Not all cultures are alike. It’s not racist to say so
There is a presumption that all cultures resemble our culture, with the same hopes, aspirations, norms and rules. The arrogance of this view emerges through the idea that our values are universal. This argument, commonly held by the left, sees Western European history and its roots in Christianity as inconsequential. Instead, the human rights movement that went global in the 20th century is somehow regarded as common to all peoples and nations.
Any view of human rights that doesn’t fit the Western narrative, from the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam that was supported by Muslim states, to the Bangkok Declaration representing Asian values, is simply ignored. Instead, Western values are thought to be universal values and any effort to identify distinction is side-stepped or critiqued as racist.
This approach is dangerous because presuming that all societies operate within the same moral code and aspire to the same goals leaves Australia unprepared for the challenges that Germany faces today – maintaining social cohesion, countering economic disenfranchisement and responding to radicalisation.
That is why we have to accept that recognising and discussing differences between cultures is not racism, and that we need to have these discussions before circumstances dictate the outcome.
Culture matters. This wilful blindness about cultural difference must end, and with it the shut-up screams of “racist!”.