Reuben's Essay

Being a homogenous society can be beneficial for the long term survival and prosperity of that society. In this short essay i will attempt to argue this thesis in the following three ways: first, people who think and live in the same way, can more easily achieve a common goal; second, although homogeniety can make for easier growth and health, when the majority of a society's citizens need to travel a lot for trade, they are exposed to unending diversity of ideas and ways of living; and, third, different religious groups have very different ways of thinking and living, which can challenge homogeniety. Homogenous societies can have more strengths in their commonality, but does that really produce a better society?

When the Berbers first founded Ancient Ghana they were one people, religion and culture. They knew what they wanted in life and knew that they had to work hard to become powerful. Because they were all the same people witht the same background and upbringing, it was very easy to focus on certain goals.

Today I see this in groups like the Amish, who want to preserve one religion, way of doing things and culture. They believe that by staying "pure" and keeping outside influences out like electronics, they can stay strong and survive as a culture for a very long time. By keeping out the modern world and diverse thinking, they can hold on to their strict religious beliefs and way of living.

Wanting to be homogenous is not easy when your people have to travel a lot. Being tradesmen, the Ancient people of Ghana were forced to travel great distances to trade their gold, salt, slaves and other goods. This provided many distractions to vulnerable traders such as farming in a different way, or even new religions. Distractions like these silently crumbled Ancient Ghana's homogenous society, therefore shortening it's lifespan.

Today I see this happening in small communities when young people leave their homes for univerity and travel. They come back changed. They come back with new dreams and big ideas about different ways of doing things. In many societies this is a great thing, and should be encouraged. But idealy, homogenous peoples strive to close off their borders and create boundaries for their civilians.

Being a homogenous society also means that you are content with the ways things are: the order of things, the heirarchy of things, the way of things. Things started to get shook up when different people with different understandings of power and religion got involved in Ancient Ghana and their civilians. For example, when the Ghanaian king passed in the streets, the people who shared his religion would bow to him and put ash on thier bodies. This infuriated Muslims, who only clapped when he passed. They believed that only Allah should be bowed to.

Today, I see this in Toronto, as how different people from different religious backgrounds have certain things that they are and aren't allowed to wear. There have been many recenet situations where for example muslim women are asked to remove their veil for identification and they refuse. There are many other examples of this with muslims and lawsuits are raised bacause of it. I find it infuriating that a small portion of society must wear clothing because of their religion, and we can't accept that even when we have many strange customs that are accepted in foreign areas.

It is true that as we have seen with Ancient Ghana, a homogenous society will prosper and be strong. When a society shares the same religion, culture, language, world view and work ethics, it will have a long future and be clear about who they are and what they want. When a society stands together as one, they can seem powerful. However, life is more than being prosperous and strong. This is a problem with the world today. A society that is homegenous, often excludes and discriminates aginst vulnerable groups. It also closes opportunities for for incredible learning and rich sharing. In my opinion, I prefer a country like Canada that is not necessarily leading empire, but is a place where everyone feels safe, welcome and valued in their diversity.