Awkward neighborhood research party
November 21, 2012 7:02 AM Subscribe
Awkward neighborhood party, but a little bit more complicated than that.
posted by anonymous to human relations (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is an unusual situation. I'm an academic researcher. For 15 years I've studied Culture X. I speak X's language. I've lived in X-land for many years. I have many close friends in X-land. I have no ethnic ties to X-land.
On a whim, I got involved in a research collaboration with Culture Y. Culture Y is undergoing an incredibly interesting transition that creates a compelling angle for my research. Also the situation that Y-land is in makes for much sexier and more publishable research. I have some basic language skills in Y-language. (I have no ethnic ties to Y-land either.)
Culturally X-land and Y-land are quite similar. They are immediate neighbors. Yet, X-land and Y-land are at war and have been at war for decades. Xs and Ys really hate each other.
I still enjoy my work in X-land, but my Y-land research is really getting me excited. Also I'm appreciating the new discovery of a culture in Y-land.
So when I'm in X-land or Y-land (especially Y-land), I'll tell people that I've been working in the broader region (consisting of less than 5 culturally similar but ethnically distinct countries/cultures). If I get to know someone better in Y-land, I'll disclose to them that I've spent a lot of time in X-land. I don't openly discuss it though. (There could be political implications of this.)
Where this is coming to a head is my social media life. I have so many old friends from X-land and growing new friends from Y-land. When I post links to relevant news stories about X-land or Y-land, I think that it might be offended the other people. Or when I post a generic thing - like pictures of my family, it is sometimes awkward to see the comments from people from X-land and Y-land next to each other. I'm sure it makes them uncomfortable too.
Any thoughts on how to glide as smoothly as I can through this? I don't want to alienate my X-land friends (I'm fairly sure the more progressive ones don't care, but the less progressive ones do care).
Yet so far my credibility with each group seems to remain in tact.
Even though Y-land research is what I'm passionate about right now, I try to work on at least 1 X-land study each year.
Other ideas for this unusual situation?
Assume they won't be ending the war anytime soon.