Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication

Critical Response (Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication)

Cultural identity and diversity is a major source of conflicts the world over. Misunderstandings concerning different cultural beliefs and the culturally labeled stereotypes have formed barriers among communities preventing the building of a culturally integrated world community. Many studies have shown widespread cases of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia and homophobia (Bergmann, 2008).

In Bergmann’s article, ’Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Europe: A Comparative Perspective’, the author analyzes the attitude expressed towards the Jewish community in Europe. Unlike other minority groups in Europe, the Jews face more segregation owing to the stereotype created about them in reference to the past association with the communities there, particularly, Germany and Austria, countries that were involved in the Holocaust.

Since the 19th century, prejudice against the Jewish community has not changed much with a general perception being that they are economically and politically powerful and a threat to other world communities. The article depicts that like other conspiracy theories, the anti-Semitic propositions are part of justifications pointing to social challenges facing the world resulting from globalization such as unemployment and poverty.

The segregator perception and attitude created against the Jewish community is used as a justification for their persecution. The propaganda is also used to remove guilt in the perpetrators who persecuted the Jews in yester years (Bergmann, 2008).

The anti-Semitic attitude expressed towards the Jews is a form of community-focused enmity or a prejudice directed against minority groups. The Jews have not been known to reject interacting with other communities or initiating conflicts. Furthermore, in their small numbers in the foreign countries, the Jews influence is minimal as compared to that postulated by past history.

For this reason, they are regarded as outsiders. The attitude is also used to build national esteem by the nations they were persecuted. The Middle East conflict pitting Israel and Palestine has also influenced the attitude towards the Jews in Israel (Bergmann, 2008).

Brian Gabrial’s article on ‘The Second American Revolution’ examines the presentation of Canadian identity by Canadian newspapers, The Globe and The Gazette in 1861 in reference to the revolution. The publications brought to the fore themes on Canadian identity, her liberal and conservative politics, attitude towards the American democracy and the Canadian populace fears towards the military structuring of the American leadership.

Intercultural conflicts resulted in a fierce civil war which would change Canada’s identity. The article brings out the attitudes the Canadians harbor against the Americans. The author of Imaginary Canadian, Tony Wilden says that the Canadians view the Americans with negative and positive attitudes in equal measure. Cultural identity is depicted as a major issue in any society (Gabrial, 2008).

The newspapers gave a British identity to Canada in reference to the nation’s close association with elementary British politics, diplomacy and socio-cultural trends. The expressions by the journalists and editors of these newspapers reveal the importance attached to racial and cultural identity.

The articles show the existence of suspicion between America and Canada, and the never ending desire by the Canadians to curve their own identity and not appear as a subsidiary of the greater American community. The author tries to use the newspaper articles to address a vital topic on what gives a nation her identity and sovereignty.

In the search for an independent identity after the civil war, Canada faced an enormous challenge in shifting from a British identity she adopted before the war to a new identity following confederation structuring. The internal tussle arose due to existence of both French and British-speaking communities within Canada as well as the geographical location that would categorize them more easily as Americans (Gabrial, 2008).

In ‘Cultural conflicts of the child-centered approach to early childhood education in Taiwan’, the authors discuss the cultural conflicts surrounding the adoption of western education model in Taiwanese preschools. The child-centered approach appears as a foreign concept and arguments against its use arise from the liberation accorded to the learner.

The freedom given to the child is meant to create a sense of responsibility but opponents argue that it goes against the conventional culturally acceptable model of disciplining a child. The approach seems to give privileges to a particular class and maligning those from different cultural backgrounds and socially disadvantaged children (Lee & Tseng, 2008).

Opponents of the model claim that the freedom and self-governance it presents is a foreign concept and a reserve for a certain cultural background. The implantation of such a model to be a globally accepted practice requires a more thorough analysis of its impacts on the different cultural structures of a certain people.

The Taiwanese situation has aroused cultural conflicts owing to the marked distinctions between the eastern and the western formation and up bringing of a child. The aura of self governance as proposed by the model gives children too much freedom which could destroy their behavioral set ups. It is important that adoption of a successful cultural tool in a certain environment considers the impact of its application in a different environment to avoid conflicts arising (Lee & Tseng, 2008).

References

Bergmann, W. (2008). Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Europe: A Comparative Perspective. Journal of Social Issues, 64(2). pp. 343-362.

Gabrial, B. (2008).”The Second American Revolution”: Expressions of Canadian Identity in News Coverage at the Outbreak of the United States Civil War. Canadian Journal of Communication, 33: 21-37.

Lee, I & Tseng, C. (2008). Cultural conflicts of the child-centered approach to early childhood education in Taiwan. The Hong Kong institute of education.28 (2): 183-196.