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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Karth

Beyond Borders: Music's Power to Bridge the Divide of Otherness

Have you ever wondered how stereotypes are formed? Or have you thought about what can be done to overcome cultural misrepresentations? While it may not seem obvious at first, music can be an extremely powerful way for us to appreciate our differences and learn more about one another. In today's blog post, we take a psychological dive into the world of stereotypes to explore a concept that is close to the heart of the SWP initiative: cultural understanding. We explain how music can be used to overcome stereotypes and cultural misrepresentations that are often found in traditional media. An organization like SWP can be extremely impactful in spreading peace and community because it gives artists the chance to share their voices and perspectives in their own words. This approach allows listeners to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for other cultures and what they might be going through. Continue reading to see just how important the SWP initiative is in bringing people together through music.

In a fast-paced world cluttered with endless media choices, it’s difficult to explore alternative options and to make informed decisions. We simply don’t have enough time in the day to contemplate all that we see, and we often rely on schemas to help us shift through information. A schema can be thought of as a mental shortcut we take to help us make sense of new information without using too much brain power. Often times, these schemas are “prepackaged” stereotypes that we’ve learned over the course of our lives that have become embedded in our brains. Since it’s virtually impossible for us to critically evaluate all the information we receive in today’s society, we make it easier on ourselves by recalling “what we know'', regardless of whether or not it’s true. This can be dangerous when media represents other cultures in negative ways because we subconsciously begin to see people as false representations of what they really are.

We need to provide as many alternative opportunities as possible for audiences to hear stories from the people who have lived them. At SWP, we give artists from all over the world the chance to share their stories, giving audiences the unique opportunity to learn about different cultures on a deeper level. Music provides the chance for artists to bring audiences into their world as active listeners, where they can gain a better sense of who the artist is, beyond stereotypes. Instead of viewing people with a label, we might begin to see them as a talented songwriter, a beautiful singer, or a theatrical drummer. These new perspectives help us to better understand people and relate to them, which is critical if we ever want to develop a peaceful world. Music also helps us connect through shared interests and identities that encourage a beautiful and diverse sense of community. This is the type of community we hope to be a part of one day at SWP, and we believe that our initiative can turn this dream into a reality.

Please consider supporting the SWP initiative and the passionate artists that share their heartfelt experiences with us every year.


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