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Intercultural conflict - Essay Example

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He is an Arab immigrant, and he lives with his family. We passed by two women wearing Islamic clothes, which appears uncomfortable to me since it was the summer season. I…
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Reading Response Paper: Negotiating Intercultural Conflict Intercultural Conflict Scenario I remember an intercultural conflict that I experienced some time ago with a friend from the neighborhood. He is an Arab immigrant, and he lives with his family. We passed by two women wearing Islamic clothes, which appears uncomfortable to me since it was the summer season. I said, “It is illogical to wear something like that when it is hot. I wonder why people in hot countries agree to suffer under such clothes.” The comment was purely innocent, but my friend got offended. In my defense, I completely forgot that he was from a hot place where people wear heavy fabrics, and he is a Muslim. He took it as if I was ridiculing a practice he deems acceptable and logical.
He asked, “What did you gain from such comment?” I was caught off-guard, and failed to see the root cause immediately. He also said that I got annoyed because I realized that there are so many immigrants in my country already. I was shocked because that topic was over a week ago already. He also said I was just against their practices and beliefs. My friend received the meta-message of what was supposed to be a casual and innocent remark negatively. Here, it is obvious that the individual differences between the sender and the receiver of the message affect how the meta-message (underlying meaning of the message) is interpreted.
Analysis of the Conflict
The conflict had micro, meso, and macro dimensions of conflict (Sorrells 182). The micro dimension is the difference in the ways we were raised. He failed to see the lightness in my comment because he is not used to careless remarks. He was brought up in a serious manner, while I grew up in a very open and light-hearted family circle. There are even times when he takes jokes seriously, because he does not know that it was supposed to be a joke. The meso dimension is his linking himself to immigrants. It seems like he sees Americans as coming from a different group, and that immigrants will always be outsiders. Interestingly, that is how he thinks Americans think of them. The macro dimension is the differences in our religions. My friend sees the Islamic garb as something important and logical, and he took offense on how lightly and jokingly I referred to it. It is insensitivity on my part, though, not to have considered this.
Suggestions in Minimizing Intercultural Conflict
While there may be three dimensions present in this intercultural conflict, the solution, basically, is in the careful sending and interpretation of the meta-messages in every communication. Being careful means not letting assumptions hinder one from seeing what the sender of the message is trying to say. Being careful also means to empathize with the differences in cultures and understanding. Being careful could also mean not giving in to the herd mentality and not drawing a line between one’s self and others. Being careful also means acting in culturally sensitive ways to avoid situations where one would unintentionally attack someone’s person, culture, and dignity. When the blunder is already done, especially in close relationships, a simple apology for the unintended words can resolve the conflict.
Work Cited
Sorrells, Kathryn. Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice. Thousand
Oaks, Calif: SAGE, 2013. Print. Read More
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