Re: centural sensitivity

Dorothy J. Cattle (cattledj@WFU.EDU)
Mon, 11 Dec 1995 07:26:36 -0500

On Fri, 8 Dec 1995, Heather M. Bradford wrote:

> Eeryone,
> I just wanted to clear something up. In a letter to me Dorothy suggested
> that I needed to do my own work before I asked for help. I was deeply
> offended that she thought I had not, and then I became concerned that
> maybe some of you thought the same.
> Thank you all again,
> Heather Marie
In what was a personal message to Heather, an undergraduate at the Univ.
of Arkansas who is working on a paper for English class on cultural
sensitivity, I pointed out to her that the more explicit she could be
about what she had already found or what direction she was taking, the
better the likely response would be from list members. When students [or
others for that matter] make vague requests, fewer responses are likely
because members don't know whether their info will be helpful. No one
wants to waste time repeating or covering the same ground. I was not
accusing Heather of anything, but did point out that her non-specificity
could give an impression--rightly or wrongly--that she hadn't done much
work on the topic yet. She may have real limitations of sources, etc.,
but that was hard to tell from her original query. Whether one is at
Chadron State or Harvard, one can still state what one has attempted or
how limited one's resources are. Even mentioning one's
preliminary or non-fruitful search strategies helps list members in
suggesting alternatives. As Heather and her prof. may discern from the
follow-ups to her original query, more explanation is often requested.
If the original query had given more details, it wouldn't be necessary to
post back and forth so much. Direct advice, especially given off-list,
is not flaming. List members try to be helpful, but the person posting
the query has some responsibility to members as well.
Given her further info., I would suggest another key word:
multiculturalism. The Chronicle of Higher Education which either the
library or a number of depts./profs. probably subscribe to may also be a
source to consult. To discuss such an issue in rigid causal terms and to
narrow the trend/phenomenon down to only one cause is probably not the
most useful analytical approach. Heather might want to frame her
discussion in terms of the various societal contexts in which such an issue