The world is getting smaller!

“Americans eat beef; Chinese eat starfish; Japanese eat sushi; Thais eat pork; Indians eat goat; Vietnamese eat dog; French eat duck. Can you tell me who is right who is wrong?”

Well, since there is no such thing as right and wrong about people from different culture, so let’s make the world a better place for every human being!

Cultural-Diversity1      diversity

The world today is a multicultural society. A globalization has brought a greater diversity to communities. As we can see the establishing of many international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the European Unions (EU), the International nongovernmental organizations (INGOs), The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the ASEAN Economic Community (ACE), to help promoting cooperation between countries.

Culture diversities make the world smaller! Let’s make this world a better place for all of us!

So now what can we do to resolve cultural conflict?

First of all, you have to be aware of culture sensitivities and diversities. Do not judge people from other cultures from their behaviors or appearances, because you do not know what lies beneath those behaviors. Moreover, you should try to be open and willing to accept others’ differences as much as possible when communicating with people form different cultures.

How to improve communication among different cultures

1. Learn about other cultures

Learning about other cultures, only a basic level would make a big difference with you traveling to that country or have a conversation with others. You will have a sense what to do or should not do.

2. Understand the potential problem that might occurs from cultural differences

Culture is an essential part of conflict, so please bare in mind that your words or action might found offensive in other cultures.

3. Learn the nonverbal language used by other cultures to avoid cultural misunderstandings 

Similar to number 1, learning about nonverbal language used by other cultures would help you to avoid cultural conflicts.

4. Do not assume that people from different cultures think or act the way you do

Something you say or act might not be interpreted the same way you want it to be, so please pay attention to everything you say and do

5. Recognize the different perceptions about time. Accept it as the way of leaving

American seems to run and rush all the time While in Asian culture, people take things slow.  People wander; they spend hours at a table talking about their family and friends.

6. Respect the way people in different cultures deal with conflict

Related content:

Cultural sensitivity and diversity awareness

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Why is it essential to know about cultural conflict?

 

“Cultures are merely different, not deficient, and each culture’s norms and practices should be assed only from the perspective of the culture itself, not by standards embraced by another culture. It is the idea that one cannot make judgments about a culture just because they are not a part of that it. Outsiders should be able to see the cultural from a neutral perspective and not judge the culture before understanding it. Each culture should be viewed with respect and as an equal because no one culture is better than any other. They should be allowed to practice their own beliefs, what a cultures believes to be true, and values, a shared view about is right.”

source: Cultural communication

What is the relationship between culture and conflict? How do cultural differences play an important role in conflict? Why does all this matter?

Conflict is part of most interpersonal relationships. Misunderstandings can arise because of cultural differences. Culture seems to make a distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’ and people usually favor ‘us’ over ‘them’. This distinction generally leads to bias and prejudice that one’s own culture is superior to other cultures. In other words, people tend to favor of one’s in-group and discrimination against out-group, thereby leading to cultural conflict. Cultures are embedded in almost every conflict. It affects the way we frame a relationship with others and also identifies how people in a different culture see and deal with conflict in a different ways. For example, conflict between a teenager and parents is influenced by the generational culture, and conflict between religions occurs when one race feels superior to the other.

Ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism occurs when the groups tend to be ethnically centered and hold the belief of superiority of one’s own ethnic group; they believe that their own culture or group is better and more important than others. Ethnocentric individuals judge a so-called out-group only by cultural differences such as behavior, language, religion and customs based on their own values, attitudes and standards.

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picture credit: bhmschool Blog

These two maps below give examples of how some people think American see the world and Asia.

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picture credit: The Big Picture blog

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picture credit: Asiapundits Blog

What is culture and how is it defined?

What is culture?

Culture is everywhere. It is the characteristics of a particular group of people. Culture forms beliefs, perceptions, values, norms and knowledge, as well as attitude, behavior and language. It also determines what is right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable in each society.  People from different cultures have different ways to follow the rules and the patterns of behavior that their ancestors have passed down to their society. To put it another way, culture determines who the person is.

Culture is like an iceberg!

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When we see an iceberg, the visible portion that we can see above the waterline, is very small compared to the whole. Like an iceberg, the majority of culture lies beneath the surface. People often think that they can examine other cultures from observable characteristics such as languages, arts, foods, music and appearances. However, in reality, there are many cultural components that are invisible and lie below surface.

What is cultural conflict?

Cultural conflict occurs when values, norms, expectations and belief of one culture clash with one another. It also refers to disagreements between people in different cultures caused by misinterpretation of other’s behavior.