Perception of Proper Communication in Mexico
Communication is greatly influenced by a vast amount of cultures around the world. The differences in these cultures affect the way people live their lives and perceive one another. It is important to understand and learn the different types of culture and how the history of these cultures impact communication with people around the world. Comparison of countries and their ways of life allow people to understand and correctly learn how to properly communicate and display respect to different ethnicities or nationalities. Mexico is one country that displays many differences from the United States in their cultural beliefs and lifestyles. There is also much similarity in some practices compared to the United States. Culture can be defined as an established set of beliefs, values, attitudes, and practices shared by a large group of people (McCornack & Morrison). Culture is practiced and learned from birth. There are many things that impact culture such as ethnicity and age. It is a shared concept that is passed on from one group of family or kinship to another. Mexico offers a broad understanding of the impact their culture has on communication. This paper will distinguish the culture of Mexico and how it is shared, taught, and lived.
Communication can be perceived very differently in Mexico versus America. American people tend to be more direct with emotions and ideas, where the Mexican people are highly influenced by an indirect form of communicating with one another. The concept “display rules” is basically a set of rules or guidelines for how to show emotion or pose gestures. People cannot assume that the communication is the same for them as it is for those of a different culture. Mexico is a country which practices high-uncertainty avoidance. This is a concept that appreciates structure and control. (McCornack & Morrison). They rely on a strict structure that is clear and organized. For example, people of Mexico believe in both women and men working in the household. Work is a structured environment with clear roles and responsibilities that are assigned and set without change. The practice of world-mindedness is important when communicating with others of different ethnicity or nationality. This is a practice that you possess when you have respect for another culture and their values. (McCornack & Morrison). In order to use world-mindedness, people must reflect on their own culture, values, and beliefs and avoid from judging others as less than important than their own. Stereotyping others creates a non-valid perception of culture. Often times people assuming stereotypes have a great amount of confidence due to the beliefs of their ideas to be accurate and valid. When forming a perception of someone that has different cultural beliefs, it is important to avoid forming a stereotype by studying that culture and developing factual information. Mexico is considered a high-power-distance culture. This is when people of a higher status or education are given up most respect and professional treatment. A learned aspect of culture, children of Mexican culture are taught at a very young age to obey their elders and avoid argument even after they are considered adults. Compared to American culture, children are considered somewhat equal once they are established into adulthood. Understanding the diversity that exists between two different cultures can unite a foundation of intercultural communication.
Mexico is a country that has strong cultural roots and pre-historic background. As mentioned by McCornack and Morrison, culture is not something that exists at birth. It is learned, practiced, and then lived. Culture is one word used to describe a broad set of beliefs and practices. Mexican culture strongly recognizes family as one the most important aspects of life. Family is considered first before anything else. Mexico is divided into cultures and then sub-cultures with similar practices. In American culture, family is considered important but sometimes it is seen as a second priority, with work and other events of life being more important. Mexico can be categorized as a collectivistic culture, meaning they stray away from focusing on themselves and put others or groups into front focus. Opposed to collectivistic culture, American culture is more individualistic, and communication is more direct with the focus being on self and personal achievement. Culture appoints set rules from the moment of birth.
Interpersonal communication involves many forms of communication such as a handshake, eye contact, or the use of silence. It is important to understand how attributional complexity affects how cultures are viewed and analyzed. The most effective way to practice attributional complexity is to observe people of a different culture and determine how they are displaying their behaviors and what influences their practices. Along with observation, interaction with people can reveal the style of communication they prefer. For example, in American culture, people are direct speakers and may greet someone they meet by saying “Hello” and exchanging a smile while shaking their hand. Mexican culture is more subtle and approaching others is not as direct. Culture is influenced by the elements passed on from one generation to another and is taught to ensure the shaping of personal values. Enculturation is defined as a process by which communication is taught. Again, culture is not something people are born with. It is taught, learned, and practiced. In Mexican culture, people learn what they like and prefer by choosing among cultural elements introduced and available to them from birth.
When using intercultural communication among different cultures, it is beneficial to be aware of negative reactions from the people engaged in that situation. Taking precaution of negative reactions allows us to avoid anger provoking behavior and cultural barriers. “The ability to dig under the surface and find out what the underlying values are. That is how you know how to communicate with people.”
In conclusion, I have learned that cultural differences are greatly influenced by the use of communication. It is important to understand how to effectively communicate with others because the world is so diverse and groups of people that shape the countries in which we live are steadily growing. Mexican culture impacts American people every day with their unique styles and practices. Practicing empathy and intercultural competence with respect to others will allow people to appreciate cultural background. Challenges evolve when other’s beliefs and practices are non-favorable or different to their own. It is acceptable to have those differences in the American culture because of the right to freedom, whereas other countries have strict rules to confine to their norm. The alternative could result in punishment in some cultures. There is no right or wrong when it comes to culture. What may be acceptable to one culture may be offensive to another because of the way it is perceived. This is the definition of “difference.” English language is considered one of the most challenging languages to learn and adapt to due to the broad amount of slang it is composed of. With verbal language being the main mode of communication, it can often be misinterpreted from time to time and cause confusion in other cultures. Language between different people is only one of many barriers that exists when trying to communicate with others. In current society, people of American culture struggle with interpersonal communication with each other. There are many differences and beliefs that exist within American culture. There are world leaders that are the main communicators within groups of American people. As with any culture, these leaders influence the people by teaching them ways in which to behave and ideas to believe.
The country is molded and guided by these leaders that value independence. A great amount of communication through social media in America also proves to influence the lack in effective interpersonal interaction. It is interesting to see ourselves in the eyes of others and how it affects the ways in which we communicate with one another. By gaining a view of ourselves and opening the ways in which we perceive others will allow us to better appreciate culture and human interaction. The act of disrespecting others’ beliefs and ideas because they are not our own causes cultural feud. It is acceptable, however, to have different viewpoints in a way that doesn’t show ethnocentrism. To better gain understanding of different cultures, people should be inquisitive and curious rather than presumptuous or egotistical. New relationships and friendships can be created if we can embrace the idea of cultural difference and respect one another instead of pushing others away. Imagine how much we could learn from each other of different cultures if we made it a priority to understand differences in others and appreciate the unique aspects they can bring to the world.
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