70. Prof. Shalva Weil
Senior Researcher, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Cultural Sensitivity is the consideration of the Other. It means taking into account other cultures, and the acceptance of other cultural identities. This is why I became a social/cultural anthropologist.
Cultural sensitivity aims at combatting ethnocentrism, by which we examine issues through our own Western prisms. Even in a society like Israel, we have different minority groups, indigenous cultures, and immigrants from non-Western societies, like the Ethiopian Jews or Indian Jews I have studied.
Cultural Sensitivity means the acknowledgement of diversity, which is finally receiving some recognition. It matters because we can understand the ways people act as they do.
In the work I do on femicide, some of the murders of women are based on cultural patterns. If we can understand the cultural issues behind some of these femicides, we can hope to prevent others.
We should welcome immigrants by showing them that we care about their cultures. If they wish to abandon certain traits, they can, but we don’t have to force them to change names, dress or rituals. We should receive members of different cultures as they are, and make them feel at home.