Cultural awareness is the recognition and acceptance that people are all shaped by each ones own unique and specific cultural backgrounds (Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing [CCDA], 2006). Cultural awareness is the sensitivity and respect for cultural diversity or the fact that people from various cultures have different values, beliefs and traditions. Different histories and traditions result in culturally-prescribed particulars on how people should perceive and relate with other people.
A person is culturally aware when he or she celebrates the worlds colorful cultural richness and assortment instead of discriminating against other cultures, especially against minorities. Cultural awareness is being able to see through the lens of another culture and the openness to understand another culture instead of simply labeling it weird or wrong in view of ones own culture. Having cultural awareness is essential in facing the technology-dependent worlds unseen cultural challenges.
One technological development that has been very beneficial for people is the Internet. Through the Internet, people can communicate and share information regardless of time and distance. It has even allowed for the existence of virtual classrooms or online education wherein one can share classes without any physical meeting. Technology has brought people closer; however, the fact the no one can see and determine the race or background of other people lays a hidden trap.
Without knowing that they are talking to someone from another cultural background, people can easily alienate others and be called a racist because of their insensitivity to another. Being culturally aware, having the capacity to understand and appreciate the rich cultural diversity, is thus essential for the success of this computer-mediated communication because it increases ones sensitivity to the non-physical and non-vocal communication styles of people.
Cultural awareness keeps one from making generalizations and informs one about appropriate communication styles (CCDA, 2006). Finally, cultural awareness generally promotes an atmosphere of respect for everyone regardless of culture. References Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing. (2006). Cultural awareness. Retrieved March 13, 2009 from http://www. culturaldiversity. com. au/Default. aspx? tabid=81