Cultural pluralism refers to the idea of small groups within a population retaining their unique cultural identities. A result of cultural pluralism is often having the group's values and beliefs accepted by more dominant cultures. Examples of this in the United States are classes in Latin Salsa dancing and Indian yoga. There are advantages and disadvantages to embracing cultural pluralism and many advocates for and against.
Preserving Traditions and Cultures
Technology has allowed humans to travel and communicate on a global level. This, in turn, has led to people spreading out from their point of origin. As small groups of people leave their native cultures and traditions behind, they learn new traditions and embrace new cultures. Over the course of generations, older and smaller cultures and traditions are being lost as a result. Embracing cultural pluralism will aid in preserving some of these cultures and traditions.
Fostering Acceptance and Understanding
Learning about and experiencing other peoples' culture and traditions can greatly improve acceptance of others. People often fear or criticise what they do not understand. By bringing the art of Chinese calligraphy to the United States or teaching Irish folk dancing in Asia, people are able to get a greater understanding of the different cultures surrounding them and will learn to embrace the differences rather than fear them.
While all cultures have their own traditions and beliefs, many cultures embrace similar beliefs. Cultural pluralism helps people find these common beliefs and traditions, which promotes acceptance and reduces fears. It also encourages people to continue to embrace their own beliefs and culture.
Encouraging Stereotypes and Prejudices
A definite disadvantage of cultural pluralism is that it could lead to increased stereotyping and prejudice. By emphasising differences, some people will choose to develop a prejudice to the differences rather than celebrate them.
Increased Violence and Terrorism
Some cultures teach their people that their beliefs are the only true beliefs. This model of thinking leads to increased violence among cultures that have completely different belief systems. Creating awareness of a society's beliefs and traditions on a global scale opens that culture up to violence that results when two cultures clash. Another result is terrorism, which, at its root, is violence intended to create fear for religious, political or ideological purposes.