Cultural diversity is an undeniable characteristic of human dynamics and based on the reflections in this unit so far, cultural diversity can be defined as the co-existence of different cultural groups in a society. As an undeniable characteristic of society, cultural diversity is also a source of contention, because some individuals perceive it as a beneficial part of society in general while others view it as detrimental to society. Consequently, the purpose of this discourse is to deconstruct the statement that “cultural diversity has a positive impact on society”. The deconstruction presents a balanced review of the arguments that support and refute the statement. Although cultural diversity has increased society’s richness, unity and creativity, it has also led to ethnocentrism and stereotyping.
First, cultural diversity has increased the richness of society by contributing to the emergence of multiculturalism and uniculturalism. For instance, multiculturalism “may result in a fusion of cultures where the boundaries between different cultural identities are not clear cut” (Glossary p.13). Moreover, uniculturalism is characterised by a minorities’ ability to engage in cultural expressions freely. Thus, cultural diversity has led to the emergence of cultural hybrids that contribute to society’s richness as a whole. The result of rich exposures to cultural diversity is that some individuals are bicultural, pluricultural or bilingual, and they have developed desirable intercultural competencies. Therefore, cultural diversity increases the society’s richness in a fresh and engaging manner.
Second, cultural diversity forms a strong foundation for unity in the society. For example, the concept of multiculturalism is supported on the basis of established laws which are used to institutionalise inclusion and tolerance (Pinto 2013). Since inclusion and tolerance are mandated by law, cultural diversity acts as a reason to look for ways of developing closeness and working together regardless of individual and group differences. Insofar as language use is concerned, people exercise accommodation by adapting speech to their interlocutor’s speech. As a result, interactions between individuals from different cultures are characterised by greater levels of consideration and understanding.
Third, cultural diversity has increased development in different societies by contributing to creativity and innovation. People from different cultures have different needs. As a result, businesses have employed innovative ways of meeting those needs. For example, one research study established that the British for example are more likely to listen to a promotion or an offer if it has their preferred voice, a concept called “voice branding” (Call Centre Helper, 2009). Indeed, a society whose population is diverse calls for greater creativity and innovation in the business sector and other sectors.
In contrast, cultural diversity is criticised for several reasons one of them being its contribution to ethnocentrism in the society. Ethnocentrism is defined as the belief that “one’s own culture is in some way superior to others” (Glossary, p.36). As a result, one can conclude that the cultural diversity acts as a foundation for the assignment of different groups to different statuses, some of which are demeaning. For example, reference is made to the death of millions of Jews, who were murdered on the basis of the belief that they were an inferior minority (Kymlicka, 2012). Such an extreme form of the manifestation of ethnocentrism shows that cultural diversity could be the reason why some individuals lose their lives, get displaced, and experience challenges in identity formation. People may therefore deny crucial aspects of their identities because they fear victimisation.
Also, cultural diversity has formed the foundation for the development of negative stereotypes which can affect people’s chances in life detrimentally. For example, if an individual goes to look for a job in a place where those who are in charge of hiring make wrong links between their culture, and their productivity or trustworthiness, that individual may not get a job. Consequently, such an individual may not get the chance to advance or contribute to the society’s development meaningfully and to their full potential.
In conclusion, the discussion above demonstrates that cultural diversity has had both positive and negative effects on society. These effects call into focus the need to improve understandings of cultural diversity, the need to support the realisation of desirable outcomes, and the need to limit the evolution of undesirable outcomes. Cultural diversity is a feature of society that cannot be eliminated or wished away. Therefore, governments, and other stakeholders should work together to mitigate the negative impact of cultural diversity.