[Foundation-l] Cultural awareness and sensitivity
wikipedia at verizon.net
Mon Jun 7 23:21:39 UTC 2010
To avoid further disrupting discussion of interlanguage links and
usability, I'll address the cultural problems separately now. I must
admit, though, that in a discussion where we seemed to have agreed
(rightfully so) that a 1% click rate was significant enough to warrant
serious consideration, I was disappointed that someone could then be so
callous about the need for cultural sensitivity because it most directly
impacts "only 0.55% of the world population" in this case. There is no
meaningful difference in order of magnitude there.
We have significant distortions in the makeup of our community that
affect our culture. There are quite a few groups that are seriously
underrepresented, in part because our culture comes across as unfriendly
to them at best. I talked about African-Americans because it's what was
applicable in that particular situation and I happen to have some
familiarity with the issues. It could just as well have been Australian
Aborigines or another cultural group that has issues with our community.
I'm not as prepared to explain those concerns, but I would welcome
people who can educate us about such problems. It's legitimate to be
wary of things that promote American cultural hegemony, which is another
distortion, but that's not really warranted when the concern relates to
a minority culture in the US.
Some people seem to have gotten hung up on the issue of intent. I didn't
say there was any intent, by the community or individuals, to exclude
certain groups or to create a hostile environment for them. I actually
tried to be as careful as possible not to say that. The point is that
even in the absence of intent, it's possible for our culture to appear
hostile to such groups. We didn't have any intent to be hostile toward
living people, either, yet we've had a long struggle to cope with the
consequences of that impression created by our culture.
Consider the principle of not "biting" newcomers, which relates to a
similar problem. It's not about the intent of the person doing the
"biting", it's about the impact on those who encounter it. We need to be
more welcoming to people, and striving for more cultural awareness is
part of that.
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