Barriers to Intercultural Communication

2897 Words Mar 5th, 2010 12 Pages
We live in a culturally diverse world. People will encounter individuals from different races, religions, and nationalities in their day to day encounters. There is often anxiety surrounding unfamiliar cultures
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. What manners are acceptable? What will offend a person from a very different background? It can be paralyzing to deal with other people if we do not know what to expect. The following suggestions discussed in the manual, Becoming a Master Student, by Dave Ellis are applicable to people in a variety of settings.
When dealing with diverse people look for similarities. Our goals, dreams, and aspirations may be more alike than our skin color. Parenting approaches may differ, but the common bond of a mother and a child crosses
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Stereotypes become a barrier when negative thoughts about a group of people are held rigidly and acted upon.

Prejudice – a negative attitude toward a cultural group based on little or no experience. Stereotypes tell us what a group is like, prejudice tells us how to feel about that group.

Color-blind approach – not to notice race/color. This approach discourages any meaningful conversations about race relations and allows people to ignore, deny, disregard and continue to support the status quo – the existence of racial inequalities. It allows blame to be placed on the minority group.

Discrimination – the behavior that results from stereotyping or prejudice – overt action to exclude, avoid, or distance oneself from other groups. Discrimination may be based on racism or any of the other “isms”, sexism, ageism, and elitism, related to belonging to a cultural group. Discrimination belongs to a more powerful group that holds prejudices toward another less powerful group resulting in actions toward members of that group that are discriminatory.

Tips on Breaking Cultural Barriers

• Become more conscious of the identity groups to which you belong. Identify how the group values influenced the way you perceive other cultural groups. • Become more aware of your own communication in intercultural encounters. Think about the message you are sending, verbally and nonverbally. Think about
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