An endless invitation to “Babette’s Feast”

For as long as I remember, I have always tried to do the right thing. Coming from a rural small town in North Carolina, my journey with communicating effectively and clearly has been a challenge. However, the historical moments of my life have allowed me to grow in my perception and knowledge of what communication ethics literacy means. With change there is will always be difference and with difference our communication literacy must evolve.

As I evolve in my communication ethics literacy, I am committed to growing my knowledge of communication in my personal life, my community and my workplace and all the other areas of my life. Arnett et al states “a commitment to learning never permits the smugness of assurance to eclipse the necessity of learning and the possibility of new insight to offer a corrective” (p. 227)

Arnett et al (2009) provides a great example of communication ethics as it would relate to everyday life. “At one university, a faculty member wrote the president to ask for help, making a plea that the stairwells be cleaned on regular basis. The note referred to the stairwells as “filthy”. The president, a published philosopher, decided to walk over the building to see for himself. The president wanted to see what the definition of “filthy” might guide a faculty member sending such a memo. In the words of the president, ‘I did not want to forward an email on behalf of a person with undue standards for institutional tidiness. After the president’s investigation, he forwarded the e-mail securing attention to the need for more cleanliness” Of course the person in charge of cleaning was not happy, however, the “president’s action revealed that we cannot assume the same good about cleanliness standards, and the worker’s response displayed the power of differing goods in decision making”. (Arnett, Fritz, & Bell. pg. 214)

This example clearly indicates there will always diversity and difference of the “view of the “goods” (p. 214). In the example of the stairway story, I am not sure if the president’s sending the email to the university community was a productive move. I believe going to the person on a personal level first is always the best way to approach this type of situation. However, that is from the outside looking in. I have learned from this course and realize when it comes to communication ethics “we live in a time that call us to negotiate temporal agreement about the good.” (p. 226)

I will end this blog with Lisbeth Lipari’s statement about communication ethics, “In my dialogic encounter with you, I will not only listen for your radical alterity but I will open and make a place for it. It means that I do not resort only to what is easy-what I already know, or what we have in common. It means that I will listen for and make space for the difficult, the different, the radically strange.” (p. 138)

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