I have taken to writing to various public employees with semi-serious questions in a vain attempt to get one to put something in writing that would be worthy of posting on my blog. I usually pick a Human Resources Dept and email every employee with the words "cultural" or "diversity" in their job title. Below is my email and one response that made me chuckle.
To Whom It May Concern:
I have been browsing your website (Multicultural Health) and I am having trouble finding information, initiatives, studies, events or opportunities for someone like me. I am wondering if you have intentionally left my culture out or if this omission was just overlooked. I feel that I am just as good as the next person and that I should not be discriminated against because of my heritage. Would you please email me a response with some information or a link to the appropriate web page where you discuss people like me in the straight-white-male category. Thanks.
The Office of Multicultural Health is concerned with the health of all Oregonians, and is quick to acknowledge that all people have a culture. Some people are more aware of their culture than others. It has been asserted that people in the dominant culture do not have to know their culture because it is fairly ubiquitous. Thus, surface aspects of dominant culture (music, food, clothing, etc.) are readily accessible; moreover, notions of time, family, social protocol, and even history typically prevail such that they become the norm often eclipsing or masking what we learn about diverse cultural orientations. Whiteness is emerging as a academic discipline. As a result many colleges and universities across the united states are offering such courses. If you are serious about learning about "whiteness" there are many websites. I would direct you to google. com and enter white people. You should find several reputable and legitimate sites where you can explore white identity, culture, and history in greater detail. Much of this may dispel myths and in many cases the informal and formal education we received about white as well as non-white peoples in the U.S. and globally.
Director Department of Human Services Health Services
Office of Multicultural Health
800 NE Oregon St., Ste 930 Portland, OR 97232
Ph: 503.731.4601 Fax: 503.731.4078