Cultural understanding forms the basis of communication and entails the ability to suppress our emotions to be informed of our cultural values

February 17, 2019 Critical Thinking

Cultural understanding forms the basis of communication and entails the ability to suppress our emotions to be informed of our cultural values, perceptions and beliefs and that of others. Understanding strange cultures have posed a great challenge to the majority of the people due to morality issues alienated to some aspects of such cultures. Understanding strange cultures in the past entailed alluding and believing in personal views and ego of missionaries and anthropologists. Those that are still pertinent to this form forbid other peoples culture due to the respect and tolerance that they have for their system yet they don’t understand the culture at tertiary level. It is unethical to give opinions on cultures that we don’t understand since it is detrimental to the societal unity.
Criticizing a strange culture that one does not understand at tertiary level poses a great barrier to societal integration and harmonious coexistence. This makes the individuals of such communities offended for they may feel deprived of the sense of belonging. Most cultures are criticized on the basis of moral judgments. Both implicit and explicit social norms guides characters and behaviors of individual and therefore cannot be forced on an individual. From childhood throughout life, different people from different sociocultural backgrounds adapt to prevailing social expectations and requirements of the societies under which they develop. It is therefore fundamental to understand that every human culture has a critical aspect of moral judgment and are an attempt by a stranger to criticizing an aspect of a particular culture may provoke a society that believes in it.
Most cultures are masterminds of community ancestors and any attempt by a stranger to give a negative opinion is usually viewed as disrespect to ancestors and thoughts of society as a whole. This, in turn, stimulates ethnic clashes leading to genocides and loss of property. Before any form of critics, humans need to understand that they are not members of any culture except their own and develop a respectful attitude towards other cultures.
According to Midgley, moral isolationists believe that it is not possible to judge other people’s culture from a moral point of view. However, she considers inconsistency among the moral isolationists because it is impossible to believe that other people will judge our culture from the moral point of view. Moral isolationists are of the opinion that even we fail other people’s culture from the moral point of view, they will respond by judging other people culture from a moral point of view. This is what Midgley considers as inconsistency. Culture defines the values and practices of a particular people. Culture is such an important aspect of the society that we should never judge. It determines the moral fabric of society, and if we cannot judge it from the moral point of view, then we disregard the values and practices of such a community.
Midgley is also critical of her opinion. She argues that moral judgment is intrinsic nature of human beings. People will tend to find a contradicting issue concerning a particular culture that would often require some sense of moral judgment. She points out that intercultural criticism is healthy because if it is banned, there will be no basis for condemning the practices of other people. The cultures of different societies hold the same principles. There is a particular reason why people value their cultures and adore them in special ways. For instance, some African societies practice female circumcision, and the practice has been criticized for several reasons by other cultures. Many cultures consider female circumcision as immoral and detrimental to the health of ladies, especially during birth. There is a particular reason why Africans hold dearly to this culture, and it should not be judged on the basis of immorality and health issues. There must be an underlying principle that guides the morality of Africans to consider such a culture. The Chinese Cultural Revolution also holds the same principles just like the African circumcision. However, it is not forced upon us to judge other people based on their culture. Judging other people’s culture makes it possible to understand the underlying principles behind such behaviors which contribute to mutual respect and understanding. If we judge and understand other people’s culture, then there is a possibility that we can agree with their beliefs and values and develop respect for such cultures.
In addition, giving opinions on strange cultures makes other people develop a negative attitude towards the culture on the basis of personal perception. It stimulates isolation barrier among the societies with different cultures. This leads to complete inability to make moral judgments on cultural aspects and is against the perception of anthropologies and missionaries. Other people’s opinion may be limited as it does not entail the full understanding of strange cultures at a cellular level. The negative attitude developed may result in hatred on a particular society due to its cultural norms. Some people believe that it is a respectful attitude to fail to judge other people culture. However, it is not right at all not to understand other people’s culture. Therefore, moral judgment makes it possible to understand a particular culture to promote respect. We cannot respect individual beliefs and attitudes if they are inconsistent with our understanding. As such, it is valuable to understand people in their culture to enhance valuable thinking and promote respect and tolerance.
Moral isolationism holds that we cannot criticize a culture that we don’t belong to. We cannot criticize such cultures because we don’t understand the values and customs of that particular community or society. However, we can make opinions concerning other people’s culture, but moral isolationism bars people from making opinions which are not too good. There exceptions to moral isolationism because it prohibits people from criticizing cultures that they believe are immoral. For instance, the custom of tsujigiri that Midgley has discussed requires one to take another person’s life since it is a way of practicing for an individual to take part in a war. This culture is considered as immoral because life is sacred and only God has the powers to take it away because he is the sole provider of life. In this case, it is necessary to question or criticize a particular culture if we consider it as immoral. Since we all know that moral isolationism prevents us from criticizing other people’s cultures, I think it should not apply to all cultures especially those that we tend to believe are immoral. I think that we should be free to question or criticize a particular culture if we have facts concerning them. But we should never be quick to criticize a specific culture if we don’t have the facts at our disposal.