- About WEC
A young Kiwi guy has taken a beating and is sitting dazed by the kerb. It’s easy to walk passed, after all, everyone else is. I look at my watch...I haven’t got time anyway, I’m already running late... besides what am I going to do for him, surely no one would expect me to go so far as to take him to a doctor or the hospital... I’m sure it’s not as bad as it looks, it seldom is, I’ll look silly if I approach him and it turns out he’s really just fine...
It used to be true for most New Zealanders that to encounter people from very different cultures we had to move and base ourselves in a new country. The skills and attitudes necessary for cultural adaptation used to be only for missionaries, diplomats and the like.
“At first we loved talking with outsiders. We taught them our language, shared our knowledge of the land, plants and animals, and debated important issues. But soon we came to realize that they only wanted to rob us of something: knowledge, language, territory, traditional medicine or dignity. We become suspicious and with good reason.”
Like the way you notice the other person’s accent without getting that you have one too... as long as we live in our own culture, we’re pretty much unaware of it. When we do encounter new cultures, however, it quickly becomes clear that other people live differently. First up we see the differences in how they dress, what they eat, how they talk and behave. Later we start to get that there are deep differences in beliefs, feelings and values. Finally, we begin to realise that there are fundamental differences in worldviews.