Refracting Culture is a shift in perspective that celebrates differences and lives in curiosity instead of in the rules of PC Culture. We don’t need rules and boxes of restraint when we’re coming from a place of love, respect, and curiosity.
As a white lady who has asked my fair share of ignorant questions, I found that it was only other white ladies who had a problem with my questions. Why do that to ourselves?
I came to realize that I didn’t view culture as a community of shared history, traditions, and common experiences. I viewed culture as a list of “thou shalt nots” and as rules of engagements for different situations. “She’s so cultured,” has been said of a woman in high society who has never traveled outside of her culture, but who is able to carry herself with poise and dignity among those in high society. She knows what fork to use, how to offer pleasantries that appeal to elites, and she knows how to look like Audrey Hepburn on My Fair Lady. That isn’t culture.
But that is exactly what PC Culture is. It is the RULES of engagement for interactions with people of color. Basically, it’s Liberal Whiteness. It brings us from overt racist to covert racist and never brings cultures together. Oh, I do think there is some value in PC Culture because I don’t think that everybody should just be able to say whatever hateful thing they want, but that doesn’t get us very far. PC Culture offers one thing to White People: What to say and do to not be perceived as a racist.
But it is one more list of “thou shalt nots” and, quite frankly, it tires me out before I even start. A better way is simple. Be authentic and ask curious and open questions in a way that knows that others have something valuable to offer. Be willing to see our own faults and allow that recognition to expose in us opportunities for healing. It can be painful, but only in a good way.
Through the perspectives of each other, we all can see in color.