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Confronting  Ethnocentrism:    The Key toDeveloping Cultural   Competence     Dennis White, Ph.D.      dkwhite@itol.com
This presentation is available on line at            www.yeoresources.org• A complete program that teaches the concepts  o...
This presentation is available on line at            www.yeoresources.org• A 45 minute training DVD on Understanding  Cult...
The key to a successfulexchange program is  understanding culture
The key to understandingculture is understanding     ethnocentrism
The keys to understanding   ethnocentrism are:1. Actively looking for cultural   differences2. Accepting those differences...
CultureAn integrated system oflearned behavior patterns thatare characteristic of any givensociety.It refers to the total ...
Any given society refers to any group to which we belong that teaches us how to behave. Examples include:• Nations• Ethnic...
Why does culture matter?The vast majority of failedexchanges have at their base theinability to understand and adjustto cu...
Why does culture matter?But the reasons are often seen assomething else – “personalitydifferences” lack of interest fromth...
Why does culture matter?Our inability, as YEOs, tounderstand and adjust to culturaldifferences can interfere with everyasp...
Why does culture matter?  • Selection  • Placement  • Orientation  • In-country problems  • Early returns
The best preparation Iknow is to try tounderstand the conceptof culture and the idea ofcultural differences
Think of culture as thelens through which youview the world
If you are color blind, youcannot see certain colors,no matter how hard youtry
If you are “culture blind”,you cannot see manydimensions of othercultures, no matter howhard you try
Ethnocentrism:The universal tendency forany culture to see its ownvalues and practices asnatural and correct.
Versailles
Ethnocentrism:The universal tendency forany culture to see its ownvalues and practices asnatural and correct.
• In some ways, all people  are alike• In some ways, people are  like others in their group• In some ways people are  unique
• Universal• Cultural• Individual
The most common ethnocentricassumption is that we cantranslate literally from onelanguage to another, whichleads to both h...
What do they mean?• On the door of a Moscow hotelroom:• If this is your first visit toRussia, you are welcome to it.•   Ou...
What do they mean?• The Minister unveiled the churchs newtithing (giving) campaign slogan lastSunday:     "I Upped My Pled...
• In Mexico it was translated as “The Rebel  Novice Nun”• The Sound of Music• In the Czech Republic it was translated as  ...
At the very minimum, confrontingethnocentrism teaches us thatthere is almost always more thanone way to see something.This...
• Universal• Cultural• Individual
Example: Eating Food• Everyone eats – Universal• Different groups eat different foods – in  different ways – Cultural• Som...
Normal Distribution of Any                 Cultural TraitFrequency                     Amount of Trait
Comparing Two Cultures              (on any given trait)In this example, there is some overlap, but the two cultures are  ...
Think of culture as thelens through which youview the world
The Cultural IcebergConscious                   1/8th abovebehaviors                   the surfaceUnconscious             ...
• Universal• Cultural• Individual
Dancing
Ethnorelativism:The acquired ability to seemany values, beliefs andbehaviors as cultural ratherthan universal.
Universal vs. Cultural•   Greetings are universal•   How we greet is mostly cultural     Shake hands     Wave     Bow     ...
Universal vs. Cultural•   Greetings are universal•   How we greet is mostly cultural     Shake hands     Wave     Bow     ...
How high should one Waiwhen greeting a Thai?The answer that comes at usIs it depends on their status
Bhichai Rattakul, RIPresident,Thailand     2002-03
Nationally famous Australian cricketplayer Dennis Lilee, when introduced toHer Majesty Queen Elizabeth simply, andsincerel...
The Australians are really quite naïve when it comes to greeting people.They treat everyone exactly the same!
“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being like you. ...
Developing culturalcompetence meansconfronting theexperience of differenceNot the experience ofsimilarities
But in a new culture, withdifferences that make usuncomfortable …That is exactly what we do!
In order to feel comfortable we:1. Focus on other Inbounds (the   Inbound Syndrome), and2. Maintain excessive contact   ba...
Hidden Values beneath the        surface• Respect for age• Proximity (personal space –  closeness or distance)• Informality
Assumption: Informality = Comfortability. Reality: In some culturesFormality = Comfortability.
