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Lesson Plans


cultural sensitivity

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tscanlin.edu
Tue, 11 Mar 1997 18:57:28 -0500

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To the artsednet,
Teresa Tipton mentioned a very good point in a recent posting when
she said:
> We must be sensitive to those belief systems and not impose ours on them,
>further "robbing" them of their essence. There are ceremonies we shouldn't
>be imitating and objects we shouldn't be replicating, according to the
>belief system of the culture. To assume that it's ok in the name of art in
>another form of cultural ethnocentrism.

I think we should consider, in this light, if any use in a decorative way
of *our* religious icons and symbols would be offensive to us. It doesn't
matter our religion, if there is something we consider sacred and "off
limits" then there are other such images and symbols from the religion or
belief systems of others that should be regarded with just as much respect
as we would hope ours would be. I don't think this has to be viewed as
political correctness, but rather sensitivity to others that transcendes
hot topics and jargon.

>It's important for us as teachers and artists to discover what those are
>and to treat them with the respect they deserve by not placing them in a
>context which undermines their intrinisic value. When in doubt, consult
>the primary source - i.e. native elders and historians - for advice.

Very good advice, Teresa. And, I feel, if one can't locate sources
sufficient to give us a good understanding of significance then we
shouldn't use the image, symbol, or object-type as a source for art work.

Tommye Scanlin


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  • Reply: carla harwitt: "Re: cultural sensitivity"