What is universality? How would I best define westernization? And most importantly how are they similar? Might they be the same?
Judith N Martin and Thomas K. Nakayama in the their book ‘Intercultural Communication in Contexts’ define universalists as a people who believe that cultural differences are superficial and that fundamental beliefs of right and wrong should be universal. The best definition I found to accurately describe westernization in this context is the adoption of the practices and culture of Europe by societies and countries in other parts of the world.
Claiming that there should be a mutual understanding of what is right and wrong globally is an impossible notion simply because the people of the world are different. We come from different cultural backgrounds and we follow different religions some people are atheists, all this factors determine our views on what is right and what is wrong. Something that might be acceptable to me maybe a taboo or sin to another person and vice versa.
A controversial opinion that I hold is universalism is majorly based on the culture and beliefs of the western world. Why? I would look at the people or organizations that define what should be universally acceptable and ask how many Africans or African countries actually have a say? And if they do are they taken into consideration? Why is it that what is acceptable to the west is imposed on all of us?
A good example can be polygamy, most African cultures practice polygamy and accept is as an okay thing, but in the US it is illegal in all 50 states. Another example can be homosexuality which is legal in most if not all countries in Europe yet. half the countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws against it. Something that is acceptable and practiced by certain people is actually against the law somewhere else. This goes to show that it is impossible to have a mutual understanding on what is right and wrong.
In conclusion asking people to sacrifice their cultures and beliefs without thinking about the consequences and focusing instead on having a mutual understanding of laws does not make any sense to me. I believe being proud of our heritage and identity and abiding by our customs and religion is not something to regret it’s something to which we should all aspire to do and sometimes it’s the only thing we should be proud of, the only thing that we have done right.