• Respect for age• Proximity (personal space –  closeness or distance)
Culture ShockThe profound sense ofdisorientation and discomfortthat comes with extended travelor living in a foreign cultu...
Kalvero Oberg• Finnish Parents• Born in Canada• Studied in USA• Led a career as a teacher and international  aid expert – ...
Stages of Culture Shock:•   Initial enthusiasm and excitement•   Irritability and negativism•   Gradual adjustment and ada...
Because Ethnocentrism isusually unconscious, it is rarelyintentional.That is we rarely start outtrying to be ethnocentric
Culture ShockThe profound sense ofdisorientation and discomfortthat comes with extended travelor living in a foreign cultu...
Culture Shock is stressfulUnder stress we fall back to old behavior - Ethnocentrism
When are we most stressed?        •   Hungry        •   Angry        •   Lonely        •   Tired        H.A.L.T.
These principles apply to anyintercultural experience, not justYouth Exchange• GSE Training• World Community Service• Gene...
Examples of Irritability and Negativism• If they mean “no” why don’t they say “no”?• Why don’t they just tell me what some...
Example: Floor elevation (unevensurfaces)• In the USA and Canada – floors going between  rooms are almost always on the sa...
Example: Floor elevation (unevensurfaces)• In the USA and Canada – floors going between rooms  are almost always on the sa...
Studying the concept ofculture requires confrontingEthnocentrism      – again and again
As H.A.L.T. increases• Our tendency to think and behave  Ethnocentrically increases• Our ability to think and behave in a ...
“Some travelers want to go to foreignplaces but are dismayed when theplaces turn out actually to be foreign.”             ...
When you travel, remember that aforeign country is not designed tomake you comfortable. It isdesigned to make its own peop...
No culture is static – all  cultures are constantlychanging – from within and          without    Once again, this is most...
But the changes can be more dramatic             and important• Slavery was once widespread and is no  longer legal anywhe...
But the changes can be more dramatic             and important• In 2004, RI President-elect Carl-Wilhelm  Stenhemmar said:
"My dream is for every 17-year old tobecome a Youth Exchange Student.If we could achieve this, there wouldbe no more wars....
We are making a differencein the culture of the world– the culture of peace.And you deserve to give yourselves a “well don...
This is my prayer, oh God of all the nationsA prayer of peace for lands afar and mineThis is my home, the country where my...
My country’s skies are bluer than the oceanAnd sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pineBut other skies have sunlight too, and...
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
YEO 2012_Confronting Ethnocentrism, Bangkok
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  1. 1. Confronting Ethnocentrism: The Key toDeveloping Cultural Competence Dennis White, Ph.D. dkwhite@itol.com
  2. 2. This presentation is available on line at www.yeoresources.org• A complete program that teaches the concepts of culture and culture shock using the film Outsourced is available on Drop Box• Send me an email at: Dkwhite@itol.com
  3. 3. This presentation is available on line at www.yeoresources.org• A 45 minute training DVD on Understanding Cultural Differences (about 10 copies) for sale from NAYEN• Two short YE promotional videos (10 minutes each) for sale from CSRYE a. Recruiting Exchange Students b. Recruiting Host Families (also with Spanish subtitles)
  4. 4. The key to a successfulexchange program is understanding culture
  5. 5. The key to understandingculture is understanding ethnocentrism
  6. 6. The keys to understanding ethnocentrism are:1. Actively looking for cultural differences2. Accepting those differences and3. Adapting to differences, without judgment
  7. 7. CultureAn integrated system oflearned behavior patterns thatare characteristic of any givensociety.It refers to the total way oflife, including how peoplethink, feel and behave.
  8. 8. Any given society refers to any group to which we belong that teaches us how to behave. Examples include:• Nations• Ethnic sub-groups• Religious groups• Geographic regions• Families• etc.
  9. 9. Why does culture matter?The vast majority of failedexchanges have at their base theinability to understand and adjustto cultural differences
  10. 10. Why does culture matter?But the reasons are often seen assomething else – “personalitydifferences” lack of interest fromthe hosting Rotary Club, “rudeschool classmates”, etc.
