Stein’s Guide To Cultural Sensitivity


Or ” How To Tell The Mountains From The Molehills.

We seem to be in a veritable hotbed of cultural insensitivity right now – probably due to the long hot summer in the northern hemisphere. Fortunately it is coming to an end and now that the schools and universities are beginning classes people will all settle right back down and be kindly toward one another…cough, cough…

To aid this I have produced a guide to being culturally sensitive in 2016. You can be sure that if you apply the simple principles that you will be welcomed everywhere.

a. No action can be so innocent or well meaning that it cannot be taken badly. There’s a billet for every bullet and an anguished nerve for every word. Therefore, do not expect a good reaction to everything you say, do, or think. On some days you cannot win with anything.

b. There are some people who sail through life’s seas like stout and well-founded ships. There are others who sail through like floating mines…looking for the first-named, so they can blow up at them.

c. There are cultures that thrive on being offended. Actually thrive – receive money, plaudits, and the warm tears of the sophomore Arts students. These cultures have a vested interest in finding offences anew each day and have become adept at doing so. In a way, you kinda have to admire professional skill.

d. There are cultures that are insensitive. Not towards other people, but insensitive to offences. They do not spark up if you touch a sacred boulder or eat a sausage roll. They are very strong cultures, and worth observing.

e. Every act is cultural if someone says it is…which means that whatever you normally do, wear, say, or think is also cultural. If someone tries to dis you because of this THEY are being culturally insensitive. Tell them so, but tell them softly and gently. Watch them swell and redden.

f.  No-one had a culture a hundred years ago. They just lived wherever they were.

g. When someone says that they are from a department that is concerned with culture, that is a good signal to make sure that either they, or you, depart. You’ll be much happier out of earshot of anything they might say, and vice versa.

h. When you see or hear the word culture stop and look carefully to see who is getting the money. And from whom they are getting it. Change the terms as you will, money is the one constant in the equation.

i.  When someone tells you that you are wrong, agree with them. Carry on regardless, but do agree with them. The effect is marvellous.




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