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RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

Donnalayha Cook The Necessity of Cross Cultural and Intercultural communication Norfolk State University Cultural Immersion Program Jaipur, India

RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

The world is a complex arena. Biochemically all humans are 99.9% similar to any other humans, yet culturally its immeasurably assorted (Wikipedia). Culture involves the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group (Merriam-Webster, 2014). Also it can be described as the characteristic features of everyday existence shared by people in a place or time (Merriam-Webster, 2014). It doesnt take much to recognize the overwhelming diversity that humans have generated through cultures. Despite the fact that modern humans are a single species, Homo sapiens, the World Fact book recognizes that there are 267 separate geographic entities (2013). One can think of this figure as 267 distinct groups humans have categorized their selves in. Furthermore, it can be assumed that each of these entities have at least a single mainstream culture in which hundreds of other subcultures spring from. Through time, all of them continue to be influenced, added to, changed and or erased. History and current events show as few as two entities needed to trigger world tension. Brief periods of communication errors stir up peaceful protests, petitions, media frenzies, and public debates, yet prolonged ones inflame riots, spread messages of hate, popularize skewed propaganda, overwhelm a nation with hopelessness, give way to economic downturns, and wage wars. The consequences of compromised lines of communication can be dire. Intercultural and Cross-cultural communication is the keystone to breaking stereotypes, misinformation or ignorance between cultures. When two individuals from varying cultures engage in open dialogue about each others culture, that is referred to as intercultural communication. Unlike cross-cultural communication physical interaction between members of varying cultures is necessary as it provides first hand experiences. The approaches are different from one another; nevertheless, they are more efficient if they are used in combination. The next

RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

section of the work analyzes examples which are broke into relatable terms and practical implications. A group of American students are given the task of submitting two problems to an Indian delegation. It should be a pertinent issue in which they feel citizens and/or the government should address immediately. They agreed that womens equality and safety was a priority. Secondly, they settled upon the need to drastically improve the distribution and quality of water. After solidifying the problems, an ambassador travels to India to present the suggestions to the Indian student delegation. Even though intercultural communication does not require two cultures to be within spatially proximity, the ambassadors are utilizing intercultural communication by engaging in open conversation their global counterpart. We live in a world where executing ideas are more difficult than deriving them. So for their next task the representatives reside in India, becoming culturally educated in an effort to implement the suggestions. This is an instance where cross-cultural communication is exercised when through students have the ability to explore their environment, shed their interpretation of what norm is and gaining personal experiences. The student ambassadors are faced with securing womens rights in a country that has 37 million more men than women (Trivedi & Timmons 2013). Because it is the sons who carry the name and legacy of a family, for years, parents have been aborting their baby daughters (2013). The shortage of brides makes women the target of human trafficking markets, rapes, and violent crimes. This is much different from the scenario in America where women were mainly thought of as feeble creatures incapable of financial competency, intellectual thought or the matched physical, mental and emotional strength of a man. Not only does India require rebalance to its disproportional demographic trend, its essential that their feminist movement emphasizes the

RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

humanistic introspect where greater worth is placed on the individual verses the superficial gender roles. The second task at hand is just as difficult as the first because the solution involves multiple reforms. Currently, Indians utilize filters or rely on bottled water to obtain clean drinking water. However, Indias water and waste system is dilapidated and pose structural and health concerns. An entirely new system would be needed in order to compensate for the whole population. One decision that must be made is what kind of technology would be used to rebuild and regulate a compressive, long lasting system. There may also be a concern as to whether that type of technology is accessible. Even if India had the access to the technology, it would take a substantial quantity of money to build. Planning the route of the system would be meticulous but if done correctly could be a cash cow in housing and business development. On the contrary, digging up streets in an already tightly populated country will limit the publics mobility. The new construction will increase the demand for employees, but will the supply be available? There would be a boom in fields such as: urban planning, construction, research and development, welding, marketing, administration and management and STEM related fields. When used in combination, inter-cultural and cross-cultural communication is an insightful tool for reform. It allows one to target the issue, recognize underlining cultural boundaries, and address the problem in a manner that is culturally sensitive. You may read that India has a large population, but you wont feel the overwhelming sensation of quickly being surrounded by a group of people. The American representative who traveled to India represented the MACCAE scholars who for two months participated in a cultural immersion program based in Rajasthan, India. Through person to person interaction and ongoing conversations they learned more than what the program had outlined. They excelled in their Hindi language intensive, became adjusted to

RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

cultural norms and traditional attire. When faced with controversial stereotypes, they were resilient. Nonetheless, they experienced authentic coexistence and tolerance. Formal instruction was an integral part of the program as students spent thirty plus hours a week in the classroom. The Hindi alphabet utilizes Devanagari Script. It consists of thirty three consonants, eleven vowels, written from right to left, does not have any letter cases and has a distinct horizontal line that runs above the letters. The phonetic language is very systematic and relies heavily on articulation in two ways. The first is the point of articulation. This refers to how the speech organs come into contact with one another to obstruct the air in some way in order to produce sound (Alosh, M., & Clark, 2010). The second manner of articulation refers to the ways in which the articulation of a sound is performed; literally know as stops and nasals. They can be described as the amount of air one expels from his or her mouth, stops, or nose, nasals. The instructors explained their manner of articulation contributes to their distinct accents when speaking English. The amount of air used during pronunciation is always planned and controlled. In addition, the W sound does not exist. The closest constant in the American alphabet that Hindi utilizes is the one made by the letter V. For the point of articulation the tip of the tongue in touches just behind the alveolar ridge and it produces a sound between the English v and w. The variation between languages corresponds with image one. The sign in India says Veight Watcher, yet in American the sign would read Weight Watchers.

