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As a pre-law student, watching the news and learning about global issues has become a part of my daily routine. But, I didn’t always have this mindset. Growing up, I always found it boring to watch the news about global issues. I wondered, why would you want to ruin your day by watching a depressing news story? Why would you choose to learn about diverse cultures, when you could be watching Netflix? 

 

It is this mindset that hinders any chance for global awareness. Failing to learn about world issues — like racism, sexism, child labor etc. — and distinct cultures limit any chance of obtaining a better, greater world. When given a choice between learning about local events as opposed to global ones, we often choose local events simply because we are introduced to it in our homes and through social media. However, learning about global events is just as important, as it helps to build stronger relationships, while also addressing worldwide issues. After all, global awareness is the key to a better world.


group of diverse people holding hands
Photo by Wylly Suhendra from Unsplash

Global awareness is important as it helps to build unity between diverse cultures. Due to globalization, diverse cultures often associate themselves with the dominant culture.  As a result, foreign cultures are then hit with stereotypes, biases and prejudices, due to a lack of global awareness around cultural traditions. 

 

But, if everyone was the same–if we had the same values, cultures, practises, and beliefs–our world would be dull. Different languages, foods, traditions and knowledge is what makes our world a much more interesting place to live in. If everyone was the same, the activity of learning would cease to exist. 

 

Since our world consists of different cultural, racial and ethnic groups, an active engagement in global awareness needs to be demonstrated–only then will we build a stronger level of understanding between different cultures. 

 

Global awareness helps to drastically change perspectives. For example, some cultures uphold and practice traditions which, for many, might be odd or unusual. Failing to engage in global awareness by understanding the history of these traditions causes judgements to arise. If we take the time to engage in global awareness by understanding why these traditions are conducted, perhaps judgements can be dispelled, allowing stronger and deeper relationships to form. 

Confused on what cultural traditions I’m referring to? Have a look at this website for some strange, yet interesting cultural traditions enforced around the world.


people standing on street during daytime with protest signs
Photo by Lennon Cheng from Unsplash

Deeper relationships can often initiate more open discussions and conversations. By learning about controversial global issues, the chances of people becoming more self-critical about their actions and taking a stand on issues which need recognition looks promising. 

 

For instance, this summer, the tragic death of George Floyd sparked great attention throughout the world. Since then, #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Movement have obtained more tangible success, support and recognition than ever before. While this movement was popular before, this tragic death led to large discussions around how everyone can work together towards dealing with the worldwide issue of systemic racism.


person holding protest sign
Photo by Zoe VandeWater from Unsplash

From acts of retweeting and reposting, to attending rallies and protests, global awareness proved that it is the key to a better world. Citizens of all races united together to amplify the voices of underrepresented minorities. While those of the dominant culture may not have connected on this level with minorities, that did not stop the spread of activism amongst all races. 

While the unfortunate event took place in the United States, an article by City News examines how much of a significance Canadians had towards introducing and fighting for tangible change. Canadians used their voice and took a stand, fighting for a global issue which, for the longest time, needed attention. Had the issue of systemic racism not been broadcasted worldwide, and had we not taken the time to educate ourselves on this issue, systemic racism would have remained hidden in our world.


the world is ours neon sign
Photo by Charles Deluvio from Unsplash

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Global issues are our issues because this world is ours. We have the right and ability to make it a better place. 

 

If you choose to distance yourself from the toxic, depressing environment of the news, global awareness fails to shine. Creating radical change and educating others on diverse cultures rests on the actions we make. If we distance ourselves from the harsh realities of our world, change will never be obtained. If we want a better future for our younger generations, we need to step up and make change now. 

 

It all starts with us. Take time to educate yourself and family members. Turn on a global news network, flip open a book or surf the web. Expand your mind on issues, practices or cultures you might never have thought of investigating. You’d be surprised by how interesting, informative and helpful your voice and actions can have on the people outside and inside your country. Small actions can go a long way, and engaging in global awareness has the potential of creating a better world.

Natasha Khan

York U '23

Natasha Khan is an avid reader and writer who loves expressing her viewpoints through captivating and informative articles. She is a second-year student majoring in the Honours Law and Society program at York University and enjoys advocating for social justice issues. When Natasha's not reading or writing you can find her in the kitchen experimenting with a combination of sweet and savoury treats.
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