Introduction and Purpose
Human beings, learn, modify, and adapt to their cultures. Their culture helps them comprehend and make sense of themselves as individuals and members of various groups. Cultures predispose individuals to develop perspectives, make assumptions, create ideas, and behave in particular ways. Cultures are similar in how they influence individuals but they differ in the specifics of their influence. All cultures have systems of knowledge, values, traditions, and beliefs; yet the specifics of each may vary widely. Each cultural system is also unique. Cultures and systems within cultures are dynamic, ever-changing, and highly influential on the thoughts and actions of those who belong to them.
In a democratic and culturally diverse society, students need to comprehend multiple perspectives that emerge from within their own culture and from the vantage points of the diverse cultural groups within that society. These understandings allow them to make sense of the actions, ideas, and products of others as well as to relate to and interact with people within their diverse society and throughout the world.
Cultural diversity is a fact in every modern-day society and few nations or empires in the past were void of such diversity. The challenge of all people is, wherever and whenever possible, to consider the strengths and advantages that this diversity offers to the society in general, and to their own growth as a human being in particular. This consideration is especially important in societies that value human rights, the principles of democracy and equity, and the notion that individuals should act to promote the public good.