By: Renee Akselrurd
Charles Darwin was taught in most high school science classes as the father of evolution, explaining how all life forms developed over millions of years to get to where we are today. Another less talked about form of evolution happens culturally — social Darwinism.
Social Darwinism is a theory that the laws of evolution by natural selection also apply to social structures. However, the concept of cultural evolution suggests that people living in a less technologically developed or economically sound country are not as culturally evolved. In other words, the belief that the closer a cultural group was to the normative Western European standards of behavior and appearance, the more evolved they were. This idea has turned Western European countries into the standard to which other nations are compared, as Western European societies like to believe they are politically, economically, and socially advanced.
This belief carries underlying racist ideologies, considering that one may feel they must conform to these Eurocentric standards to be “evolved.” Culture stems from how we learn and understand ourselves and others through stories, religion, language, traditions, arts, etc. To achieve the ideal of being culturally evolved, it puts the intricacies of culture, which have been celebrated and practiced for centuries, in jeopardy of being muted and washed out. It's important to be aware of the beauty and diversity culture provides and represents. We must continue in the fight to preserve different cultures and their beauty.