American culture is ever evolving, but, is becoming increasingly self-centered. As a society, we view outsiders and other cultures as being less than our way of life. As we grow into this individualistic society, we lose the benefits, and quite frankly the incredible diversity, which comes with sharing life with people of other cultures. It’s this loss of the communal sharing of life that hurts our nation in the long run.
Our societal past has been riddled with the “conform or else” way of thinking. From the time of our arrival in this land, we sought the expansion of our land ownership and our manifest destiny. When the indigenous peoples proved to be a roadblock to our expansion efforts, we forced bison to the brink of extinction in order to force those peoples onto reservations where we would provide for them, if they played by our rules. Never mind the fact that they were here first.
Fast forward several hundred years and you find yourself amid the modern political climate where our leaders find it acceptable to do away with protections for immigrants from “shithole” countries.
Are we doomed to self-centered self-destruction or is there something we can do to avert our demise? Maybe.
The 195 countries in the world today are home to countless cultures, societies, religions and people groups. It’s time we look at these diverse cultures with respect and dignity. For example, Japanese culture revolves heavily around respect and thinking of others. The Japanese culture puts others first and self second. It’s in the little things like the way a food stall owner serves you with a smile, to the way everyone lines up on the right to stand on an escalator so that others, who are in a hurry, can pass on the left. While there are small pockets of this happening around the US, this “others first” mentality is one we could stand to adopt on a grand scale.
We, the Ranger staff, challenge you to start effecting change in your community. The best way to learn anything is by experiencing it. We challenge you to find someone from a different culture and spend some dedicated time learning about who he or she is at his at her core and what makes him or her unique. You could even try living with an immigrant family or visit their country of origin. Each interaction is an opportunity to learn and grow.