Our branch builders here are, as far as I can tell, really good about treating the culture here with respect. I am grateful for that.
A recent day spent with some people from away reminded me how much I do not like conversations or even brief comments that discuss things in a culture that are different from mine and that involve laughter, even if it is just cheerful laughter due to surprise. I REALLY, REALLY don’t like those. They create separation between “us” and “them”. They reduce comprehension to differences in the outward appearance instead of appreciation for the values and ingenuity or good principles that are behind them. They alienate people from that culture who overhear you. I think I not only don’t like those kinds of conversation, I despise them. They are destructive in subtle ways that are not seen, but are potent.
I understand that they are often an unconscious and spontaneous response and that those who respond that way generally have no clue about the effect that they have and usually would consider themselves people of goodwill, but I still really, really don't like those laughing conversations and comments.