CULTURAL COMMUNICALTION VALUES AND INTTERCULTURAL 2
Cultural Communication Values and Intercultural Communication Challenges
Grand Canyon University
June 10, 2018
Often the concepts of stereotyping and ethnocentrism are two terms with similar meanings that many people use interchangeably. However, the two terms have diverse meanings. For instance, ethnocentrism refers to the tendency of a given individual or a group of persons to judge others by comparing it with their own culture which in most cases they tend to believe is the superior one. When various individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds live together concepts such as ethnocentrism are hard to do away with since biases, quarrels and other forms of misunderstanding are always inevitable. On the other hand, stereotyping involves a given form of generalization by one individual or group of individuals on others by only observing how a small sample of the population behaves. The act can be from a negative perspective or sometimes from a negative perspective (Rudman et al., 2007). For instance, when one says that all Christians are good, he or she might have just interacted with one good individual and hence this influenced their generalization. The two terms, however, have similar implications especially when they are acting in the same direction. For instance, negative stereotyping and ethnocentrism will lead to conflicts between individuals when they are not resolved in time.
An article titled “What is wrong with Christians” by John Gehring illustrates how the media is holding stereotypes against the white Christians in America. The article is aimed at giving the readers information on the allegedly white Christians they believe are getting troubled (Gehring, 2017). The articles outline a research outcome that shows that Christians relate someone’s poverty to their laziness twice as more than atheists and other individuals will relate. Although this is their point of view, it is clear that the media is stereotyping them and want them to fit their expectations on the same matters. In their own view, they expected the Christians to conform to the majority by saying that the individual’s poverty is brought about by the difficult circumstances that are being undergone by the US citizens at the moment. Another concrete example of a stereotype that is held by the US media about Christians is portrayed in a Television Series called Impastors. The TV series shows the main character as an individual who is not sincere about the church but still is the lead pastor (Vane, 2015). In short, the media has the stereotype that many people who pretend to be leaders in the church are not whom they think they are but instead, they are bad people.
INDIVIDUALISM VS. COLLECTIVSIM VALUE ORIENTATION
There are differences between the media stereotypes and research findings regarding Christianity. One of the value orientations that can help people in this comparison is individualism versus collectivism. Individualism is an ideology that dictate that every individual is self-reliant. On the other hand, collectivism is an ideology that views an individual as an entity belonging to a social group such as a race, a nation or a social class (Derek, 2013). Media stereotype presents Christianity as a culture that follows the collectivist ideology. In most cases, these stereotypes will portray Christians working together as a collective group towards a common good. Church organizations organize community get together gatherings where members of the church meet to talk about Christianity. Media stereotypes have this notion that church leaders steal from their congregation by asking for offerings and tithes. This stereotype is trying to explain the concept of individualism in Christianity whereby church leaders are selfish and want to get rich by stealing from the church members. Regarding research findings, various statistical reports show that Christianity does not embrace collectivism, but rather it embraces individualism (Khaldun, n.d.). This is because Christians are free to make their own choices without the influence of Christianity. For instance, the individuals will take various career paths independently. This shows that the culture does not fight the individualistic nature of people.
MASCULINITY VS. FEMINITITY VALUE ORIENTATION
Another value orientation that we can use to contrast media stereotypes and research findings is femininity versus masculinity. Femininity refers to a set of characteristics that categorize a person as a woman. On the other hand, masculinity refers to factors associated with a man. A common stereotype about this orientation is that church leaders should be men because men hold most leadership position in various aspects of society Therefore, men will offer good leadership positions in the church. Another stereotype is that the Bible instructs women to serve but not to lead. According to research, there are several Christian organizations where top leaders are women. In fact, men elect them to take leadership positions. Moreover, it is not accurate to say that women are afraid of men. Instead, some churches do not permit women to take leadership roles.
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION CHALLENGES
Mass-mediated stereotypes may have an impact on communication between people and a member of Christianity. The impact may be both negative and positive. One of the effects is that there may be a communication breakdown. It occurs when the stereotype is negatively describing the member of Christianity. The stereotype that Christians are superficial in that they have little knowledge about their beliefs can have a negative impact on our communication. If people take this stereotype as truth and discuss it with another member, he or she will not be happy about it and therefore there will be a breakdown in communication. Another effect is that mass-mediated stereotype may encourage long talks. Some stereotypes are deep and spark long conversation between Christians. One of these stereotypes is that Christians are judgmental. In this context, a judgmental person believes that he or she is better than other people. With such as stereotype, people can engage in a long talk with another Christian. People can discuss on the reason why someone thinks Christians are judgmental. If there is some truth in the stereotype, then people have to determine the reason why some Christians are judgmental (Greenwald et al., 1995).
Derek, R. (2013). IS CHRISTIANITY INDIVIDUALISTIC OR COLLECTIVIST? “YES” – C.S. LEWIS AND J. GRESHAM MACHEN. Retrieved from https://derekzrishmawy.com/2013/01/03/is-christianity-individualistic-or-collectivist-yes-c-s-lewis-and-j-gresham-machen/
Gehring, J. (2017). What is wrong with the Christians? Retrieved from https://religionnews.com/2017/08/10/what-is-wrong-with-white-christians/
Greenwald, A. G., & Banaji, M. R. (1995). Implicit social cognition: attitudes, self-esteem, and stereotypes. Psychological Review, 102(1), 4.
Khaldun, A. (n.d.). Individualism vs. Collectivism. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/3466861/Individualism_vs._Collectivism
Rudman, L. A., & Ashmore, R. D. (2007). Discrimination and the implicit association test. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 10(3), 359-372.
Vane, C., (Writer). (2015). Impastors [Television series]. TV land.