Today, June 27, is Canadian Multiculturalism Day. To celebrate Burnaby and Canada’s multiculturalism, here’s what cultural literacy is, why it’s important, and how you can improve yours.
What Is Cultural Literacy?
Culture is how a group of people live, their language, arts, science, beliefs, practices, and understanding of their environment. Cultural literacy is being able to understand those traditions, activities, and histories of different groups of people. This includes engaging with them at galleries, performances, and museums.
Why Is It Important?
Our world is becoming a global society more and more. Burnaby, Canada, and the world are all multicultural. Did you know 54% of Burnaby residents have a primary language that’s not English or French? If everyone in the world were culturally literate, prejudice and inequality based on culture wouldn’t exist. There would be fewer conflicts over culture and more value would be placed on diversity and difference.
When you have cultural literacy, you can better understand and relate to people. You understand and accept other cultures, which lets you make stronger connections with people. More benefits include improved communication and self-reflection. All of these are essential for global citizens. Cultural literacy is needed for a harmonious multicultural society and the skills it gives are the key to a good life.
How Do I Improve My Cultural Literacy?
Learning about new cultures is the best way to improve your cultural literacy. You can research online or at the Burnaby Public Library. Visiting museums also helps, like the Burnaby Village Museum, Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre, or the SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. There’s also the Burnaby Art Gallery, Chinatown, festivals, or one of the museums nearby.
Another great resource is Culture Chats. They promote cultural diversity in BC through the arts and literacy. Culture Chats works to create a space for community members to connect across cultures. They’ve also recently published their second book! Called Evergreen Tales, it’s a collection of multicultural short stories written by authors of different cultures. You can check it out here.
More than 1 in 5 people in Canada were born in another country! Burnaby and Canada are rich with cultural diversity. Every day we meet people with different beliefs, traditions, and even languages. If we’re not culturally literate, we’re unable to fully understand and accept all these people. This leaves us unable to thrive in our society. So for today, Canadian Multiculturalism Day, go learn about another culture. Become culturally literate and lead a better life.