Communication

Identify and describe the suggestions in the chapter from Ellis about ways to build bridges between people, communicating across cultures. From your own experience, add two or three other suggestions not listed by Ellis that will also help build bridges between people.

 

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Reading:

Communicating with people from other races, ethnic groups, and cultures starts with a commitment to create understanding. When you truly value diversity, you can discover ways to build bridges between people. Begin with the following suggestions and invent more of your own.

 

See the world through a different set of eyes.  One step to developing diversity skills is to intentionally switch lenses. Make it your intention to look at familiar events in a new way.

For example, think of an emotionally charged conflict that you had with another person. Ask yourself how you would view this situation if you were that person.

Go deeper by asking more questions. How would you experience this conflict if you were a person of the opposite gender? Of a different racial or ethnic group? If you were older or younger?

Do this exercise consistently and you’ll discover that we live in a world of multiple realities. There are many different ways to interpret any event, and just as many ways to respond, given our individual differences.

Reflect on experiences of privilege and prejudice.  For example, someone might tell you that he’s more likely to be promoted at work because he’s white and male—and that he’s been called “white trash” because he lives in a trailer park.

See whether you can recall incidents such as these from your own life. Think of times when you were favored because of your gender, race, or age, and times when you were excluded or ridiculed based on one of those same characteristics. In doing this, you’ll discover ways to identify with a wider range of people.

Look for differences between individualist and collectivist cultures.  Individualist cultures flourish in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. If your family has deep roots in one of these areas, you were probably raised to value personal fulfillment and personal success. You received recognition or rewards when you stood out from your peers by earning the highest grades in your class, scoring the most points during a basketball season, or demonstrating another form of individual achievement.

In contrast, collectivist cultures value cooperation over competition. Group progress is more important than individual success. Credit for an achievement is widely shared. If you were raised in such a culture, you probably place a high value on your family and were taught to respect your elders. Collectivist cultures dominate Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

In short, individualist cultures often emphasize “I.” Collectivist cultures tend to emphasize “we.” Forgetting about the differences between them can strain a friendship or wreck an international business deal.

If you were raised in an individualist culture:

· Remember that someone from a collectivist culture may place a high value on “saving face.” This idea involves more than simply avoiding embarrassment. This person may not want to be singled out from other members of a group, even for a positive achievement. If you have a direct request for this person or want to share something that could be taken as a personal criticism, save it for a private conversation.

· Respect titles and last names. Although Americans often like to use first names immediately after meeting someone, in some cultures this practice is acceptable only among family members. Especially in work settings, use last names and job titles during your first meetings. Allow time for informal relationships to develop.

· Put messages in context. For members of collectivist cultures, words convey only part of an intended message. Notice gestures and other nonverbal communication as well.

If you were raised in a collectivist culture, you can creatively “reverse” this list. Keep in mind that direct questions from an American student or coworker are meant not to offend, but only to clarify, an idea. Don’t be surprised if you are called by a nickname, if no one asks about your family, or if you are rewarded for a personal achievement. In social situations, remember that indirect cues might not get another person’s attention. Practice asking clearly and directly for what you want.

Look for common ground.  Students in higher education often find that they worry about many of the same things, including tuition bills, the quality of dormitory food, and the shortage of on-campus parking spaces. More important, our fundamental goals as human beings—such as health, physical safety, and economic security—cross culture lines.

The key is to honor the differences among people while remembering what we have in common. Diversity is not just about our differences; it’s also about our similarities. On a biological level, less than 1 percent of the human genome accounts for visible characteristics such as skin color. In terms of our genetic blueprint, we are more than 99 percent the same. *

Speak and listen with cultural sensitivity.  After first speaking with someone from another culture, don’t assume that you’ve been understood or that you fully understand the other person. The same action can have different meanings at different times, even for members of the same culture. Check it out. Verify what you think you have heard. Listen to see whether what you spoke is what the other person received.

If you’re speaking with someone who doesn’t understand English well:

· Speak slowly, distinctly, and patiently.

· To clarify your statement, don’t repeat individual words over and over again. Restate your entire message with simple, direct language and short sentences.

· Avoid slang and figures of speech.

· Use gestures to accompany your words.

· Remember that English courses for nonnative speakers often emphasize written English, so write down what you’re saying. Print your message in capital letters.

· Stay calm and avoid sending nonverbal messages that you’re frustrated.

