During my visit to Los Angeles interior town settlements, I got an opportunity of interacting with a culturally diverse population. The fact that the state hosts a large proportion of the immigrant people from various parts of the world makes it ideal for intercultural studies as each of the different cultures represented there not only strives to manifest but also foster interesting cross-cultural interactions with the other cultural identifies (Dave & Oren, 2016). Despite the fact that I focused on the interactions between different cultures in the region, I paid particular attention to the manifestations of the Chinese culture among the American Chinese in the area. Some of the specific aspects of the culture which I concentrated on assessing included greetings, conversations, non-verbal communications, inter-age interactions as well as associations among individuals within different social, economic and political statuses.
Among the Chinese Americans, their social structure is quite formal and hierarchical. The structure and formality of this culture show in the way the young treat the old with the utmost respect (Dave & Oren, 2016). They also avoid entering into controversial exchanges such as insults or quarrels with the people who are older than them. This formal system results in the ability of the American Chinese to co-exist with the rest of the immigrant population in Los Angeles without unnecessary tensions. The system is a marked contrast from the American social structure which is not only loose but also informal (Dave & Oren, 2016). Therefore, the Chinese often find it difficult to contend with the Americans who seem less sensitive about the need to establish a restricted social order. In fact among the Chinese Americans, it is uncommon for individuals at different social levels to be seen as strictly interacting except for slight greetings. However, the Americans socialize freely without any perceived social limitations but in a somewhat informal manner. This dramatic difference between the Chinese American culture and the typical American culture makes it strenuous for them to forge perfect and long-lasting business relationships.
The Chinese Americans do not engage in direct conflict or confrontation with the other. In fact, they prefer solving their disagreements amicably without necessarily resolving to violent aggression. It is against the norms of the Chinese to openly confront each other irrespective of age, social or economic differences amongst them (Ho, 2015). Avoidance of confrontation does not imply that they do not like telling the truth, but instead it means that defending oneself with facts should not be so much as to erode the sense of respect and honor that any person should have for the other. (Ho, 2015) The system is unlike most cultures in the area in which members go out in full flare to express their disagreements through insults, quarrels, and even physical confrontations. This cultural disparity makes the Chinese Americans look like an inferior community since they always avoid such confrontations even if they are sure to be on the right.
The Chinese are also more inclined towards preserving individual dignity and reputations. They do not like humiliating one another or expose their character to ridicule. They better forego what would lead to the damage of personal integrity than retain it and lose the reputation (Ho, 2015). In fact, the Chinese quickly resign from their jobs if they feel that staying there longer has the potential of tainting their image. In essence, while the Chinese maintain a socialist lifestyle in which group interests are highly regarded, they still guard their reputation since they conceive it as what aggregates to give the shared group image (Dave & Oren, 2016). While the Americans also embrace an individualistic look at issues, they are more likely to overlook the need to protect their reputation to get something done. Therefore, it is troublesome for the Chinese to communicate their reservations on particular issues to the colleague Americans in the work environment since the latter may just ignore them and focus on the desired end product. In essence, the Chinese value the process of doing things as well as the outcome while the Americans sometimes concentrate only on the results. Furthermore, the Chinese do not express emotions such as joy and worry in public. They prefer privacy, unlike the Americans who outpour their feelings without restrictions of space and time.
Apart from the exceptional regard for individual reputation among the Chinese, they also have a particular reverence for humility. They consider their successes as a humbling experience which one does not necessarily go out to brag about in public. In fact, it is challenging to realize it when a Chinese achieves a milestone in his or her life (Ho, 2015). Even in the schools, the Chinese less celebrate academic excellence in public compared to the other American cultures. It is a contrast with the Americans who ensure that even the slightest achievement is lauded and made public for everyone to see. People have highly congratulated even personal achievements (Dave & Oren, 2016). An American may expect to be expressly praised, but the Chinese will not consider it worthwhile to make results look extraordinary. The sense of humility among the Chinese Americans also make them appear not only inferior but also weak which may make them an easy target for intercultural domination.
The essence of my focus on individual and group expression of the Chinese culture is the need to establish what attributes distinguish the community from the rest. In a progressively globalizing world, it is apparent that intercultural interactions between the Chinese and the other groups will continue hence the need to arouse cultural sensitivity about this population leading to peaceful social, political, and social engagements.
Dave, S., Nishime, L. L., & Oren, T. G. (2016). Global Asian American popular cultures. New York : New York University Press,
Ho, J. A. (2015). Racial Ambiguity in Asian American culture. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press
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