What Does Cultural Bias Mean?

Cultural bias is the tendency for people to judge the outside world through a narrow view based on their own culture.

The world has millions of people belonging to diverse cultural backgrounds. These people have different beliefs, food habits, art forms, and values. Since ancient times, they have interacted with each other and exchanged ideas. However, sometimes people turn hostile because of their cultural prejudices. Cultural bias is this tendency of judging the other person based on his/her cultural standards. It is a major hindrance in performing a cross-cultural research. A culturally biased person ignores the differences existing between his culture and those of others. Cultural bias can stereotype a culture. When a person says his culture is superior to others, he is undoubtedly culturally biased. Such a person never appreciates cultural diversity.

Practical implications

Cultural bias finds plenty of practical implications like in judicial decision-making, in employee perception in the workplace, in imparting education in classrooms, in giving health care, in the media, and in many other areas. It also has a profound impact on the mannerism and speech of a culturally biased person. For example, a judge while giving away a judgment knowingly or unknowingly has a specific feeling towards a party based on his or her cultural standards. This influence affects his or her verdict.

Need of Cultural Competency

Sometimes people of dominant cultures exhibit the behavior of cultural bias. From the colonial era till World War II, British culture was the most influential one in the world. Later, the US culture became more supreme. This fact is evident from its expression in movies, video games, websites, music, literature, and other fields. Due to globalization, people of the different cultures are crossing each others' paths, more often during traveling, at the workplace, etc. While some people appreciate the diversity existing between their culture and that of another person, there are also exists a section of individuals who look down upon the cultures of other people. For example, while burping after eating food is acceptable in Indian culture, it is looked as an offensive act in the Japanese culture. It is high time that people learn about different cultures to have a thorough understanding of the same and thus achieve cultural competency. This open attitude is necessary for educators, healthcare givers, attorneys, organizations and all others for living in a cross-cultural world without any emotional or physical conflict. Most organizations have their presence in multiple countries and have business relations with people of different cultural groups. So, even for a successful business, cultural competency is the demand.

Steps to minimize cultural bias

If one achieves cultural competency, the cultural bias will minimize itself. However, one can follow some steps to get the desired results. The foremost of which is building awareness about the beliefs, attitudes, and thought patterns of people of other cultures. Many corporations are now conducting training on cross-cultural communication for their workforce. In the US, opinions of cultural experts are invited before taking a judicial decision. In short, every person or organization can take small steps to minimize this bias.

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