Look for individuals, not group representatives.  Sometimes the way we speak glosses over differences among individuals and reinforces stereotypes. For example, a student worried about her grade in math expresses concern over “all those Asian students who are skewing the class curve.” Or a white music major assumes that her black classmate knows a lot about jazz or hip-hop music. We can avoid such errors by seeing people as individuals—not spokespersons for an entire group.

Find a translator, mediator, or model.  People who move with ease in two or more cultures can help us greatly. Diane de Anda, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, speaks of three kinds of people who can communicate across cultures. She calls them translators, mediators, and models. *

translator is someone who is truly bicultural: a person who relates naturally to both people in a mainstream culture and people from a contrasting culture. This person can share her own experiences in overcoming discrimination, learning another language or dialect, and coping with stress.

Mediators are people who belong to the dominant or mainstream culture. Unlike translators, they might not be bicultural. However, mediators value diversity and are committed to cultural understanding. Often they are teachers, counselors, tutors, mentors, or social workers.

Models are members of a culture who are positive examples. Models include students from any racial or cultural group who participate in class and demonstrate effective study habits. Models can also include entertainers, athletes, and community leaders.

Your school might have people who serve these functions, even if they’re not labeled translators, mediators, or models. Some schools have mentor or “bridge” programs that pair new students with teachers of the same race or culture. Ask your student counseling service about such programs.

Develop support systems.  Many students find that their social adjustment affects their academic performance. Students with strong support systems—such as families, friends, churches, self-help groups, and mentors—are using a powerful strategy for success in school. As an exercise, list the support systems that you rely on right now. Also list new support systems you could develop.

Support systems can help you bridge culture gaps. With a strong base of support in your own group, you can feel more confident in meeting people outside that group.

Be willing to accept feedback.  Members of another culture might let you know that some of your words or actions had a meaning other than what you intended. For example, perhaps a comment that seems harmless to you is offensive to them. And they may tell you directly about it.

 

Identify and describe the suggestions in the ch

apter from Ellis about ways to build bridges

between people, communicating across cultures. From your own experience, add two or three

other suggestions not listed by Ellis that will also help build bridges between people.

 

 

This assignment does not need a

n APA title page or a references page.

 

Reading:

 

Communicating with people from other races, ethnic groups, and cultures

starts with a commitment to create understanding. When you truly value

diversity, you can discover ways to build bridges between people. Beg

in with

the following suggestions and invent more of your own.

 

 

 

See the world through a different set of eyes.

 

One step to developing diversity skills

is to intentionally switch lenses. Make it your intention to look at familiar events in a new

way.

 

For e

xample, think of an emotionally charged conflict that you had with another person.

Ask yourself how you would view this situation if you were that person.

 

Go deeper by asking more questions. How would you experience this conflict if you

were a person of th

e opposite gender? Of a different racial or ethnic group? If you were

older or younger?

 

Do this exercise consistently and you’ll discover that we live in a world of multiple

realities. There are many different ways to interpret any event, and just as many

ways to

respond, given our individual differences.

 

Reflect on experiences of privilege and prejudice.

 

For example, someone might tell

you that he’s more likely to be promoted at work because he’s white and male

and

 

that he’s been called “white trash” becau

se he lives in a trailer park.

 

Identify and describe the suggestions in the chapter from Ellis about ways to build bridges

between people, communicating across cultures. From your own experience, add two or three

other suggestions not listed by Ellis that will also help build bridges between people.

 

This assignment does not need an APA title page or a references page.

 

Reading:

Communicating with people from other races, ethnic groups, and cultures

starts with a commitment to create understanding. When you truly value

diversity, you can discover ways to build bridges between people. Begin with

the following suggestions and invent more of your own.

 

See the world through a different set of eyes. One step to developing diversity skills

is to intentionally switch lenses. Make it your intention to look at familiar events in a new

way.

For example, think of an emotionally charged conflict that you had with another person.

Ask yourself how you would view this situation if you were that person.

Go deeper by asking more questions. How would you experience this conflict if you

were a person of the opposite gender? Of a different racial or ethnic group? If you were

older or younger?

Do this exercise consistently and you’ll discover that we live in a world of multiple

realities. There are many different ways to interpret any event, and just as many ways to

respond, given our individual differences.

Reflect on experiences of privilege and prejudice. For example, someone might tell

you that he’s more likely to be promoted at work because he’s white and male—

and that he’s been called “white trash” because he lives in a trailer park.

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