Let’s Stop The Cultural Context Bullshit
I’m becoming weary of the term “contextualize.” Not because I disagree with the concept but because I take great exception to how people use it. The way I see most people using it is as yet another form of that obscenity called Political Correctness. No, I’m not suggesting that it’s ok to write on someone’s business card if the person handing it to you happens to be Japanese. Neither do I advocate sitting with your legs outstretched if you happen to be having dinner on a mat with your Thai host. No! I’m saying we should stop insulting people of other cultures by insinuating that they are somehow less adaptable, and therefore less mature, than ourselves.
There is only one consideration for cultural context. That consideration is the needs of those we happen to be serving at the moment. Maintaining a spirit of humility as we honor and serve others goes down well in any culture unless you happen to be gorging yourself in Valhalla, where smashing your drinking cup on the ground is a norm. Focusing on serving others has a way of transcending cultural barriers. Well, those which one would generally classify as kulturny, anyway.
So, while cultural context is of course important, let’s not flog it to death, and remember that cultural sensitivity is undergirded by a spirit of benevolence, sensitivity, discretion and honour.