My sister is continuing her education. Her classes have been online courses, so she hasn’t had to miss a single day of schoolwork while she’s here. She’s taking two courses. One is in her chosen career of nursing. The second, and most interesting, is a diversity course.
In a prior life I took a class in leading diverse teams and found it quite interesting and educational. She shared some of her scenarios that they were required to discuss, and I found them to be quite thought provoking. Of course, there’s still the random person that reacts rashly, strictly going by gut instead of considering from all angles, but there were also a number of people who gave well thought out responses. I thought it might be interesting to get a feel for everyone’s point of view here as there are many people from different cultures.
The thing about the first couple of questions were that it forced you to consider ethnocentrism versus racism as well as cultural diversity. Ethnocentrism is the belief that your your culture or social group is inherently superior to others. Racism is a hatred or intolerance of other races. On the surface they look to be very similar. What do you see as the differences?
As for the questions…I’ve created my own samples as hers came from a class. Here’s the first one:
A large department store company has invited a very successful Italian designer from Italy to come to New York City to meet with one of their executives and to work out a potential deal to carry the clothing line in his stores. He decides to take the designer to a fine American restaurant.
They were seated and placing their orders with the waiter. The Italian gentleman ordered “filetto di cavallo”, only to be told that it wasn’t on the menu. The designer expressed his disappointment with such “limited” options, and throughout the meal became more and more disinterested. At the end of dinner they shook hands and the Italian gentleman went back to his room.
The following morning, when the young exec called the hotel to make arrangements for the tour of the offices and some of their top stores he was informed that the gentleman had checked out and gone home.
When the owner called him for an update, he told him that the gentleman had gone back to Italy. The owner asked what happened, and all the exec could say was that he’d ordered something called “filetto di cavallo”, but it wasn’t on the menu.
The owner replied, agast, “He ordered horse?”
What do you think of the situation? Was there anything the young executive could have done differently that may have changed the outcome of this meeting? What do you think this has to do with diversity, tolerance and ethnocentrism? Is it wrong to eat something just because it’s not common in the US?
I found this thought provoking… What WOULD I have done differently? I figured out a couple of things I might have done differently. What about you? I’d be curious about the cross cultural implications…