Culture entails the knowledge of the characteristics of a particular group, such as language, social behavior, music, art, religion. It is also the aspect of sharing patterns of interactions, behavior, and constructions of socialization. Additionally, culture involves the social behaviors and norms of a society. The aspects of culture include foods, rites of passage, art, gender roles, music, attire, myths, language, religion, and social organizations. Intercultural communication defines the interaction process within two cultural contexts. Defining intercultural communication requires conceptualization of cultural aspects of various cultures. Additionally, the interaction between people from different backgrounds depends on the ethnic, social, religious, and educational features. Culture is important in communication as it builds the basis of interpretation and deconstruction of messages.
The rites of passage vary from culture between cultures. Belonging to a particular culture defines personality and the way people perceive others (Sorrells n.d). The western culture is quite different from the African culture. Africans have a sense of belonging to family and clan system. Interaction depends on the ability of social bodies to communicate. Additionally, the deconstruction of messages relies on the cultural backgrounds and perceptions about other cultures. The main components of culture include
- Languages, which are the instruments used to facilitate message transfer.
- They comprise the thing that is treasured and of great worth.
- Norms, which are things that define what is agreeable and what is not. A norm is a certain way of behavior for a particular community that guides its conformity and interaction.
- They are the conception of what a particular group identifies to be true and bear consequences. Beliefs guide what the people perceive to be right and that which is unacceptable.
- Social institutions. In the society, they are responsible for the authorization of certain activities. Institutions set the modalities of behavior and procedures for issues of law and conformity. Everyone identifies with a group of people from common ancestry. It is the primary agent of socialization starting at childhood. The family setting equips one with a sense of belonging, codes of interaction, construction, and deconstruction of experiences in their environment (Szemand).
The problem with a Caucasian family adopting an African child who has been neglected by the mother may be the lack of ownership in the American societies. The African culture upholds ownership, which may hinder the process of adoption of the kid. African beliefs stipulate that children are a collective responsibility to the society. If the mother is perceived not capable of raising and attending to the child, the extended family takes in the child and supports him or her collectively. The family may reject the request and claim responsibility for their child. In contrast to the African setting, American societies do not have such regard of the family system. The Africa children are considered sources of wealth and prestige; the American ones are not considered so (Macionis and Gerber 43).
People’s different cultural backgrounds shape their personalities. The interaction between two parties requires them to be mindful of the cultural differences to avoid disrespecting other people’s culture. Before proceeding to make a request, it is important that one identifies the culture and its effects on the request.
James, Paul, and Szeman Imre Globalization and Culture, Vol. 3: Global-Local Consumption. London: Sage Publications, 2010.
Macionis, John J, and Gerber Linda M. Sociology. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall. 2011. p. 53.
Sorrells, Kathryn. Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice. Los Angeles: Sage. 2015