Network Meeting Summary

February 10, 2021

The February Network Meeting was part two of a four part series on race and the food system. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Kyra Garson, Interculturalization Coordinator at the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at TRU. It was co-facilitated by Bonnie Klohn, KFPC Food Policy Lead, Deborah Ogundimu, KFPC Administration and Communications Lead, Emily Pletsch, KFPC Board Director and Stone Healey, TRU Social Work Practicum Student. 

What is Culture?

Culture forms our identity. For some, culture is particularly salient and for others, they draw from a blended model. In general, it affects how we function in the world and perceive things. When we think about culture and food, we often think about the food we eat. Culture as it relates to food, goes beyond consumption. Culture is a shared and often unspoken understanding within a group of people that creates meaning and a sense of belonging. Culture is learnt through direct instruction from families, socialization (schools, society at large) and observation.

Norms and Values 

Culture dictates communications, emotions, systems, social roles, authority and universal terms like birth, death and faith. These universal terms are dealt with differently due to cultural norms. If we understand our norms, values and orientation in relation to others, we can be effective when working across those changing differences. 

Culture is Dynamic 

It changes over time and generations. We move in and out of culture. We may move between our work and home culture but we have a shared understanding of what is accepted or a norm within a society 

What is Normativity?

The act of a society reinforcing standards and often that is the standards of the dominant group. It sets expectations on behavior. In an increasingly multicultural environment, this presents a challenge due to the multiple norms in operation. In the society, the dominant group tends to dictate the norms. In a settler colonial society, the settler colonial heritage is the norm. 

The Mindsets

When different norms are acting simultaneously, how do we react? We co-facilitated five breakout rooms to explore five mindsets in relation to other cultures. Our members provided a name for the different mindsets and listed advantages and disadvantages of each mindset. 

“The Bubble Mindset” People with the Bubble Mindset are said to be comfortable with the familiar and unconcerned with culture. People in this mindset maintain a distance from those who are different and wonder why people make a huge deal about culture. 

“The Archie Bunker Mindset” The Archie Bunker Mindset has a strong commitment to their worldview and distrusts cultural behaviour or ideas that differ from theirs. People in this mindset do not seek out the company of people from other cultures because they object to one or more of their unpleasant traits. 

“The Convert Mindset” People with the Convert Mindset have experienced other cultures that have made them notice imperfections in theirs. People with this mindset are known to be champions of other cultures and are alienated from their own culture. 

“The Rose Coloured Glass Mindset” People with this mindset know that people from other cultures are like them under the surface. They are fairly knowledgeable about cultural differences, customs and behaviors and behave in tolerant ways towards others. 

“The One Love Mindset” The One Love Mindset acknowledges and respects cultural differences. People with this mindset may not like everything about other cultures but they see how valuable those differences are to society. 

Next Network Meeting: April 7th 2021 

Join us as we continue our conversation on Race and the Food System!