How To Deal With Race And Cultural Differences In Neighborhood


The United States is considered one of the most diverse countries in the world. The country hosts residents of different cultures and races. Some places are regarded as White neighborhoods, while others are seen as Black or Latin neighborhoods.

Attempting to move to a black neighborhood may raise eyebrows to people of your culture or race and vice versa. However, becoming fully segregated today is impossible, thanks to today’s globalization.

Living in a diverse neighborhood comes with numerous advantages. For instance, a new study indicated that people living in diverse neighborhoods identify with all humanity and help others more.

If you plan to move to a diversified neighborhood or are currently living in one, here are some tips for you to navigate and live amicably with your neighbors of different cultures and races.

Be Welcoming To Everyone

Diversity within a neighborhood can only be promoted if the residents accept one another and willingly take in people of different races or cultures. Everyone should feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in the community.

Always strive to welcome every neighbor and treat them without any form of biasness. Every member of the community also needs to understand that their culture is important and acceptable to others.

Every neighbor should feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. Source: lumenlearning.com

Do Not Generalize Any Cultural Or Racial Group

It is common for people to have stereotypes regarding different races or cultures. A common stereotype among the black community is that they are violent and tend to involve themselves in criminal activities, while white communities are perceived as racists.

To live peacefully with others in a diverse neighborhood, avoid stereotyping people, and treating an individual’s characteristics as that of a group. People are individuals first, followed by members of a particular group. A generalization, in most cases, will not apply to everyone.

Keeping an open mind is necessary when living in a diverse neighborhood. It is always noble to treat every neighbor with respect as individuals who have their own minds, thoughts, ideas, and preferences.

Promote Interracial And Intercultural Activities Within The Neighborhood

Neighborhoods that embrace diversity are those whose members celebrate different diversities through creating events and programs that allow interracial and intercultural contact and engagement.

For example, Sacramento, California, a city regarded as one of the most diverse areas in the U.S., formed the Department of Multicultural Affairs in 2001, intending to bring diverse visitors within the area.

Other American neighborhoods could also embrace such initiatives. This could be done by creating festivals dedicated to the diverse cultures and races within the neighborhoods.

Proudly Embrace Your Race And Culture

This should be the first step for every neighborhood trying to accept each other’s diversity. Be proud of your own race and culture since they are some of the factors that make us unique and special.

When we become ashamed of our own culture and race, we begin formulating those of other people and lose our sense of identity. How will you expect people to respect and accept you if you don’t respect and accept yourself?

It is from our cultures that we learn how to communicate, relate with others, and even eat our foods. When we embrace our own race and culture, we subconsciously tell other people within our neighborhoods that it is okay to be proud of their diversities too.

Learn About Other Peoples’ Race And Culture

Learning is a never-ending process. We are all students of life. When we learn about other people’s diversities, we develop empathy and try to view things from their own perspectives.

Read books with different views written at different times and introduce your family to the reading culture, particularly children. When we read, we get tremendous knowledge about other people’s diversities. This will enable us to live peacefully and acknowledge our differences within the neighborhoods.

Our children will also understand the perspectives of their friends’ families and know that despite having different cultures and races, they are still one and can therefore live harmoniously.

Choose What You Read And Watch On The Media Wisely

The world has become one global village; with just one click, we can know what is trending on the furthest end of the globe. Within a minute, we can watch the news on YouTube, connect with different groups on Facebook, or read our favorite blog.

Pay close attention to what you read or watch on social media. There are multiple cases of racial prejudice, police brutality, and social injustices, which can make us generate hatred for different races and cultures within our neighborhoods.

Avoid watching programs or reading articles that tend to generalize a group’s characteristics in terms of race, religion, culture, or social groups, among others. Instead, dedicate your time on social media to those stories and activities that reflect your values and build on your empathy and understanding of diversity.

