Intercultural communication has become very necessary especially in the era of
globalization. People from different parts of the world have been brought together by
international trade and relations. While intercultural communication is of utmost necessity,
people continue to face challenges due to the different cultures that they encounter. Culture
shock is a common phenomenon even as people seek to come together as result of globalization
(Kristin 2011). Geert Hostefede, having written widely on intercultural communication, notes
that it is crucial to have ways of harmonizing intercultural communication.
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Comparison of Culture
Before making a comparative analysis of different cultures, it is imperative to understand
what exactly makes up culture. Culture is a wide encompassing which covers a number of
aspects of a people or society (Franklin et al, 2008). Culture encompasses a people’s way of life,
their customs, beliefs and shared values which are subscribed to all that belong to that society.
Cultures are unique are stand out from all others. It is one of the aspects that make cultures
identifiable and easily distinguishable from the rest. Cultures impact greatly on people and define
among others, their way of thinking. It is however important to appreciate that it is not always
that all people in the society subscribe to the culture. There are others who may not be in full
compliance to the shared values. However, if a majority of people in the society are in
agreement, then that is considered to be the culture of the society.
The American and Asian Cultures
The American society can best be described as a hybrid society as compared to the rest of
the world. Due to the high number of immigrants, America cannot quite be said to have single
pure culture (Jay, 2011). Instead, it is a mixture of cultures with the cultures of immigrants from
different parts of the world. One distinct aspect of the American culture is that it is seen to be
liberal. As compared to the Asian culture for instance, the American culture is out there. The
manner in which people conduct themselves in America can be described as liberal yet modest.
This means they re is pretty much freedom in doing what one chooses yet there are limits.
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The American culture is also seen to be one that is exposed. Often, it is this culture that
has been used as a pace setter and benchmark for other cultures which are otherwise considered
subtle. The Asian culture is very subtle yet very strict. There is very strict adherence to the
culture which then dictates not only the way of life but also other aspects such as religion. In
Asian culture, culture is closely tied to religion (Jay, 2011). The two largely influence each other
with the culture playing a major. Culture in the Asian region is so strict that religion is no longer
a separate aspect. It is part and parcel of the culture among the Asian people. In such a case,
when there is interaction of Asians and American culture, there is tendency to have a sort of
confusion. On one hand, Asians residing in America would want to fit in the American culture.
Yet, they would not want to abandon their core culture. It becomes very difficult to blend.
Cultural pluralism refers the right of various groupings of ethnic nature to have an own
identity in the midst of a large culture. This concept advocates for autonomy of these groups
regardless of how minor they may be (Franklin, 2008). The groupings are allowed to retain their
culture and heritage without the pressure to be assimilated by the large culture. Cultural
pluralism in America has been an issue of debate and discussion for a number of years (Bennet,
2015). In the spirit of having one large united country, there have been suggestions that all
different cultures of the world should be assimilated and melted down to be part of the large
American culture. The concept of ‘Melting pot’ advances the argument that there ought to exist
one large culture known as the American culture. By accepting assimilation, this ideally means
that all other cultures should be given up in favor of the large culture. The American culture is
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believed to have a trait of all the other cultures and such assimilation is not seen as total
abandonment of one’s culture.
The way forward in this matter is to adopt cultural pluralism where all cultures are
allowed to be. There is unity and variance in diversity. It is the diversity of cultures that makes
the world what it is. However, as Hostefede notes, it is imperative to have a way of managing
intercultural communication. People from one culture while interacting to interact with people
from a different culture are likely to suffer culture shock. This means the inability to blend and
freely interact as they are not well acquainted with the culture. Intercultural communication is
inevitable in the wake of globalization. As such, societies must find a common ground that will
promote cultural interaction.
Bennet, J. (2015). Martin Luther King and the struggle for economic justice. Beyond Chron: The
voice of the rest
Franklin, et al (2008). One America in the 21 st century: forging a new future. Washington DC.
Jay Gregory (2011). What is multi-culturalism? Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin.
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Kristin, P. (2011). Critical analysis of Hostefede’s model of cultural dimensions.