Contemporay Issues in Education

Cultural Difference and Identity

saling-melengkapi-300x204The phenomenon of “a deaf lesbian couple in the United States deliberately creating a deaf child” is for me really a quite complex case, and I still think it hard to find the real reasons behind that proposal. Of course, it raises a number of pro and counter-arguments, but I try to be neutral when talking about this issue. Personally speaking, the country where I belong to traditionally has many taboos in terms of what others, -especially people from developed countries-, do even though it is actually a sophisticated breakthrough. They mostly believe in what is taught from generation to generation without willingly criticizing, so if we find people doing something differently or anti-mainstream, albeit it actually does not harm others, they will still be discarded. Same here, in this case, it would seem to me that it will not happen in Indonesia because many sectors will get involved to reject it. However, in the global perspectives, we respect the differences and other people’s rights to decide what is best for their own lives, and the advent of technology makes people’s impossible vision possible.

Educationally speaking, the collective knowledge has so far united us from many various socio-cultural backgrounds all around the world into one global community although for sure we are all basically different. “The world’s increasing globalization requires more interaction among people from diverse backgrounds” (Green et. al 2002, p. 1). Many multiple studies suggest that cultural difference increases creativity through which humans improve their life (Green et. al. 2002; FECCA*, 2013; Homlgren & Jonsson, 2013). Education, knowledge and technologies, advancing all aspects of humans’ life, play important roles in eliminating differences. In general, being knowledgeable and educated widens our horizon, which leads to the more understanding to one another. We will also be expected to be wiser and open-minded in the global perspectives when seeing differences and eventually to blend and to create a new single culture. However, despite having benefitted humans, those three correlated domains seem also to bring drawbacks. In many cases, the effort to eliminate differences leads to the lost original identity. In order to respect diversity and tolerate others, people sometimes avoid their own belief and norms, and this is not a wise decision. The loss of cultures is of the proof that people are not able to survive and balance between their own personal way of life and globalisation. Moreover, technology has nowadays been deified replacing what has been believed for hundred and thousand years. We finally hope that education can solve the problems as Inglis (2008) states that there are two different purposes of education conventionally; besides preserving peoples’ norms and cultures, it should also transform the society. Thus, this basic and fundamental principle is the one that we should understand when dealing with diversity.

 *Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia

 

Reference List

FECCA (2013) Delivering the diversity dividend. Retrieved from http://fecca.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/factsheet-8-maximising-the-value-of-cultural-diversity1.pdf

Green et. al. (2002) Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools. University of Florida, Florida. Retrieved from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HR/HR02200.pdf

Homlgren & Jonsson (2013) Cultural diversity in organizations, A study on the view and management on cultural diversity. Umeå School of Business and Economics. Retrieved from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:634168/FULLTEXT01.pdf

Savulescu, J. (2002) Deaf lesbians, “designer disability,” and the future of medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1124279/

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