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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, dancing and good movies.  

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Three fundamentals of diversity management that can help you not being rude with strangers at the next party

Wherever I go, some people tend to think that they already know me, as soon as they discover that I'm Italian.
They think to know what I think.
They believe to understand what I like or what I am going to do.
They make jokes about Italians, and maybe they consider it funny.

It doesn't matter that they don't know me.
It doesn't matter that they usually know very little about Italy and Italians.
It doesn't matter that I don't like what a lot of Italians are supposed to like.

Those people have some cliché about Italians in mind and since I am Italian, hey!, I should be like that. Or I should find funny if someone that I got to know five minutes before starts to make fun of Italy. Maybe it is an ice-breaker for them, insulting other people and make fun of them.

They don't see me.
They see just the clichés about Italians.
A living cliché, in my case.

In the past I was very angry and annoyed. Every single time.
Now? Now I smile. And I nod. And I go away as soon as I can without drama.

[A beautiful Italian movie that goes beyond clichés:
Pane e tulipani (Bread and Tulips, 2000) by Silvio Soldini
starring Licia Maglietta and Bruno Ganz]

Discussing and arguing and fighting about it with superficial people is just not worth my time anymore. I am not going to make them change their mind and I don't want to either. People can accept and be respectful towards diversity only if they want it. 

But... if you don't want to be rude while doing the same with someone else (maybe at the next party...), remember three fundamentals of diversity management:
#1. Each person is different, special and unique. Do you know someone else who is exactly like you?
#2. Each person is not only part of a community, but also an individual with individual needs and thoughts. Do you agree with each aspect of your culture and tradition or do you have ideas on your own as well?
#3. Each person deserves respect and attention, no matter how different from you the person could be - or just appears to be. Are you sure that you don't have anything in common with the person?

Previous post:
Dealing with (stupid) cultural stereotypes: I'm not Marlon Brando, you're not Marlon Brando

Tags: Clichés about Italians, Bread andTulips, Diversity Management