Maybe prejudices, racism and the reason behind manners could be discussed and examined at the same time. In some ways prejudices becomes really funny if you examine them closely!
It is difficult to refute the suggestions of beautiful women but in this case I feel I have a higher duty.
If you treat the manners of other cultures as a joke you will offend the other cultures, and worse still: not learn anything yourself. I would want students to see the value in other cultures - this would include role playing so that they get immersed in it.
Equally it is too easy to look at prejudices from former times and say that they quaint and just wrong.
As an example, sometimes when you talk to people born in the 1930s you will hear them say "I don't mind black people but I think they should keep to themselves."
Now obviously one can ridicule this view but in teaching youngsters about this "racist" culture I would skim over the obvious flaws and emphasise the value:
"It was thought that blacks and whites should not mix, because if they mixed they would marry and have children. In a segregated society these children would be shunned by whites because they look black, and shunned by blacks because they seem white. It was considered important that children not be denied a supportive community in which to grow."
Re: Beautiful past 50...
Re: The Danes, I did not know that about them, interesting comment. I remember an immigrant from Eastern Europe could not believe how people in Australia were so unhappy with their inflated expectations of how things should be. She told me, "You people complain about nothing!"
Svetlana's post seems to me to be a perfect example of how asking people and teaching people the meaning of jokes is a good way to understand other peoples' cultures.