Being Open Minded Or Staying Close Minded In The Cultural Conflict

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Be open-minded and educated in order to enhance the understanding of cultures and to address cultural conflict. Cultural conflict as stated in the Merriam Webster dictionary is the conflict of behavior patterns and values that results when different cultures are incompletely assimilated. To resolve this, start by researching the customs and behaviors of different cultures. This is similar to how the characters in the film “Whale Rider” by Witi Ihimaera has in their storyline. Taking the time to research or ask about another’s culture can go a long way to make the other feel comfortable. The extra effort will make the other feel appreciated. This will result in understanding why people follow these customs and exhibit these behaviors in the first place. The idea is not to create restrictions, but to build bridges and open the door to cultural differences. The best way to overcome cultural conflict is to be more open-minded and educate yourself of different cultures.

Educating yourself and being more open-minded helps you learn the different aspects of cultures to resolve cultural conflicts. In the film, “Whale Rider” by Witi Ihimaera, Pai’s resistance to assume her people’s traditional female gender roles clashes with Koro’s ideas of the masculine qualities needed for leadership. Pai educates herself about the tradition involved with her culture and rejects the gender expectations forced on her as a female. With this in mind, she denies the gendered stereotype as she constructs her own mindset as an individual and place in society as a female leader and states, “A bridge […] is not just about one set of people crossing to the other side…” (Ihimaera). Pai is being open-minded and talks about a bridge that is also about those on the other side crossing. Pai successfully creates the bridge that she described for all of her people to come together. They are able to be open-minded to share their combined knowledge and power to move forward towards their new future. Cultures are subject to constant change. As the canoe heads out to sea and the film comes to a close, Pai narrates, “I am not a prophet, but I know that our people will keep going forward, all together, with all of our strength” (Ihimaera). Pai’s introduction as chief has strengthened her people’s culture and brought the entire community together. As they stood watching Pai from shore, Nanny Flowers gives Koro the whale tooth necklace Pai had retrieved from the ocean floor. In this moment Koro was finally being more open-minded which leads to him understanding how close-minded he had been, and he now believes Pai is the chosen one to lead their people.

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Some people are in a position where they lack open mindedness meaning they are more interested in proving their way is the right way than learning something new to get their ideas challenged. However, open minded people see disagreement as a thoughtful means to expand their knowledge and realize that being right means changing their minds when someone else culture knows something they do not In the novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe, the author describes the social and cultural traits of a culture based on the principles of labor and masculinity, conformity and kinship and finally on solid juridical system. While Okonkwo was exiled, the missionaries established themselves. Their strength and economy no longer depended on Gods or yams. The white missionaries changed the balance of power. Okonkwo returned to a village divided. For instance, Okonkwo knew his culture, as he had remembered it, was finished. “He mourned for the clan [that’s] falling apart [the warlike men of Umuofia had] become soft like women.” (Achebe) Okonkwo is feeling sorrow because over the time that the missionaries have come and affected their culture, Umuofia’s men have been changed from strong tough men to soft like women. He believes they are wrong without understanding where they are coming from. This is why he needs to be more open-minded when it comes to cultural conflicts. Open-minded people want to identify where the disagreement lies so they can correct their misperceptions. Okonkwo had a cultural collision with his culture in which it showed how his culture changed him and his identity. Okonkwo was a close-minded person when it came to culture which affected his decisions and his life making him make a tragic decision to suicide.

In conclusion, being more open-minded and learning the difference between cultures is the best way to overcome cultural conflict. People are often pulled and pushed by stereotypes of different cultures. However, stereotypes don’t just appear out of nowhere. They are based on ideas and experiences with certain groups and then extended to apply to an entire group. The problem is that people do not function solely as members of a group. Only when they break these stereotypes of cultures can they describe themselves as open-minded and educated.

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