1. What does “intercultural” communication mean to you? Intercultural communication to me means many things. It mainly means the way that people communicate throughout the different cultures that they derive from. Intercultural communication is basically the way that one person from a particular country would communicate with someone from America. Every culture has their own set of non-verbal gestures that could mean something completely different to an opposing culture. Verbal communication differs between different cultures and ethnic groups as well.
Here is an example from Chapter One’s reading that I found to be quite interesting: “Latinos make up nearly a third of the populations of California and Texas, and they constitute at least 20 percent of the people in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico”. I live in Florida and found this interesting because the population of the town that I live in is well over one half populated with Latinos. We are forced to communicate and understand their cultures in order to better understand them on a personal level. Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication across Cultures, Sixth Edition, by Myron W. Lustig and Jolene Koester. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
2. Define “intracultural” communication. How is this definition both similar and different to “intercultural” communication?
According to Yahoo.com,”Intracultural communication” is often a trigger for stereotypes. First a definition of “Intracultural communication” is the type of communication that takes place between members of the same dominant culture, but with slightly different values, as opposed to “intercultural communication” which is the communication between two distinct cultures. An example of intracultural communication triggering a stereotype would be if a person in the dominant culture, let’s say of the United States, spoke Ebonics. If a non-Ebonics speaking person hears Ebonics, a dialect of English with slang,they may assume the person is of low intelligence, and is a criminal or violent in nature. Ebonics is a language that is widely spoken among many African Americans as well as those from very southern states. For example, in my town we have what we call “Rednecks” who have their own language. I understand it but I have personally come into contact with people from up North who cannot understand a word of what that person is saying.
3. What are some reasons and approaches behind mastering intercultural communication?
Mastering Intercultural Communication can be master by the BASIC dimensions of Intercultural Competence. Here are the skills needed in order to master Intercultural Communication:
Display of Respect- The ability to show respect and positive regard for another person Orientation to Knowledge- The terms people use to explain themselves and the world around them Empathy- The capacity to behave as though you understand the world as others do Interaction Management- Skill in regulating conversations
Task Role Behavior- Behaviors that involve the initiation of ideas related to group problem solving activities Relational Role Behavior- Behaviors associated with Interpersonal Harmony and Mediation Tolerance for Ambiguity- The ability to react to new and ambiguous situations with little visible discomfort Interaction Posture- The ability to respond to others in descriptive, nonevaluative, and non-judgmental ways.
These BASIC descriptions of behaviors are seen as cross cultural. What that means is that no matter the culture that a person may be in, these skills are always used in one way or another. Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication across Cultures, Sixth Edition, by Myron W. Lustig and Jolene Koester. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Part 2: Intercultural Encounters Activity
Instructions: Describe and analyze a recent intercultural encounter with someone of a different age, ethnicity, race, or religion. In at least 450 words, respond and include details to the following questions:
1. Briefly describe the person and the place.
2. How were you changed by the encounter?
3. What do you wish you had known to deal better with this intercultural encounter?
A recent intercultural encounter that I was a part of was at my house in a conversation that I engaged in with my father in law. Our conversation was about his religion and how it differs from my particular faith. You see, my father in law is a very wise man in his mid-fifties. He has a lot of experience about a lot of interesting things. He was raised in the Jehovah Witness faith and talks about it every chance he gets. One evening, he was over at my house to enjoy a nice dinner with the rest of our family and something in the conversation was brought up about religion. My family and I, as well as his wife practice the Pentecostal faith. My father in law does not believe in it what so ever. As a matter of fact, he says that our faith goes against his completely. Now, while discussing the different aspects of his faith, I learned about why they choose not to participate in holidays or birthday activities.
Jehovah Witnesses are seen as the people who believe that heaven is here on Earth, which is not true. When someone sees a Jehovah Witness coming to the door, what is it that they typically do? They slam the door in their faces and tell them to leave. To be honest, I was guilty of the same exact thing until I learned more about how my father in law believes. All my life, I was taught about the Pentecostal faith; I was taught to not listen to Jehovah Witnesses because they “didn’t believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross”. Something that I learned thru this encounter to be entirely not true. Honestly, there have been so many times that I have apologized to my father in law for thinking that their faith was not holy, that they did not know our one true God.
Boy was I wrong! I have been changed thru this encounter and the countless others that I have had to be more understanding of other’s religions and views of Christ Our Lord. Who really knows what the right religion is anyway? There are so many things that I wish I had known before judging people like my father in law. I did not give him a chance at all. His faith combined with mine has a lot of common characteristics; something I find to be very interesting. I ask him questions that I am curious about and he answers. I have also made friends with a very nice lady that attends his segregation and she comes to our house occasionally as well. He understands and respects my faith and doesn’t try to push his on me. I highly respect and love him for that.