Don’t put culture on a pedestal…

Culture was introduced to humanity as a way of getting along with each other in a social setting. The point is if a group of people share similar values and beliefs, then it is easier for them to get along and coexist. Often culture is put on a pedestal even when it conflicts with human rights. I see this behavior among most immigrants I know who grew up in the same patriarchal culture and society that I grew up in. A few thoughts have been brewing in my head related to this:

It’s not okay to mistreat people in the name of culture.

It’s not okay to expect people (women or children or otherwise) to put up with mistreatment in the name of culture.

It’s not okay to witness other people being mistreated in the name of culture and not raise your voice. In this case you are not being neutral, you are taking the side of the oppressor.

It’s not okay to stifle the voices of the people who are at the lower end of the hierarchy and expect them to be obedient always. Respect is not equal to obedience even if the culture equates them both.

It’s not okay to expect people to fit into molds created for them by the said culture. It’s not okay to condemn and ostracize people who do not want to fit into these molds.

It’s not okay for modern educated people who have experienced different cultures around the world to speak one thing in public but expect their loved ones to adjust and fit in within the cultural boundaries privately.

It’s not okay to condemn horrible crimes like rape publicly and even bash the government and politicians for not taking appropriate actions but then go home and mistreat your own wives and children. May be your mistreatment is not on the same scale as a rape or physical abuse but it is the mindset that you can mistreat a certain segment of the society because you are at the higher end of the hierarchy that needs to change. Besides, who is the judge of where that line should be between what is acceptable and what is not as far as mistreatment goes? Where should that line be? How is it that some forms of mistreatment are acceptable but others are not? Mistreatment is mistreatment. Period.

It’s not okay to sweep any form of mistreatment under the rug of culture.

Lets not put culture on a pedestal and proclaim ourselves to be the upholders of culture. Culture is nothing but the collective programming of the minds of a group of people. As simple as that. And mindsets need to evolve. Culture needs to evolve. Let’s all put humanity on the pedestal instead of culture and aspire to lead our lives with compassion, love and acceptance.

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