Intercultural Barriers in America

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Intercultural Barriers in America

• Which intercultural communication barrier is most prevalent in America today?

The intercultural communication barrier that I believe is most prevalent in America today would be stereotyping and prejudice. When people stereotype others they assume that a person has certain characteristics and abilities that they believe all members of that group have. Many people use stereotypes to simplify their world and reduce the amount of processing and thinking they have to do when they meet a new person. Stereotyping makes people ignore the differences between others, as well. Then they end up thinking things about people that might not be true and make generalizations. Stereotypes also lead to social categorization, which is one of the reasons for prejudice attitudes. This is because most stereotypes tend to convey a negative impression (Beebe, Beebe & Redmond, 2008).

Stereotyping and prejudice happens every day in the United States. One example of stereotyping comes from a story I read about in my Cultural Diversity class. Although African Americans accounted for only 17 percent of the motorists on the New Jersey turnpike during a certain time period, they were 80 percent of the motorists pulled over. These occurrences gave rise to the charge that a new traffic offense was added to the books: DWB, or “driving while Black” (Schaefer, 2012, p. 42). Another example of stereotyping is racial profiling. A federal study made public in 2005 found that African Americans were twice as likely and Latinos were five times more likely to have their vehicles searched than whites. The likelihood of force being used against drivers was three times more likely with Latinos and Blacks than with White drivers. And after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States misgivings about Muslims and Arabs in the…...

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