Culture and Identity





Culture and Identity

Cultural relativism refers to the human beliefs and accepted activities understood and comprehended by others in terms of the individual’s culture. In the two articles, culture relativism is described by the backdrop of two incidents with a resonating aspect on humanity, rights, and identity of the people concerned. In The Limits of Tolerance by Randy, the article refers to the case where an innocent seventeen-year-old Pakistani girl was flogged in the public for being seen outdoors with a man other than her father. In defense of the punishment leveled against her, the cultural identity towards the strict Shariah Law conformed to the action. The author questions on the relevance of culture towards gender discrimination. In No, Sexual Violence is not Cultural by Lisa Shannon, the rape ordeal in Congo is articulated. She states that the practice of rape is a weapon of choice by the militia following the violence and war-ravaged period. In the article, she distances the identity of culture permitting rape as a practice and calls it a matter of choice.

            Globalization of culture and identity requires the general acceptance and commitment towards promotion of humanitarian values. Such an aspect is regardless of ethnic backgrounds, cultural upbringing and standard practices. For example, in randy’s response, the promotion of cultural values through the Islamic law provided for the discrimination of the women according to gender. In fact, Randy states that some of the women blame the Taliban for imposing stricter, harsher, and inhuman regulations as compared to the Islamic kind. Similarly, Shannon encounters the accepted generalization of rape as cultural to the people of Congo, despite its non-existence before the breakout of civil wars. In both articles, the differential acceptance as to the need to stick to culture at the expense of humanity as means to preserve identity does not resonate with the globalization need.

            The most provoking aspects of the two articles were the extent to which humanitarian values were discarded for the sole purpose of preserving cultural identity. In the first example, a seventeen year old girl was restricted the freedom of movement due to the Islamic law. She had to be accompanied by her husband if married or father if she had not been in marriage. On the other hand, the male counterparts were not oppressed in any manner due to their gender. Similarly, in the Congo case, due to the level of impunity and extent of the atrocities, rape was considered an acceptable occurrence by the people without necessarily characterizing it as a matter of choice and weapon by the militia.

            I agree with both authors as concerns the needs of humanitarian values being upheld despite culture and its identity on different races, gender, ethnicities, and backgrounds. In the present world, all humans should be treated in a similar manner without discrimination. Of importance is the call for respect to humanitarian values and protection of freedom at all costs. There needs to be more actions taken and policies instituted aimed at preserving the humanitarian rights and values across the global front despite the diversity. As expressed through the authors, condoning of the ill practices can be both directly and indirectly as it affects everyone. For example, use of raw materials from the war-torn areas to manufacture essentials in the developed nations as well as limiting freedoms of people through choices that conflict with religious beliefs should be discouraged. Some discussion questions that would further the conversation would be, should culture still determine the roles, laws and punishments in society? Another one would be, has modernization really affected cultural beliefs and values?

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