  11. 11. Why does culture matter?Our inability, as YEOs, tounderstand and adjust to culturaldifferences can interfere with everyaspect of managing exchanges
  12. 12. Why does culture matter? • Selection • Placement • Orientation • In-country problems • Early returns
  13. 13. The best preparation Iknow is to try tounderstand the conceptof culture and the idea ofcultural differences
  14. 14. Think of culture as thelens through which youview the world
  15. 15. If you are color blind, youcannot see certain colors,no matter how hard youtry
  16. 16. If you are “culture blind”,you cannot see manydimensions of othercultures, no matter howhard you try
  17. 17. Ethnocentrism:The universal tendency forany culture to see its ownvalues and practices asnatural and correct.
  18. 18. Versailles
  19. 19. Ethnocentrism:The universal tendency forany culture to see its ownvalues and practices asnatural and correct.
  20. 20. • In some ways, all people are alike• In some ways, people are like others in their group• In some ways people are unique
  21. 21. • Universal• Cultural• Individual
  22. 22. The most common ethnocentricassumption is that we cantranslate literally from onelanguage to another, whichleads to both humorous andserious mistakes.
  23. 23. What do they mean?• On the door of a Moscow hotelroom:• If this is your first visit toRussia, you are welcome to it.• Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
  24. 24. What do they mean?• The Minister unveiled the churchs newtithing (giving) campaign slogan lastSunday: "I Upped My Pledge (increased mypromise to donate money) - Up Yours."• This afternoon there will be a meeting in theSouth and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends
  25. 25. • In Mexico it was translated as “The Rebel Novice Nun”• The Sound of Music• In the Czech Republic it was translated as “Santa Is A Pervert”• Bad Santa• In China it was translated as “One Night, Big Belly”• Knocked Up• In Venezuela it was translated as “Vaselina”• Grease
  26. 26. At the very minimum, confrontingethnocentrism teaches us thatthere is almost always more thanone way to see something.This is readily demonstrated inoptical or visual illusions
  27. 27. • Universal• Cultural• Individual
  28. 28. Example: Eating Food• Everyone eats – Universal• Different groups eat different foods – in different ways – Cultural• Some people don’t eat the way most of the people in their culture eat - Individual
  29. 29. Normal Distribution of Any Cultural TraitFrequency Amount of Trait
  30. 30. Comparing Two Cultures (on any given trait)In this example, there is some overlap, but the two cultures are mostly different
  31. 31. Think of culture as thelens through which youview the world
  32. 32. The Cultural IcebergConscious 1/8th abovebehaviors the surfaceUnconscious 7/8ths below beliefs and the surface values
  33. 33. • Universal• Cultural• Individual
  34. 34. Dancing
  35. 35. Ethnorelativism:The acquired ability to seemany values, beliefs andbehaviors as cultural ratherthan universal.
  36. 36. Universal vs. Cultural• Greetings are universal• How we greet is mostly cultural Shake hands Wave Bow Hug Kiss – One, two, or three times…
  37. 37. Universal vs. Cultural• Greetings are universal• How we greet is mostly cultural Shake hands Wave Bow Hug Kiss – One, two, or three times… Wai
  38. 38. How high should one Waiwhen greeting a Thai?The answer that comes at usIs it depends on their status
  39. 39. Bhichai Rattakul, RIPresident,Thailand 2002-03
  40. 40. Nationally famous Australian cricketplayer Dennis Lilee, when introduced toHer Majesty Queen Elizabeth simply, andsincerely stated: G’Day, mate, how ya goin’?
  41. 41. The Australians are really quite naïve when it comes to greeting people.They treat everyone exactly the same!
  42. 42. “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being like you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit ”. Wade Davis
  43. 43. Developing culturalcompetence meansconfronting theexperience of differenceNot the experience ofsimilarities
  44. 44. But in a new culture, withdifferences that make usuncomfortable …That is exactly what we do!
  45. 45. In order to feel comfortable we:1. Focus on other Inbounds (the Inbound Syndrome), and2. Maintain excessive contact back home (the Homebound Syndrome)
  46. 46. Hidden Values beneath the surface• Respect for age• Proximity (personal space – closeness or distance)• Informality
  47. 47. Assumption: Informality = Comfortability. Reality: In some culturesFormality = Comfortability.
