What is culture? When you hear the word ‘culture’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Does it differ from when you were younger?
Growing up in the 70’s, culture, to me, meant things like the opera, the ballet, museums. I had a very narrow definition of culture, largely because I was a farm kid, and my introduction to “things of culture” were books and the classical and vinyl records my mother had. As I grew older, I understood it to mean differing beliefs, traditions and ways of life among different races, religions, and countries. I discovered that even within individual countries, regions often had their own cultures.
Here in America, we’ve begun to use the word in another way, a way that doesn’t have such an enlightened meaning behind it. We use it to describe negative things, like “rape culture” or “culture of greed”. Increasingly, it’s used as a derogatory term, as if cultures other than white Christian American are somehow wrong and not worthy of even the barest understanding.
I would like to know where respect for others’ ways of life went. Was it ever really there in the first place? Or was it just lurking in the shadows until now? Something to ponder, for sure.