Mind your Peas & Queues!

Move Over, Emily, it’s post-everything etiquette by Mx Mannerly. Because you don’t want to be That Guy.”


I’ve been promising the people who follow my social justice commentary elsewhere that I would be posting a weekly etiquette column. I’d been putting it off because I didn’t have a catchy title for it, but thanks to the quick wits of my friends (waving hello to Jennie Worden (@jennie1ofmany), Tanya Washburn, and Miriam Rosenberg Rocek, who were fast off the line when I posted a query on Facebook), inspiration has finally struck and it’s time to get this party started. Send your post-everything etiquette questions to Mx.Mannerly@shadesbetween.com


The world is full of etiquette manuals. Is there room for another one?

Actually, there seems to be a desperate need for a guide to etiquette in that explains the new expectations created by a world that’s increasingly demanding cultural competency in social justice awareness. There is an abundance of distraught pleas from good-hearted people who are baffled about how their well-meaning actions got taken as “problematic”, or even racist. You’re not a white supremacist—you have a lifetime of support for civil rights—how did this happen? Because you’re actually trying to do the right things, you did ask, only to get a completely confused answer, or perhaps you got a rather brusque invitation to figure it out yourself.

How does one even begin to figure this out?!

Starting today, you ask Mx. Mannerly.


 

Why is it called “Peas and Queues”?

One traditional phrase for manners, is “minding one’s P’s and Q’s”. In a modern, global world of etiquette, how the table manners around Peas have no single answer: are you in a place where you’re eating with your hands? With chopsticks? With a spoon? With a fork and knife—and if so, tines up or tines down? American or Continental? Queues, as international travelers know, are not evenly distributed. Londoners and Bangkockians queue, but in other places trying to impose that sort of order is not just herding cats, but an attempt at cultural dominance.

So this is an international cultural competency thing?

I’d like for all of us to think about the intranational issues we face, and the transnational issues we face, with as much curiosity and compassion (rather than anxiety and anger) as we do international quirks. And to recognize that intent is not the ultimate safeguard for everyone’s safety.


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One thought on “Mind your Peas & Queues!

  1. Thank you for doing this. It is something that I will bookmark and follow (after I figure out how to use RSS to follow these specific posts). I will also be thinking about the questions I have ….I work with people all over the world and wonder how many times I may have inadvertently hurt someone with my behaviour or words.

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