On Bridging The Divide:
Learning From Other Cultures

The "Economic Divide" is linked to the "Cultural Divide." My definition of "The Cultural Divide" is the unwillingness to socially and professionally interact with people of different cultures from your own. This divide produces economic disparities created by bias and discrimination based on race, nationality, gender, age, religion, class (status) and other differences.

Economic disparities are also produced by lack of self-motivation and mostly by the lack of knowledge. This phenomenon has been ongoing and difficult to penetrate because many people simply feel more comfortable with others who are playing in the same sand box as themselves. The overall impact is unrest, blame, fear, repression and self-defeating behavior.

Bridging the cultural divide begins with bridging the education gap. And bridging the education gap includes not only advancing academically, but it also involves progressing socially, learning life skills for transitioning into our globally diverse society, getting job training and career development insights. Since it takes a village to raise and educate a child as well as train and prepare an adult, why limit interactions to only certain villages, especially since one will eventually have to associate and work with others who’re not part of his/her group?

African Americans are still lagging behind in education, employment, entrepreneurship and economic progression. So, they should consider communicating with other Americans who are willing to mentor and provide clues to reaching goals. Consider communicating with those people born in other countries who come to America and are able to find a way to adapt, to adjust their lifestyles and grasp opportunities that are offered to them or create opportunities when they are not offered any. Many of these people are not only surviving, but actually thriving. Learn from their persistence, their perseverance. Discover how they were able to learn a foreign language, gain citizenship, get an education and/or job training, find employment or create their own businesses, maintain careers, secure homes, take care of their families, etc. Find out how they managed to beat all odds and remove or navigate around the many barriers placed before them.

The differences between one cultural group and another are often seen as things that divide. But when we’re able to see the connections that we can make by interacting with, communicating and sharing information with people whose culture is different from our own, that’s how social bridges are built, bonds are made and the harmony that everyone claims to want so badly can actually become a reality.

Actually, it's our differences that make us all special. Rather than fearing and running from the unique characteristics of another person, it would behoove us to move toward and attempt to see what lessons that individual or group of people can bring to our life and what lessons we can bring to theirs.

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This Article written by Ollie K. Mears
Owner/Founder of Mears Management
Publisher of Bronzed Connections
Article moved and Updated October 8, 2012

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