Cultural Incompetence: Responsibility to Respond or Not?
Below is a fictional scenario presented by one of the faculty members of the School of Human Service Professions:
A few days ago as I was walking to my office in Bruce Hall, I overheard a conversation between a couple of Widener students. The gist of the conversation stopped me in my tracks and I ended up listening to a part of it. One student was recounting the family cruise they took over the Winter Break. The student was praising the large group of Filipinos who worked on the cruise ship. The student went on and on about what good “servants” Filipinos make, how good they are at making the cruise passengers feel important and special. From their enthusiasm, it was evident that the student really felt they were complimenting rather than perpetuating stereotypes. I was disturbed and felt unsettled. I felt like I should address this student’s lack of cultural competence, but was not clear if and how I should respond. I am left wondering: Do I have a responsibility to address such cultural insensitivity? If so, to whom? What is the best way to respond to this type of scenario?