Intercultural Awareness

  1. Short summary of my conversation and what I learned

For the purposes of this assignment, I interviewed my 56-year-oldmother. After the interview, I classified her in the minimizationstage of cultural awareness. In the words of Bennett, theminimization stage applies to a person who recognizes the culture ofthe minorities but then goes ahead to think that his beliefs are moresuperior because they have a universal appeal. I asked my mother ifthe USA should incorporate Spanish in its school curriculum to enablemany Americans do business with neighboring countries that majorlyspeak Spanish. In response, she said that it was not necessary. Herreason was that English has more speakers in the world than Spanish.Instead, she proposed that schools in Spain should do away withSpanish and adopt English if they wish to do business with the USA.

After a personal evaluation, I would classify myself in theacceptance stage of cultural awareness. I acknowledge the culturaldifferences of minorities, and I do not try to impose my beliefs onthem because I do not perceive my values to be superior to theirs. Ialso understand that one thing in the USA could mean something verydifferent in other cultures. For instance, while it is professionalto bluntly turn down an offer in the USA, in most Asian cultures itcomes off as rude. Instead, they prefer to use phrases such as ‘Iwill think about it’, which in most cases are a polite way ofsaying no. The fact that I respect other people’s cultures alsoqualifies me to belong to this category of intercultural awareness.

  1. Reflections about my own level of intercultural Awareness

The course has helped me change my level of intercultural awarenessby learning what it takes to fall in a certain category of Bennett’sintercultural awareness classification.Although I do not have all thecharacteristics of what it takes to be in the acceptance stage, thiscourse has taught me how to get there. In future, I would like to beat the behavioral adaptation stage where I can take the perspectiveof another culture and operate successfully within that culture.Maybe then I might consider going a notch higher by entering thefinal stage, which Bennett calls integration. The course has alsotaught me how to evaluate the category of intercultural awarenessthat other people fall under.

The reading on Bennett’s levels of intercultural awareness had thegreatest impact on my change in intercultural awareness. It made merealize how most institutions in the USA rank poorly in interculturalawareness. Most institutions in the USA do not consider the culturalpractices and values of minorities and immigrants when formulatingpolicies. The fact that the USA is trying to impose its values ondeveloping countries in the Middle East and Africa, is evidenceenough that our government lacks intercultural awareness.

The section that would have been the most appropriate for my motheris the topic about media-based stereotypes. I chose this sectionbecause she relies too much on the information she receives from thesensationalized media outlets. For instance, when I asked her aboutadopting Spanish in American schools to enable Americans do businesswith neighboring countries she said that Americans do not need to goto those countries because they are run by drug cartels.