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Benefits Of Ethnic Diversity

What are the advantages of having different racial or ethnic groups in a community?

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Globalization has inevitably brought people of diverse backgrounds to a common geographical space and this is unlikely to revert. Such diversity, spread across racial, religious and cultural lines, has its merits as well as limitations. Some of the advantages include;

Society cohesion

People of different cultural or racial backgrounds can interact and get to learn and appreciate each others’ uniqueness hence fostering tolerance and peaceful coexistence. The peaceful coexistence allows each group to maintain its identity giving rise to societies free of discrimination and conflict. Countries such as Switzerland and Indonesia are renowned for the peaceful coexistence of multi-ethnic groups

Cultural resource

With each group maintaining its identity and practices, multi-ethnic societies offer a wealthy pool of culture. Individuals get to learn about others way of life and even exchange some practices. Cultural aspects such as art, music and cuisine have become tourist attractions in culturally rich countries such as Madagascar.

Economic development

People from different backgrounds have different things to offer in terms of ideas, experiences and expertise. In the US for instance, the inflow of immigrants such as high achieving scholars, engineers and other highly skilled professionals create conducive environment for competition, innovation, efficacy as well as productivity, key elements in any economy.

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There are two major benefits to having racial and ethnic diversity in a community.

First, a racially and ethnically diverse community is one that is better positioned to succeed in a globalized economy.  The world’s economy today is becoming more and more interconnected.  This means that people of different races and ethnicities will have to interact with one another more and more.  Members of a racially and ethnically diverse society are better prepared to deal with such interactions.  They are already used to interacting with people who are different than they are.  This means they will be better prepared to function in the globalized world.

Second, a diverse community is arguably stronger than a homogeneous society.  A diverse society has people who have many different ideas and beliefs.  This means that ideas and attitudes are constantly being challenged.  People are constantly being exposed to different ideas.  As they think about those ideas, they take the ones that seem best to them.  In such a society, people get to choose the best aspects of various cultural attitudes instead of having no choice but to embrace the traditional attitudes of their own culture.

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What are some advantages of culturally diverse society?

A society that exhibits cultural diversity has advantages that are quantitative as well as qualitative. 

The quantitative advantage can been seen when studying cultures that have tried to stay isolated. In the United States, one of the most striking examples of the health risks of cultural isolation can be found in Amish communities. Because the Amish strive to keep their culture uniform and avoid cultural diversity, "founder effect" increases the chances of genetic abnormalities in Amish communities. The lack of cultural diversity can be literally a matter of life and death. The goal of Amish cultural isolation is to keep the culture strong...

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by not diluting it, but the results of such isolation produce the opposite effect within the isolated community. Furthermore, since 10-20% of each generation of Amish leave their isolated communities, these genetic mutations and abnormalities do not solely affect the isolated culture. An advantage of cultural diversity can be quantitatively shown through the study of its converse, cultural isolation.

By definition, qualitative advantages are more difficult to prove, but one of the greatest advantages of cultural diversity can be found in the understanding that a greater pool of opinions, experiences, and cultures will produce solutions, innovations, and outcomes that benefit the greatest number of people. Being able to draw on multiple sources of art, government, craftsmanship, folklore, and history can provide new avenues of conflict mediation—a definite positive in a global society. Cultural diversity helps people focus on common needs and goals while acknowledging there could be multiple paths to the same end result. Cultural diversity can—interestingly enough—help people focus on what they have in common even while noting differences. 

Both quantitatively and qualitatively, it is not an exaggeration to say the advantages of cultural diversity can affect the population in a positive way.

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What are the advantages to being a part of a diverse community?

Diversity in a community can bring serious difficulties, but it can also be a source of benefits.

Diversity in a community can cause tensions.  People of different backgrounds with different values have to find a way to get along.  People who may see each other as fundamentally different must act as part of a single community.  Our history (and our present) in the US shows us that this can be problematic.

However, we can also argue that living in a diverse community is good for us.  First, the world as a whole is a diverse place.  As the world’s economy and society become more globalized, living in a diverse community can be good for us.  It gets us ready to deal with people who are different from us.  Second, living in a diverse community makes us more aware of different possibilities and it makes us more aware that our way is not the only possible way.  When we live in homogeneous communities, we can become complacent about our ways and convinced that we are right and everyone else is wrong.  This makes us intellectually narrow.  By living in a diverse community, we are exposed to different ways and forced to broaden our outlook on life.

Thus, living in a diverse community brings benefits even though it can be difficult at times.

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