Growing controversy over the use of a nonverbal gesture linked to Nazi Germany is increasing in France. Questions of racial/cultural hatred versus freedom of expression, political correctness, and history are part of the discussion in this very real case study currently unfolding.
There have been quite a few good articles about the problem of racism and white centering among White feminists. If you are not familiar with the current conflict, Ani DiFranco has been criticized for planning a songwriting workshop (since cancelled) at a former plantation in Louisiana. In addition to the lack of sensitivity to the issue of slavery, history, and ongoing racism, DiFranco has been criticized for how the situation was handled after the fact. This post is a good one for those of us who are white to read, examining how we can address our own racism, including what to do when we have inadvertently offended someone (with a great comparison with an accidental physical injury).
What is sacred? How do we communicate and do we communicate with outsiders about the sacred? This conflict between Indians, specifically in this example, Hopi beliefs with the US and foreign (French) justice systems.
“The Paris auction of 27 sacred American-Indian items earlier this month marks just the latest in a series of conflicts between what tribes consider sacred and what western cultures think is fair game in the marketplace.”
There have beenseveral publicized cases recently of Barney’s (and other retailers, including Macy’s) customers who are black being questioned by employees and police, after buying expensive items. A college student has sued and many are accusing the store of racism.
Issues of culture, diplomacy, expectations, and child rearing often emerge in international adoption cases.
There are many good sources that look at the roots of the conflict in Syria. Here are a few:
The situation is Egypt is discouraging for democratic ideals and the violence is disturbing. Not even addressing the problem of the military coup and the illegality of removing an elected president (and the US and other foreign governments’ approval/disapproval/complicity), from an intercultural perspective it is an example of how differences between groups can result in societal and governmental conflict. However, we can also use this case with students to demonstrate the different ways that reality is constructed and the role of the media in that process. Much of the coverage in outside of Egypt has focused on one version of reality, but there are opportunities for us to find alternative perspectives, thanks to technology. As this situation continues to evolve, the difficulty of ongoing, generational cultural conflict becomes clearer. While not unique to Egypt, this certainly can be used to demonstrate and try to understand a bit of the complexity of culture, politics, power, and identity.