Offer Help Within Your Neighborhood

One way to encourage diversity is through lending a hand during community projects or activities. For instance, you could offer to volunteer to serve food in a homeless shelter or make regular visits to a nursing home. Such activities will strengthen the friendship bonds between neighbors, regardless of their racial or cultural diversity.

In addition, it is through these activities that you will get to know and understand your neighbors on a deeper level. Diversity can only be embraced if we get to know and appreciate those of us with different races, cultures, ages, ethnicities, social classes, and so on.

Attempt Something New

We can only grow when we are out of our comfort zones. Trying new things beyond our norms will allow us to develop an understanding and empathy for others.

For instance, we could visit a play performed by students of different cultures within the neighborhood, visit a different religious service, or even attend a concert with people of racial and cultural differences.

You could also visit other neighborhoods and observe their cultures, eat their foods, attend community events, volunteer, and dedicate some time to help carry out tasks. This will allow you to appreciate different cultures and know how to live together harmoniously.

Communicate Effectively And In A Sensitive Manner

Your words can make or break a person; it is, therefore, advisable to choose your words wisely, especially in a cultural and racial sensitive area. What you say may not necessarily imply the same thing in an area with people of different cultures and races.

For instance, slang words have varying meanings depending on the areas they are used. Therefore, you should avoid using them altogether unless you are certain that the people you are communicating with will clearly understand what you mean.

Avoid using expressions or slang words that you believe are popular in the cultural or racial group of the people you are talking to.

In addition, with the varying body languages among different cultures, do not use strong gestures and expressions that may be interpreted by other neighbors.

Acknowledge The Differences Among Your Neighbors

It is noble to avoid stereotyping. However, some neighbors go beyond the extremes and try to avoid seeing the differences present among people.

This should not be the case since we are all unique and different in our own ways. Refusing to accept our differences will create resentment since other neighbors will feel ignored and unappreciated in the community.

Instead, we should learn to accept our neighbors and understand that they may have different values, backgrounds, perspectives, and races from us. It is only through this that we will live together in peace and harmony.

Always Try To Compromise

The more diverse a neighborhood is the higher chances of it experiencing cultural and racial clashes. Sometimes a simple aspect as what foods should be eaten can cause indifferences and destroy everyone’s mood.

When dealing with a diverse neighborhood, it is necessary to tread carefully and understand that not all discussions will end with a common ground. Sometimes you need to know that how you view some aspects will differ from how someone else will.

Staying in a diverse neighborhood boils down to finding a middle ground, showing respect for other people’s opinions, and trying to come up to an agreement. On the positive side, having different views within a neighborhood is good since everyone brings a new idea and point of view to the table.

Treat All The Neighbors Equally

Despite our uniqueness, most of us, at some point, have been oppressed or mistreated because of our race or cultural differences.

Suppose we ignore the indifferences between our neighbors; we may fail to understand their needs. Sometimes we assume that acknowledging our differences will divide us and push us further.

On the contrary, learning about our neighbors’ differences and diversities may actually bring us together since it will show the essential parts of one another’s lives. Knowing these differences may show us how much in common we may have as human beings.

Living in a neighborhood with people of diverse cultures and races may be challenging. Fortunately, there are several strategies we could use to live together in peace, love, and acceptance. We believe that these tips will help you in creating a healthier diverse neighborhood. CWP

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References

Brownlee, T. (n.d.). Chapter 27. Working together for racial justice and inclusion | Section 8. Multicultural collaboration | Main section | Community tool box. Community Tool Box. https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/culture/cultural-competence/multicultural-collaboration/main

Jacobs, T. (2018, April 19). Are people kinder in racially diverse neighborhoods? Greater Good. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/are_people_kinder_in_racially_diverse_neighborhoods

Petrie, S. (2015, April 30). What it’s like to live in a multicultural neighborhood. GAC. https://www.greatamericancountry.com/places/local-life/living-in-a-multicultural-neighborhood

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