The increasing integration of people in the world has been rampant in the recent years. As people come together either for social or economic reasons, there has been a debate on whether the different people who have different cultural backgrounds can co-exist without difficulties (Fukuyama, 2006). This is true and conflicts have always arisen due to the difference in their cultures. Language for instance has been termed as the most pronounced factor that lead to differentiation in line with culture. People have engaged in fights and major conflicts, which shows the intensity of the differences among people. However, these differences can be bridged and a better playing ground laid to ensure that there is co-existence (Fukuyama, 2006).
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Cultural differences are often experienced in workplaces, social places, worship places among many others. Since every culture has its definition and outline on how certain processes should be carried out, people often find it hard to coexist. As Ehala (2008) notes, one of the main conflicts results from the assumption by the majority cultures that they can dominate the minority cultures and assimilate them in their own culture. Most people respect their culture and rarely wish to leave their culture for a new one and this becomes a source of cultural conflicts. Berry (1997) developed a model that was aimed at acculturation and assimilation and integration of the small cultures by the larger ones. This model was further developed by Bourhis, Giles & Rosenthal (1981). However, their recommendations were disregarded.
Secondly, different groups compete on the basis of their cultural, political, demographic and even economic strength (Ehala & Nigals, 2008). This mode of differentiation is known as cultural mass. People compete for resources and their place in the society and with the increasing economic stress, there has been many conflicts that have arisen from this. This has led to the conflicts as every cultural group tries to outdo their rest (Bourhis, Giles & Rosenthal, 1981).
Intergroup distance refers to the total differences between the various cultural groups within a society. Such include religion, language, gender roles, clothing, governance structure among others. When the intergroup distance is higher, there is less possibility of coexistence because there are many causes of differences (Ehala, 2008). When the distance is small, the people have a fairly easier time in co-existence. Today, people are moving into any culture and try to thrive there. The result is that the intergroup distance is increasing since more people from different cultural backgrounds are coming together (Tajfel & Turner, 1979).
Utilitarianism refers to the attitude by the people that the people who benefit the community most are the most important (Ehala & Nigals, 2008). There are many cases where some people tend to forget their culture and follow the paths that would benefit them at the individual levels. When a person interferes with the cultural processes of other cultural groups during the utilitarianism, they are considered harmful to that culture, arising conflicts (Chirkov, Lynch & Niwa, 2005).
Some people have always argued that there can be co-existence between cultures. They cite issues such as globalization and the law which keeps everyone at par (Chirkov, Lynch & Niwa, 2005). However, they forget that most laws recognize the cultural backgrounds of the people and that globalization in most cases is treated as a strictly official affair where the cultural differences are highly controlled.
Over the years, we have witnessed civil wars where groups that feel marginalized resolve to rebel. The war in the middle east between the US government and Afghanistan has always been brought by the differences in culture and beliefs. This is a very good example that can be used to show the extent of the cultural differences. Further, there have been civil wars in Syria and the Arab Spring that was witnessed which are all a sign of rebellion. Other examples include African countries such as Nigeria who fight on the basis of their religion and the 1994 Rwanda genocide that was instigated by tribal affiliations (Chirkov, Lynch & Niwa, 2005).
From the evidence provided above, it is clear that people from different cultures can hardly co-exist (Ehala, 2008). There has to arise some conflicts instigated by their differences. Those opposed to the view cannot deny that though we co-exist today, there are many factors that have to be upheld and most notably the rule of law that has been adopted in most countries. Many constitutions have passed their bill of rights for their citizens but this does not stop people from creating their identity. Unless culture is killed completely, a universal language put in place, it is hard for these differences to fade.
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