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When Political Proselytization and Multiculturalism Collide in Workplaces (and Elsewhere) & Related Thoughts – Part 2

Part 2 of 3: Online Etiquette & a Reminder, Multiculturalism’s Downside, and a Preview of Part 3

THIS (the messy enormity of this series) is one reason I hesitate to share my political views. More importantly though, there are professional risks. Potential backlash for unpopular views is why one shouldn’t incessantly try to elicit peoples’ opinions online, chase and put others on the spot, and put them at risk if they’re disinclined to volunteer information. Sure, they can avoid you but, the worst case scenario is, you’ll look like a jerk and make some enemies. As for why I’m sharing some views, I’m trying to prevent others from “barking up the wrong tree” because, per Part 1, there are movements and company cultures I’m incompatible with. That said, I’m content with obscurity. I’m not seeking to become a political thought leader or fame in general, so opponents can take heart that I won’t flood this blog with political posts.

Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a subset of older liberal folks (while taking notice of older liberals who don’t do this but, whenever this happens, it’s curiously never someone of any other political persuasion and this is not due to a lack of knowing older folks of other political inclinations) who try to get me to espouse or live up to their values and, in doing so, (1.) mistakenly assume I’m inclined to think as they do and (2.) are unaware that people my age have more to lose (than they do) as we’re in the midst of raising children or caring for aging parents and especially dependent on having work. Yes, it’s human to make mistakes.

More troubling, however, is that they care more about promoting their ideology and adding another warm body to their movement than they care about you, the individual, and whether you want to join their movement or not. These folks should also beware, if they aren’t already, that the consequences of publicizing political opinions are potentially harsher than before the Internet age.

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When Political Proselytization and Multiculturalism Collide in Workplaces (and Elsewhere) & Related Thoughts – Part 1

Part 1 of 3

It’s been awhile since I posted “An OBVIOUS warning to political ideologues,” but I’ve decided to explain some of my views and experiences. My timing is terrible given the degenerating political discourse in the U.S., and I might be crazy to tarnish my clean “no politics” online image, but here we go. First, a story explaining my family’s culture of origin (Thai-Chinese):

One day I brought food from a new Thai restaurant I discovered near Sacramento, California for my mom to try. I’m not great at distinguishing the regional differences in Thai cuisine, but the food tasted “off” to my mom. She asked if the restaurant owner, whom I chatted with a few times by now, advertised which region of Thailand she was from. I responded, “No, but I can ask her next time.”

“No! Don’t!,” my mom yelled in alarm.

“Why not?,” I asked.

“That’s personal information,” my mom explained, “In Thai culture, you don’t ask this question of people you just met.” Further conversation with my mom revealed that asking where people lived and worked (though I already knew where the restaurant owner worked in this case) is off limits. Politics is also off limits. These are topics that are currently allowable in casual conversation for the average American (though past social norms dictated that politics and religion were off limits). A problem crops up when the average American doesn’t notice, or tries to change, the preferences of those who’re more culturally East Asian. Read more of this post

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