How does misunderstanding of other cultures foster an unfair society?
In the UK, you need to sustain an eye contact during conversation otherwise it is taken that you are not saying the truth or not interested in the subject of discussion. In Africa, you don’t sustain an eye contact with an elder or a superior officer as a mark of respect.
I read a social caseworker’s report after a contact observation suggesting that the parent and child were EMOTIONALLY DISCONNECTED because they were not sustaining an eye contact. Unfortunately, this together with other things (some as simple as them not holding hands) were used as a standard to justify the insistence not to rehabilitate the child and the parent but to keep them separated.
Would the caseworker be of the same opinion if she understood the cultural ethics of the people concerned?
Unlike the caseworker above, the manager of YMCA Paisley who experienced a similar situation when he had a talk-session with the teens from the African community came to us to make inquiries so as to understand this behavioural trait and did not rely on his own earlier formed personal views that the teens were not interested in the talk-session.
There are some activities by some host cultures that are not discrimination per se (or, on their own) and are merely a misunderstanding of the smaller cultures but unfortunately both discrimination and actions based on misunderstanding of the smaller cultures lead to an unfair and an inequitable society.
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