How to respectfully talk about culture: tips from a person of color

When you’re amongst people of other cultures or races, it’s always best to keep it civil and respectful. If you haven’t been exposed to them before, there is no time like now to learn.

  1. We are all the same. People may come from different cultures and places and have different experiences etc, but we’re all built the same. So try your best not alienate or separate yourself from them.
  2. When you’re talking to a person from a different culture or race, try to have a regular conversation you would have with someone else. The worst thing you can do amongst other people is make them feel like their culture or race is the only part of them you’re interested in getting to know.
  3. At the same time, do not ignore that completely as well. Have a normal conversation about general things but if something does come up, try not brush it away completely. A conversation about race may be more serious subject matter, but it should progress as other conversations do.
  4. In such cases where you’re not entirely educated on the matter or don’t know enough about it, try to listen and learn. Ask questions and really try to understand what the other person is saying.
  5. Do not let your own prejudice get in the way. History has been unfair to say the least and some races were perpetrators, while others were victims. While it isn’t your fault, it is your burden. It is so important to recognize your privilege and have honest discourse on real problems and solutions.

Note: Do NOT say you are color blind. Being color blind means you ignore the systemic oppression and atrocities that many people faced and it just won’t end well. Instead, be color aware and always keep an open mind.

Being in college means you will meet people from different backgrounds and hopefully you will be exposed to different kinds of people.

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