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Cultural Communication Essay

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Culture can be defined as, “learned behaviors that are communicated from one generation to another to promote individual and social structure” (Communication; Making Connections, 44). In other words, information and behavior that is appropriate to where we live, where we have come from, and the traditions of those places are handed down along generations to insure that they continue. These behaviors help us identify who we are and who our ancestors were. American culture is an eclectic combination of many races from all over the world coming together to create a culture unlike those found anywhere else. A very different culture can be found in Eastern Europe, specifically the culture found in France. Considering the events that lead up to the United State’s War on Terror, and France’s refusal to help, it is important for Americans to understand this different culture and many of the communication barriers that have lead to the hostility between the two nations. These communication barriers can be overcome through patience, understanding, respect for the other culture, and by seeking similarities between the two to create a common ground of understanding.
     The social structure in most countries is most often created through war and political change. The American colonists overthrew their tyrannical government during the American Revolution. This drastic change allowed for the colonies to create their own sense of individuality. People of different ethnicities began to merge as they settled the same areas, yet still maintained many aspects of their homelands. America is now foreseen as a great ‘melting pot’ of diversity. For over hundreds of years, people from all over the world have come to America looking for the freedoms they are often denied in their native lands. As the Statue of Liberty states, “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,” (msn.Encarta.com). The United States prides itself on being considered a safe haven for all who seek it.
France also went under a drastic change after its own revolution, but with very different results. Up until 1789, the beginning of the war, less than half of the population actually spoke French. After the Revolution, the new French government tried to create a un...


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...t” (Communications; Making Connections, 46). In other words, a cultural relativist is willing to put themselves in the place of another from a different culture in order to identify with them without making judgments. It is important to note that understanding is not the same as accepting cultural difference or condoning them. Using these concepts, one can begin the process of effective communication across a variety of cultures.
Though divided by the Atlantic Ocean, language, politics and social structure, the United States and France have much in common. Both countries revolted against their corrupt governments to establish better ways of life. Both countries believe that their stands on issues are for the benefit of the rest of the world. Coincidentally, French architect, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, designed both the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, each symbols of their respective nations. The Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by France to commemorate the alliance the two countries during the American Revolution. If we use our similarities to build bridges instead of differences to build walls, communication between cultures can be effective and beneficial.


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