whose manners?

Here’s a question that might get an interesting discussion going. While most middle-class Whites prefer to shift to first names even when there is a hierarchical relation or the person has a title (e.g. Dr., Professor) and these days teach children to call adults by first name, many Blacks prefer to honor titles and seniority and think it is rude to use first names for elders or people with titles.  I have seen this pattern often in mixed-race public meetings, with Whites using first names for everyone and Blacks using titles, and watched people (of both races) bounce back and forth awkwardly, not sure which to use.  I’ve had conversations with some Black people about this, including one Black graduate student who insisted on calling me “Dr. Olderwoman” even when I asked her to use my first name, telling me that respect for titles was a part of her culture that she was not willing to give up.  I assume there are lots of other examples of cultural difference in what is polite.  So here’s the question: What is the best way to resolve this kind of cultural difference?  Whose norms should prevail?  Are there ways of acknowledging these differences that heighten cross-group respect and consideration? Does this vary by context? Let’s assume in the discussion that our goal is to treat everyone with respect and politeness.  How do we do it in culturally mixed settings? Given our audience, we might especially focus on academic settings, although some of us do venture out into the larger world.