Respect for cultures
Our bus driver was Navajo on the tour from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Our guide told us about the three Native American cultures in New Mexico—Navajo, Apache and Pueblo. We stopped at Madrid to see arts and crafts produced by ‘salt and pepper hippies’ —another culture. As we toured the countryside, our guide explained it was important to use the correct terms; those were not ditches, but arroyos. Santa Fe has a historic review design committee to maintain the cultural integrity of the city.
A day later Marley Shebala, a reporter for the Navajo Times, talked to our conference about wanting others to understand Native Americans. Her father was Zuni, one of the Pueblo group; her mother was Navajo. She told us Native Americans are not minorities, but nations. She welcomes questions about her heritage.
Cultures around the world
All this culture awareness made me think about what I should tell a diversity interest group that had given Iowa State an award for a marketing project with Lanzhou Jiaotong University in China. What I learned from the project was to respect the Chinese culture. To learn as much as I could, to ask questions of our counterparts in China and the Chinese graduate student on our team before we wrote copy, decided upon give away items. What was appropriate, what was acceptable? There is a definite protocol working with the Chinese from how to brand both universities on our marketing items to how invitations are issued.
We work with people of different cultures
We communicate with people outside our office who are of different cultures. A quick way to understand other cultures is to immerse yourself in their activities if you can and to ask people of those cultures to guide you so in all dealings you are respectful (translate that as civil).
Considering and respecting culture is a really interesting topic. Civility is cultural. More to come on culture another time or tell me what you think…
Lanzhou Jiaotong University brochure, http://www.lifelearner.iastate.edu/degree/LZJTUbrochure.pdf