like “where are you from from” when they hear a response that doesn’t match their expectations. What is frustrating is that they make no connection to the inferred prejudice, even when challenged by being asked the same question in return.

    In my ANTH 21 class, we learned about the origins of humans and how our skin color has no biological construct for race. Our skin color is merely a product of evolution based on migration patterns of early man. Eradicating racism through education was a common topic of conversation in that class, however, I believe that racism has more to do with “in-groups” and “out-groups” than with actual skin color or culture. Throughout history, especially in America, there have been groups that have maintained control over society by establishing and maintaining a power distance and have used fear mongering and misinformation to perpetuate their plans.

    This is why I believe it is important that we, as a diverse group of cultures, genders, and ethnicities work together to address these larger systemic issues surrounding global power dynamics. Equality begins when we can band together to fight issues that are beyond us as individuals, such as peace, climate change, poverty, and slavery.

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