Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Smashing Stereotypes

A good way to begin to learn about others is to get rid of what you think you already know about them. Here are some common generalizations that you need to jettison:

➤ All Latin cultures hold the siesta inviolate.
➤ Visitors from abroad are eager to be taken to a restaurant that serves what Americans consider to be the visitors’ favorite foods.
➤ Signs and gestures and loud English will bridge language gaps. (Noise never helps, and gestures send various and not always appropriate messages, depending upon the background and traditions of the observer.)
➤ Asians are remote and inscrutable.
➤ Germans are cold and superefficient.
➤ Japanese are basically shy.

If you are visiting another country or are hosting or otherwise spending time with people from other cultures, don’t hesitate to confess your ignorance of other cultures and ask for help. Your candor will be appreciated and your errors more cheerfully tolerated.

No comments: