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Cultural tolerance

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    This article is a travel topic
If you are a traveler, you will encounter many different people along your journeys. People from so many different backgrounds. People of different races, religions, nationalities, tongues, classes, and lifestyles. We live in a diverse world. A world where people look and live so many ways.

And these people will play a lot of different roles within our travels too. They will be our hotel clerks. The cooks of our food. Waiters. The housekeepers who make up our rooms. The salespeople who sell things to us. Our pilots. Our drivers. Our tour guides. Docents at the museums we visit. Ride operators at amusement parks. Lifeguards who save lives and keep us safe at pools and beaches. Police officers who keep us safe on the streets of the cities we visit. Even our fellow tourists who come from different parts of the world to the same place where we come to for the same reasons.

Unfortunately, so many people in this world do not have such a favorable view of those who are different from themselves. Many people dislike or otherwise feel uncomfortable around those who have such differences. So much that they feel repulsed and view those who are different as being lower people who are less civilized and view the mere existence of other people as a problem.

Nevertheless, interactions with such people are a fact of life for everyone, especially for the traveler. Geography is a major factor that can set one person apart from another. A person who is bigoted or otherwise intolerant of those who are different will have a lot of difficulty enjoying their travels, and for such a person, it may be worth avoiding travel altogether.

In the articles about countries and many other places you visit, the "understand" section as well as other sections shall provide you with information about the culture of a place, and what to expect.

Definition of culture[edit]

The term "culture" is quite broad. Not all culture is purely definitive. Culture can be extremely generalized, and the lines between cultures quite gray.

Every country may have its own culture. And then every part of that country its own culture. Every city may have its own culture, and then every neighborhood within that city. A certain culture can have members scattered around a country or even the world.

In simple terms, culture is defined by a set of practices followed by a group of people.

Things to keep in mind[edit]

  • When someone is culturally different, they are not bad just because they are different. They are just different, and that is all. There is nothing wrong with that.
  • People are not automatically the same and cannot be lumped together just because they have the same skin color, speak the same language, or come from the same country.
  • You cannot judge an individual based on the bad you hear about their religion or nationality in the media. Everyone is an individual who has their own freedom of choice.
  • While levels of education may vary within different cultures, natural levels of intelligence do not. A person from any given culture is just as likely to be smart or dumb as one from your own.

Common aspects of culture[edit]

Race[edit]

Race, essentially, is the color of one's skin. There are numerous races in the world, more than most people have seen. Many people are genetically made up of more than one race. In many parts of the world, one race dominates the population. Society has a tendency to judge people based on their race, and even look negatively upon people of certain races.

People of a common race truly cannot be lumped together. If people of a common race share common behaviors or characteristics, it is only because of other common cultural elements unique to the areas where they live. It is not because of the skin color that is part of their heredity.

Religion[edit]

Religion refers to one's spiritual beliefs and practices. There are numerous religions around the world. Religious differences can be a major cause of friction in the relationships between different people. But with proper tolerance, people of differing faiths can get along successfully.

Some common religious practices are:

  • Prayer, often in a building designed for that purpose, but can take place anywhere where one happens to be
  • Eating or refraining from eating certain types of food
  • Observance of holidays, which may require one to practice certain rituals or refrain from certain activities
  • Refraining from certain activities at all times
  • Dressing in certain types of attire, which in some cases, may stand out in the general population

There are multiple versions of most religions whose practices may greatly vary. Also, members of a faith may vary from one to the next in their level of practice.

Most countries have one religion that dominates the population, with the remainder being minorities. In some countries, most people do not practice religion at all.

Social class[edit]

All throughout the world, wealth levels of people vary. Every society has its fair share of rich, poor, and everyone in between. In most cases, one's social class is far beyond one's control, for wealth does not come easy.

Every society has varying material signs of wealth. These may include certain garments, jewelry, foods, technological devices, motor vehicles, animals, or activities, or a combination of these.

In many societies, there is a tendency for people of differing social classes to remain separate from one another and not interact. Nevertheless, it is possible for people from differing classes to get along with recognition of these differences.

A person with less money is not a bad person just because they have less. They have less, and that is all there is to it. The poor are just as valuable members of society as the rich, and as little as they may seem, the contributions of the poor to society are necessary to all, and we would be lost without them. The life of a poor person, even one without any employment, is an asset to society.

The jobs worked for low wages are at least as important as the CEO positions. We would be lost without them. We would be starving to death with no one to pick our crops. Our cities would be full of trash and rats without trash collectors. Our hotels would have dirty linens at best without maids. And without cashiers at stores, how could we make purchases?

Many low wage jobs are considered to be quite thankless. But those who perform these types of work are more than deserving when they do their jobs right. When you receive great service from someone, be sure to compliment them, and when appropriate, give a tip. Let the person know how much they mean to you. Make it clear to them that the service they have provided for you is not just a job, that it made your day.

Language[edit]

A great difficulty encountered when crossing international borders and in some cases even when remaining in one's own territory is the difference in the language one speaks. The world is filled with thousands of languages. It is not possible for anyone to know all these languages, and anyone who is capable of speaking more than one is extremely lucky.

When two people have intersecting paths, but do not speak a common language, this can be extremely frustrating. As much as one may wish to communicate with that person, the doors to such communication are locked.

It is important to keep in mind that a language barrier is not anyone's fault.  There is no immediate solution to the problem. 

If you are planning to travel to a country where a certain language is spoken, it may be helpful to learn a few common words or phrases in that language. This may enable you to make certain requests of people so they can help you when in need.

If this is too difficult, there are electronic devices on the market that help with translation of human speech. Even some smartphones are capable of doing this, though data usage may be limited in foreign countries (see internet access while traveling abroad).

See also[edit]

Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

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