Stepping outside of the Box
Defining the line between race and culture.
I often hear in discussion people often get confused about culture and race or try to lump them together in the same class. Where race is the defining of a group of people based on physical characteristics and attributes. Where culture is founded on belief systems, traditions, values, and morals. So where a lot of people get confused is that they try to lump together a particular race with a set culture. Like all Buddhists are Asian, or all Hindus are of Indian descent etc. This is the furthest thing from the truth, wherein fact in today’s society you can be of any race and subscribe to any culture. Vice versa you can be of any culture and belong to any race.
In the past where the world was steeped in tradition this confusion would not have existed due to the strict adherence to customs. Which brings me to the next discussion what purpose does culture play in society. If we understand that race is based on physical characteristics and attributes, we understand that is immutable. This is humanity’s way of defining and categorizing his environment providing organization and structure.
Culture however is different altogether. What are the origins of culture? What purpose does it serve? Cultures are further analyzed by, geographical regions, and environmental factors. For instance the Nomads of the desert, roam to find resources, in an environment that has few. After further investigation we discover that environmental, factors, habits, mannerisms, traditions, beliefs, and values have a great influence in shaping and coalescence, into what we call culture. Cultures form over long periods of time, through continual indoctrination of the groups ideology, values and beliefs systems passed down from generation to generation. These are ultimately embodied in what we call traditions.
Culture is what gives Identity to a people, or a nation. When people have been stripped of their identity they are without a foundation, and confused to who they are and where they fit into a society. They are easily led astray along with their interests held at bay, they present not a threat nor can they be taken seriously. What are the symptoms of a people without an identity? They are absent of any leadership because they lack unity to agree on leadership. They lack respect of themselves because they have no knowledge of their true history. Because they lack knowledge of themselves they lack culture, the foundation of a people’s pride, their morals and values.
I present a simple riddle, In all of civilization can you think of any present group of people who fit this description?