you + them


Talking about a student from an Arab country, a colleague added to my list of reasons why he was finding it hard to learn 'student-centred learning'. He said, he's from a top-down culture. I assumed he meant because the student is a man from a Muslim Arabic culture. I didn't ask and maybe that's not what he meant.

I was going to write here about all cultures being patriarchal. It's not just Muslim or Arabic cultures that are top-down. This British culture is anyway, and because it has class-issues to complicate it, it can also be seen as a particularly top-down, heirarchical culture as well. I was going to say that we seem to be ready to see heirarchy or injustice in others, but less ready to see it in ourselves. Or we particularize it. We make it an exception - that's him - and not the rule - that's how we are. But actually, it's quite possible that I assumed the racist, stereotypical view from him because he is a white, middle-class Christian man...

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