• David Donaldson

Yep, we all need cultural intelligence!

Two news items crossed my desk yesterday. In different ways, both highlighted the need for more of us to take seriously culture and that culture matters.

The first, jumping to a conclusion based on cultural caricatures .

This is the first. (I tried to document it, but couldn't.) But, yes, we jump to conclusions based on what we see and hear.

I did it, too:

A while ago I was in Home Depot looking for a plumbing thingy. I was lost at the overwhelming number of plumbing thingies, and none looked like the broken thingy in my hand. Looking up the aisle, I saw two men in Home Depot's iconic orange aprons: the first was a South Asian wearing turban-- likely a Sikh. The second was a guy looking a lot like me: white-skinned, middle aged, a bit pudgy, thinning white hair etc. I walked past the Asian and asked the white guy about plumbing thingies. "What are you asking me for?" And pointing to the Asian, "He's the plumber." Wow! unconscious bias made conscious!!

And the second news item. The headline from

Laurentian University sports mascot benched; school examining its cultural sensitivity.

School officials were concerned that Victor the Voyageur was too "francophone caricature". Some think there is an over-sensitivity on the administration's part. But, I contend, if the administration had a high level of Cultural Intelligence, these issues would be addressed before they became embarrassments.

Yep! we all need to improve our cultural intelligence.





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