  48. 48. • Respect for age• Proximity (personal space – closeness or distance)
  49. 49. Culture ShockThe profound sense ofdisorientation and discomfortthat comes with extended travelor living in a foreign culturemarkedly different from one’sown.
  50. 50. Kalvero Oberg• Finnish Parents• Born in Canada• Studied in USA• Led a career as a teacher and international aid expert – became US citizen• Assigned for a time in Brasil• Gave a speech in Rio De Janeiro – August 3, 1954• First recorded use of the term “culture shock”
  51. 51. Stages of Culture Shock:• Initial enthusiasm and excitement• Irritability and negativism• Gradual adjustment and adaptation• Integration and bi-culturalism Culture Shock.doc The Middle Wave of Culture Shock.doc
  52. 52. Because Ethnocentrism isusually unconscious, it is rarelyintentional.That is we rarely start outtrying to be ethnocentric
  53. 53. Culture ShockThe profound sense ofdisorientation and discomfortthat comes with extended travelor living in a foreign culturemarkedly different from one’sown.
  54. 54. Culture Shock is stressfulUnder stress we fall back to old behavior - Ethnocentrism
  55. 55. When are we most stressed? • Hungry • Angry • Lonely • Tired H.A.L.T.
  56. 56. These principles apply to anyintercultural experience, not justYouth Exchange• GSE Training• World Community Service• General Rotary Awareness
  57. 57. Examples of Irritability and Negativism• If they mean “no” why don’t they say “no”?• Why don’t they just tell me what something costs?• Why can’t anyone stand in line?• Why do they drive so fast?• Why are they always hugging? or• Why don’t they ever hug?• Why are their signs so hard to read?
  58. 58. Example: Floor elevation (unevensurfaces)• In the USA and Canada – floors going between rooms are almost always on the same level• In Thailand, and many other countries, this is not necessarily so.
  59. 59. Example: Floor elevation (unevensurfaces)• In the USA and Canada – floors going between rooms are almost always on the same level• In Thailand, and many other countries, this is not necessarily so.• We expect the surfaces to be even, so we often trip or stub out toes on the small step.• Ethnorelativism would tell us – it isn’t right or wrong – just different.• But after stubbing my toe several times in one day after a long day of travel, it is difficult not to be critical.
  60. 60. Studying the concept ofculture requires confrontingEthnocentrism – again and again
  61. 61. As H.A.L.T. increases• Our tendency to think and behave Ethnocentrically increases• Our ability to think and behave in a culturally sensitive and competent manner decreases
  62. 62. “Some travelers want to go to foreignplaces but are dismayed when theplaces turn out actually to be foreign.” Canadian author Margaret Atwood
  63. 63. When you travel, remember that aforeign country is not designed tomake you comfortable. It isdesigned to make its own peoplecomfortable. Clifton Fadiman
  64. 64. No culture is static – all cultures are constantlychanging – from within and without Once again, this is most apparent in food
  65. 65. But the changes can be more dramatic and important• Slavery was once widespread and is no longer legal anywhere in the world.• Northern Ireland is relatively peaceful.• The Berlin Wall has been gone for 23 years – longer than any of our current students have been alive.
  66. 66. But the changes can be more dramatic and important• In 2004, RI President-elect Carl-Wilhelm Stenhemmar said:
  67. 67. "My dream is for every 17-year old tobecome a Youth Exchange Student.If we could achieve this, there wouldbe no more wars."Carl-Wilhelm Stenhemmar,Rotary International President 2004-2005
  68. 68. We are making a differencein the culture of the world– the culture of peace.And you deserve to give yourselves a “well done”!
  69. 69. This is my prayer, oh God of all the nationsA prayer of peace for lands afar and mineThis is my home, the country where my heart lies,Here lie my hopes my dreams like stars that shineBut other hearts in other lands are beatingWith hopes and dreams as true and high as mine
  70. 70. My country’s skies are bluer than the oceanAnd sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pineBut other skies have sunlight too, and cloverAnd skies are everywhere as blue as mineOh hear my prayer oh God of all the nationsA prayer of peace for their land and for mine
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