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Contemporary Diversity Issues in Communication

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    Communication refers to the act of passing information from one source to another in a process of sending and receiving messages involving the sender and receiver. Diversity involves issues such as gender, disability, class and even sexual identity. Gender refers to masculinity and femininity while sexual identity refers to one’s sexual orientation which could either be heterosexual or homosexual. Class refers to the different economic and social strata that people belong to as pertains to their economic power.

    The rich usually belong to the upper class, the average income earners belong to the middle class while the poor belong to the lower class. Looking at contemporary diversity issues in communication means that each of these groups must be recognized in the way they relate with each other and to the rest of the society. Gender is looked at differently depending on one’s culture. There are norms that are associated with the males and females which identify them in society especially in labor divisions. The males communicate differently from the females in accordance with their biological makeup and how they are socialized and cultured by the society in which they were born and live in.

    Culture is a system of knowledge, attitudes, norms, values and rules that govern a group of people that are passed from generation to generation. Communication varies from culture to culture since words are assigned meanings differently and are bound to particular contexts. However small groups exist within a culture and are referred to as co-cultures. People who interact outside their cultural contexts with others from another cultural context engage in intercultural communication. However due to the various cultural changes and experiences, one can suffer from cultural shock if not well prepared about the norms of the new culture.

    When talking about cultural norms, messages are decoded with special attention to nonverbal cues and the context within which the message was communicated. This is however not the case with all cultures especially where they give special attention to language. Specific roles are assigned to members of a cultural group which they are expected to perform as pertains to their femininity or masculinity. The males tend to attach themselves to traditionalism and assertiveness. They are expected to be family heads and protect the society since they are traditionally referred to as the stronger sex.

    The females are associated with constructiveness in terms of maintaining the family unit and the societal bond. Each society has established a set of rules and regulations that govern its members in terms of behavior and conduct. They must be followed to the letter failure of which leads to severe punishment by the relevant authority. Some cultures work together as a group while others emphasize personal growth and achievement.

    In the society, different cultures can coexist with one another. However there are usual experiences that arise from cultural dominance. Those belonging to minority groups face various challenges because they are dominated by the other main cultural group. The dominant group usually benefits from its majority which controls political leadership, economic power and the decision making process which normally tends to favor the majority. They thus benefit from the shared cultural context where they enjoy majority rule. Despite all these benefits, they are disadvantaged in that they lack exposure from other cultures diversities which could benefit them in various diverse ways. The minority culture or ethnic minority is usually disadvantaged in various ways.

    Communicating with the dominant group is a challenge because the dominant language is alien to them. They therefore have to learn and adapt to the ways of the dominant society in order to interact successfully and make meaning of the world around them. The ethnic community also faces the danger of abandoning its own culture due to acculturation. The dominant culture can swallow the minority through intermarriages and acculturation. Conflicts normally arise because of trying to acquire a new culture which could strain the family bond or disintegrate the societal fabric of the minority community. Conflicts arising from acculturation need to be addressed and managed so that they don’t result in cultural enmity. These can be best regulated by appreciating cultural diversity and respecting every society’s norms.

    Cultural communication must be effective in order to attain the intended meaning. The conveyed message should be understood by the receiver in order to get the intended feedback. In view of cultural diversity, communication ought to be ethical regardless of cultural barriers. It is therefore important to understand all the important communication cues that accompany verbal communication before communicating effectively. This is one of the ways of ensuring that ethical principles are maintained in regard to diverse cultural contexts. Ineffective communication arises from that are created by cultural differences. As a result codes do not send the intended meaning creating ambiguity. Lack of a proper understanding of cultural diversity can create cultural shock which leads to confusion, and a breakdown of the communication process.

    Further examination of communication diversity involves issues relating to gender, race and the economic class. As explained earlier in the essay, gender refers to masculinity and femininity of a person. Gender starts at birth in relation to the newborn’s biological features. Cultural expectations are then transmitted to the child by parents and other older members of the society through observation and communication. The society is responsible in shaping women to fit their roles as well as their male counterparts, as expected by their culture.

    Race refers to the major divisions of humankind with distinct physical characteristics. Different cultural orientations can however exist within one race creating diversity. Communication in search cases requires a common identity and a set of norms, rules and roles with which they are able to share and shape a common world which they can identify with. This common culture identifies the different races that exist in the universe. Language is one of the key identities of a race which is a set of codes that are assigned meaning by its users. Proper understanding of one’s language is key to learning one’s culture. Racial diversities that exist in the universe have sought to make the world a global village due to information and communication technology.

    The invention of the internet has enabled people of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds to interact by sharing ideas and discussing important matters of a global concern. As the different races interact via the internet, learning different cultural orientations has become necessary in order to alleviate ambiguity which arises from misunderstanding one another. Communication has reduced racial prejudices a great deal, by addressing assumptions and highlighting the pride of belonging and identifying with a particular society.

    Economic class is a category that defines the poor, the average and the rich. Communication in these categories is different because of the status that society accords each economic class. The rich are characterized with the tendency of keeping to themselves and even showing coldness and remaining strangers to their neighbours.They tend to keep to themselves in an attempt to maintain the status quo. The middle class is freer in their socialization and interaction with the community members. High interaction levels exist among the lower class and the poor who interact freely without any restrictions.


    4. Jones S. (1997) Virtual Culture: Identity and Communication in Cyber society. New York. Sage Publishers

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