Class Spotlight: Cross Cultural Communication

Do you see that Turban he is wearing? Why does her accent sound like that? I think her behavior is unacceptable! Why does she talk so loud?  These are just the countless questions and statements we boldly whisper to others.  Sometimes we don’t whisper it and we choose to say it out loud so the other person hears it. We have to admit that we have made assumptions about people not knowing any background information or legitimate facts about them. We look at other people strange because they behave or communicate in such a dissimilar way. Have you ever thought maybe their behavior or communication is not strange but just their norm? What is abnormal behavior or improper dialogue to us may be normal for someone else because of their culture.

As the Thanksgiving break quickly approaches or even the New Year we will meet distance family member, see the usual family members or meet new acquaintances.  I ask that you allow yourself to be open to people differences. Sometimes we forget to look in the mirror every now and then to see that we all are different. Everyone doesn’t speak like you, dress like you, behave like you or let alone do they give the same answer to a question that is being ask. Words have different meanings to different people; perhaps because of their cultural or interpretation.

After taking an Intercultural Communication class this fall with Professor Morrison, I have learned to be more sensitive to other cultures. When I say the word sensitive I am referring to being considerate to someone who is different than you. The teachings in this class have educated me to be further mindful about other people cultures. Culture has a deeper meaning other than what color race you are.

It can mean in terms of where people were born, where they live, their language they speak and how they were raise, and even their physical appearance or slang terminology can have its own subculture.

Culture that is different doesn’t make the people in that culture weird or unethical. Some of us fear the unknown and lack the competency to understand a new culture; but this doesn’t give us the right to assume negative information about people. I am pretty sure some of you can agree that when people make assumptions they tend to make an ass out of themselves especially when wrong.  So rather than stereotype and assume we should take the time to research cultural facts or even spend time with a particular culture. Then maybe we would better understand why he wears the turban or why their communication style and behavior is differs from yours.

As Professor Morrison said so perfectly “Don’t blame a whole particular group (culture) on a bad experience that you had with an INDIDIVDUAL person. Treat people as individuals! We are individuals which equal different outcomes. Our uniqueness makes us who we are to some extent and that shouldn’t divide us in the process. If you don’t know something ASK OR RESEARCH because how else will you know.  Try to meet people outside of your zip code, attend cultural activities, learn something new about another culture or take an Intercultural Communication class. These actions can help develop you into a well-rounded global citizen.

About sford@rollins.edu

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