Sharing Common Ground

What cultures know about common sense are usually only relevant to their specific culture or community. Obviously, this is not to say this applies to everyone, but it is more of a generalization of common cultures. People are afraid to step outside of their own bubbles. Though this is understandable, it is something that needs to be overcome by the majority. If we continue to only immerse ourselves in one type of culture or community, how are we supposed to be well-rounded individuals?

Being a first-born generation in America, while my parents and majority of family were born and raised in Italy, I feel that I have had an advantage of exposure to a different type of culture. As I currently still have family in Italy, I feel I am able to gain a greater perspective on certain aspects. Even though in my past, I did not go to Italy regularly, I still feel that because of my parents, I have been at an advantage socially. My mother is very much in her own Italian culture, while my father always will as well, but he has been educated much more than my mother. Since he came to America when he was 13, he was able to attend school and college for some time, but my mom came to America at age 20 and she did not end up going to college. This is not to conclude that she is not a well-rounded individual.

I can relate to a reference of Dalai Lama that the authors made. I am someone who believes in more of a universal approach to things. When religion becomes a factor into conflicts, there is always going to be a push and pull, in my opinion. People are brought up in different ways and life styles that they become extremely accustom to, and do not want to let go of their experiences. This is the one thing we do have to let go of, though. I feel that if you don’t let go of the way you think or how you perceive something, how do you figure out someone else’s perspective on this? I am not saying that you have to disregard your perception from your own experiences, but to just pause and take a step back. Recognize your perspective, and then try to take it in a whole new way, by letting somebody else explain how they ‘see it’ to you.

As the authors stated, “Because shared cultural elements are felt deeply and often held unconsciously, they exert powerful pressure toward unity, cohesion, and community.” (Page 222). I believe this is extremely important when it comes to sharing your own culture with another person’s culture, which may be similar in some ways, as well as very different. I think this is important because I have strong beliefs that this type of mutual understanding between different cultures can lead to unity and a sense of whole communities.

The authors defines moral exclusion as, “outside the boundary in which moral values, rules and considerations of fairness apply.” (Page 230). My question is, how do you determine concretely that somebody is to be morally excluded? I know that this has to do with different degrees of rightness and wrongness, but sometimes things can get foggy. Some people would find it alright to morally exclude someone because they believe in a different religion. Though, is this moral in itself? I wouldn’t think so. I believe that open-mindedness, patience, and experience are of essence to becoming well-rounded.

Ethics in Human Communication, Sixth Edition. Authors:
Richard L. Johannesen, Kathleen S. Valde, Karen E. Whedbee


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