“Why did you want to come to PoCC?” Um, school initiative … mumble … intercultural competency … mumble mumble … A colleague told me it was the best conference she’d ever been to? I don’t know what I need to know? Maybe it is unnecessary to state this, but I am white. So why would I attend a People of Color Conference?
After attending Day 2 of Intercultural Competency training, I wrote this reflection. My job is mostly problem solving and fixing, so I don’t get to spend a lot of time thinking about who/how/why I am who I am and who/how/why others are who they are and I don’t know how to do this by myself. That’s really what I’m hoping this conference will allow me to do. I love that it is specifically for independent schools because it begins the conference at a different, more directly applicable place.
Nonetheless, I will admit that I feel a bit like an outsider as I get ready for tomorrow. I have previously attended science or tech conferences, which are completely in my comfort zone. Here, I’m not really sure what to expect and feel nervous about saying the wrong thing. As someone said at ICC Day 2: “You often don’t know the cultural norms until you’ve transgressed them, like “tripping on a rock of culture.” I don’t want to be insensitive or hurtful, and all the worse if I’m doing it out of ignorance. Thankfully I have seven colleagues attending with me for support!
Sessions I’m excited to attend:
- “Inclusivity and Voice: Twitter”
- “Loudness in the Library”
- “White Race Socialization”
- “Inter-cultural communication and assertiveness”
Of course the main speakers:
- Daniel Hernandez
- Junot Diaz
- Michel Martin
And two movie screenings:
- American Promise
- Prep School Negro
The question I want to keep in front of me for the next few days is how context impacts the conversation or message. I tend to focus on what is said (as opposed to how, where, or when) so a point of growth for me is to pay attention to body language, reactions, power differences, and space.
As always, I am ever thankful that I have a job that I love, that supports my personal and intellectual growth, and that inspires me to be a better person.