Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Archive for the ‘stereotyping’ Category

Haj&Islam

Posted by tottietsai on October 29, 2006

I think that many people have a stereotyped about Islam because of Osama Bin Laden and the Terrorist attack. After watching this film, I was very surprised that Muslims have such strong belief to make a pilgrimage to
Mecca. Every year people can see millions of Muslims from the whole world go to
Mecca to worship their God. Every time when I watch this news, I am very impressed on their determination and great belief on their religion. These Muslims
practice what they preach. I am curious about why that they have such strong belief to go to
Mecca and know that they may lose their life through this pilgrimage? Also, I am curious about the black stone and what its significance and role on Islam? Through this film, I have known the Muslims process and some rituals to
Mecca. From their process to
Mecca, I was impressed by the scene that when some of Muslims arrived
Mecca, they burst out a cry. I was very touched by this scene because I can feel that their dissolve on their accomplishment of the pilgrimage. Also, the ritual to throw stone is quite impressed me. I was wondering what ritual’s significance on Islam? Hope I can get answers from you to understand more about the Islam culture. Thank you.

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Posted in media, religion, stereotyping | 3 Comments »

Lots of tidbits of advice on doing business in other cultures

Posted by thuicc on September 26, 2006

Here is some advice from various folks on “How not to be the ‘ugly American'” (or ugly anyone else, perhaps?) when doing business in other cultures. (It’ll open in another window.)

These bits of advice can be helpful, but as one commenter, Miguel, writes, “One must be careful with these tidbits as they can easily transmogrify, as Calvin would say, into STEREOTYPES. Respect is #1. After that, one simply must be observant and careful until one feels more at ease with their knowledge of local customs.”

Posted in business, stereotyping, websites | 3 Comments »

Lotsa responses

Posted by thuicc on October 6, 2005

Here are the responses I made–and some I didn’t get to–in today’s class discussion.

  • Most people got the idea (which I think is true) that Althen has a somewhat “white” view of what Americans are like. He argues in another part of his book that “The predominant ideas, values, and behaviors of “mainstream” Americans are those of the white middle class. People in that category have long held the large majority of the country’s most influential positions. They have been the political and business leaders, the university presidents, scientists, journalists, and novelists who have successfully exerted influence on the society. American culture as talked about in this book, then, has been strongly influenced by white middle-class males.” (xxiv) So he’d argue that what he’s describing is the mainstream of the U.S.
  • As people said, the “Communication Patterns” article gives us a view that while (if Althen is correct) white middle-class males might represent the mainstream, there are a lot of other kinds of groups with different values and practices. Jen used the term “multiple generalizations” to describe the article. As Erica mentioned, there’s a shift between the contrast of Americans with the “outside” world in Althen to looking at contrasts within the U.S. in the “CP” article.
  • As I mentioned, to be fair to Althen, his book contains more than just the chapter on communication styles. But one thing he doesn’t do in his chapter on race and ethnic relations is try to account for racial/ethnic factors that might affect communication styles. (I’ll put this book in the dept library later)
  • Regarding a comment by Evonne about Asian Americans (I think) use of eye contact: what might account for the differences you mention between the article’s description of Asian Americans avoiding eye contact for too long and what you describe as your view that it’s important to look at speakers of elders while they’re talking? (How/where did you learn that it’s polite to do this? I’m thinking of how we might try to figure out what might account for the difference you see.) Ceilia suggested, for instance, that the “experts” who wrote the article might have been coming from the “outside” of the culture, so would see things differently. She also mentioned that the experts might learn things from other experts. (There are a lot of things we could say about that…)
  • Stephanie suggests that Althen is writing with “a pretty high ego” when he describes Americans. What might give you that sense? Any particular passage you could point to?

OK–I could comment a lot more, but this post is already too long! I’ll have more to say later in the semester. (Jennifer’s comment has me thinking about something related to face, for instance…)

Posted in cultural classifications, cultural patterns, identity, race, stereotyping, United States, whiteness | 9 Comments »

Articles about the recent arrest of a foreign English teacher for drug dealing

Posted by thuicc on September 9, 2005

There are several articles that have been written about the recent arrest of Forand Mathieu James, a white Canadian kindergarten teacher in Taipei, for possession and dealing of drugs. The expatriate online magazine POTS has an editorial by David Frazier that argues that one of the important issues coming from this incident is foreigners’ rights in Taiwan. As Frazier puts it,

We should also remember that the wonderful livability of Taiwan is afforded by a general sense of goodwill on the part of most Taiwanese, not the law. Taiwanese law does not guarantee a tremendous number of rights for resident aliens: we are not allowed to own businesses or property under their own names; our dependents do not have the right to work; we are only allowed to work the one job specified by their work permit, not multiple jobs as in most developed countries; we have reduced privileges with banks, telecom accounts, drivers’ licenses, and banks; we cannot form labor unions; and there is no independent review in cases of deportation.

Given the fuzzy legality of most of Taiwan’s systems, a shift in attitude towards “foreign guests” is worrisome (and in fact some of my Taiwanese colleagues have told me they already sense such a shift coming out of the new nationalistic ideas promoted by the DPP). Taiwanese employers routinely tell foreign workers not to worry about work permits, but when there is a problem, the worker is deported while the employer pays a small fine. When the law and goodwill run up against each other, the law always wins.

Frazier expresses disappointment with foreigners who have tried to distance themselves from James. He feels the foreign community in Taiwan should band together to make sure that their rights are protected.

Michael Turton, on the other hand, argues that what is important is that the foreign teacher broke the law, and that what this person has done affects the rest of the foreign (particularly white) community in Taiwan. He concludes that

it is precisely because we recognize that we are a community that we have both the obligation and the responsibility to protect ourselves from thoughtless, self-centered individuals who threaten our livelihoods and position here by removing the protecting hand of that community from them, and withholding approval and support of their behavior.

Posted in conflict, stereotyping, Taiwan, websites | Comments Off on Articles about the recent arrest of a foreign English teacher for drug dealing

Stereotypes about American and Asian Cultures

Posted by thuicc on August 24, 2005

Michael Turton has a good post on his blog, responding to a Taipei Times article about differences in how Euro-Americans and Chinese “process visual data differently”. He exposes some of the dangers of jumping to conclusions about cultures based on a particular kind of study. We’ll read this in class at some point, so check it out!

Update: There’s also a discussion about this article on Savage Minds, an anthropology blog.

Posted in anthropology, Asia, cultural classifications, cultural patterns, stereotyping, websites | Comments Off on Stereotypes about American and Asian Cultures