Image 1

RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

Classroom instruction gave students the foundation to write and speak Hindi. Still, it was their choice to continue learning outside the classroom. If one wanted to get from point A to point B they had to not only inform the auto or rigshaw driver of their intended destination but also barter for the fare. Ordinary to India, bartering or hassling consists of two parties persistently going back and forth over the cost of something. In India it was usual for the seller or individual offering the service would drive up the price to a ridiciulous amount and it was the buyers duty to drive down the price to a resonable amount. Another cultural norm is associated with this process, yet it is subtle. To indicate that the auto driver has agreed upon the fare he would tilt his head ever so slightly so that the ear would go towards one shoulder. The movement is synonomous with the Ameican gesture of saking hands indicating you have a dea or they have agreed upon the terms and conditions. Unrecognizable to a first time traveler, students would reconfirm the price two or three times, waiting on a verbal answer or gesture that was familiar. Cultural norms can easly be misinterpreted as deceiteful such as inflating prices or go unnoticed such as as slight nonverbal cues. These are the moments where intercultural communication does not extend. Its like a textbok; they do not do justice in gaining culturral experiences. Books will discuss major similarities or extreme difference. However, it does not have enough pages to explain the subtle ones. But say that texts were infinite and one had the ability to read it all, the experience would not have been the same. If someone had read about it, it would be inpersonal. The individual wouldnt have felt the mild humor you felt as you repetiedly asked the same question and unbenknowst to you it was answered on every occasion. Cross-cultural experiences allows one to become invested and aware of situations (the head nod) while intercultural communication allows one to inform others that such occurences exist (the book). Image two shows how a typical auto looks.

RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

Image 2 What would a visit to India be without wearing the traditional attire. Particularly the female garment, sari, was the most intrguing. It is a long measured fabric bearing a print or embellishment thats wrapped around the waist and one end over the shoulder exposing the midrift. Unlike American culture, it is not the mid drift that indicates signs of being unlady-like it is the shoulders which ar covered by a blouse worn under the sari. In image 3.1 (left), one can observe that the traditional Rajastani attire to also includes long pleaded skirt and a longer blouse than the one wore with a sari. Its also popular to dress the arms, seen in both images,with bangles so they sit colorfully together.

RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

Image 3.1 Rajastani Suit

Image 3.2 Sari

Also what may be considered as unprofessional in America, nose rings are common amoung both elder and younger Indian women. A peirced left nose traditionally indicates that women resides in North India. The right one indicates you are from the south. Getting ones nose pierced in India differs from how one goes about getting it in America. Where in America a tool is used to puncture the skin and then insert the jewlery, in India the nose pin has an unusually long length where the metal is striped so that it is sharpened. Enough so that that is what pierces the skin. The sharp extension is then cut off and what is left is bent with a pair of pliers to ensure that the jewlery is secure. From personal experience there was no steralization of thr jewlery or practice of wearing gloves yet suprisingly the proceedure was painless. Upon leaving I realized navigating my way home would be just as difficult as finding the shop as it was located in a different section of Jaipur I had never ventured to. After the shop keeper assisted me with direction he asked where are you from, Africa. In America that would be considered as a racist comment, yet suprisingly many Indians do not equate my skin color as American. This is odd being that most knew our president is Barak Obama, the first African

RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

American president in under the American Constitution. A reason for this oversight is because there is a lack of cross cultural exchange between African American and Indians. Students were able to make this assumption as soon as we arrived at the airport in Delhi. Many Indians were candidly snapping photos of us and feeling while our hair texture when we werent paying attention. The disconnection of realizing that African Americans are also American was uncomfortable because we African American and Indians have a cultural similarity. Several cosmetic companies, had commericals that featured skin lightening lotions, soaps and make-up products as apart of their core selling feature. In my opinion, these heavily advertised products are endorsing the inferority complex where more value is placed on lighter skin while darker skin is less desirable. Nevertheless, I consider India to be a country where many co-existence and tolerance prevails. There are camels, elephants, horses, pigs, peacocks, monkeies, goats, dogs, cats and cows that walk on the same tirft as you. Day by day these animals go unbothered as would you. There is no outrage that they inhabit the same city limits. In contrast, American are adgitated by the neighbors dog who is walked unleash or barks too loud or too often. Human-animal coexistence is astonishing as is the human-to-human ones. Indian is home to Hindus, Muslims, Budist and Christian. They have serparate places of worship yet equal respect to one another. Thats what intercultural and cross-cltural communication aims to do.

RUNNING Head: THE NESSECITY OF CROSS CULTURAL AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

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References Alosh, M., & Clark, A. (2010). Ahlan wa sahlan: Functional modern standard Arabic for beginners. New Haven: Yale University Press. Merriam Webster Incorporated (2014). Culture - Definition and More from the Free MerriamWebster Dictionary. In Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/culture

The World Factbook. (2013). Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-worldfactbook/docs/notesanddefs.html Trivedi , A., & Timmons, H. (2013, January). Indias Man Problem [Web log post]. Retrieved from india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/indias-man-problem/?_r=0 Wikipedia (2013, December). Human genetic variation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved September 15, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_genetic_variation