By Karen Wells | CNA Media Team
Our Concordia neighborhood racial demographic reflects the racial make-up of the state.
According to the 2010 census, the dominant racial group of our neighbors identify as European American and white, at 76 percent. This means that 24 percent are very visible to everybody else in the community.
This imbalance sets the stage for awkward cross-cultural social experiences, even with the best of intentions.
What can be done to avoid potentially awkward social encounters? Ask a question!
Questions facilitate getting new information, quelling curiosity or moving a conversation along. In a cross-cultural exchange, asking questions of curiosity can be awkward or worse, insulting to the recipient.
Who do you ask your “best intentioned, racial curiosity laden” question when your circle of trusted resources are a mirror reflection of yourself?
This new bi-annual column “Thank You for Asking” has the goal of guiding the cross-cultural curious toward culturally-sensitive and relevant ways on how to craft your question with integrity.
First person pronouns “I, me or we” will be used in answering questions. For example, “I appreciate you admiring my hair. Thank you for asking permission before you touch it.”
I have fielded many awkward, cross-cultural curious questions in a variety of social settings. I believe most of those questions were sincere. Some were ridiculous, poorly thought out, rude or insulting. They all had the common thread of curiosity.
I will draw on my experiences, historical references, online resources and others in our community to answer your question. The answer might appear here in CNews. Just send it to CNewsEditor@ConcordiaPDX.com.
Karen Wells is a retired early childhood community educator, health and safety trainer.