By Meshack Idehen
It will be safe to suppose that social media is contributing to the puzzlement many people grapple with regarding cross-cultural communication and political participation. It might be even safer to assume that avoiding basic fault lines like colloquialisms, idioms, jokes and practicing forward looking actions like active listening or observations can help promote effective cross-cultural communications. However, nothing can be further from reality as this research paper seeks to prove. The importance of this research paper will be seen in the attempts made at helping us understand and acknowledge the non existence of cross-cultural communication in reality and, which I believe can further assist in understanding other cultures, avoiding miscommunication and misinterpretation while genuinely working towards opening up the possibilities of productive relationships across cultural barriers.
In researching effective communications styles for social media platforms in promoting intercultural dialogue and political participation, it is important to have a clear and objective understanding of what inter-cultural communications is. In his work, “Intercultural Communication, Extended Encyclopedia Entries in C. Cortés (Ed) Multicultural America: A Multimedia Encyclopedia, Bennett, Milton, J, 2013, https:// www.idrinstitute.org/resource, defined inter-cultural communication as the study and practice of communication across cultural contexts. “ It applies equally to domestic cultural differences such as ethnicity and gender and to international differences such as those associated with nationality or world region,” Bennett, Milton, J, 2013.
Therefore, intercultural communication if it exists is in the minds of its proponents like technology companies and politicians. If such concept as intercultural dialogue exists, it should be an approach to create better and improved relations among members of various groups focusing on the recognition and respect of cultural differences and seeking the goal of mutual adaptation that can lead to biculturalism rather than simple assimilations and basic understandings. If not, then it is fallacy. The concept of intercultural communications should in my views supports the development of intercultural sensitivity on the part of individuals, organizations and nations and enable empathic understanding and competent coordination of action across cultural differences. Sadly, global events bordering on wars, racial profiling, and gender inequality, stereotyping cutting across national boundaries has not supported the concept or existence of intercultural communications.
If inter-cultural or cross-cultural communications really exist based on long held fallacies by those pushing forward that narrative, how then do individuals and nations explain endless incidences of rising profiling of personal and national attitudes towards the cultural attributes of other countries? How do we explain the debatable attitudes towards hierarchy, gender and even time? These to me are all variables bordering on hasty generalization that goes on to prove that intercultural or cross cultural communication is a heightened fallacy?
However, I must concede that manuals exists that seeks to highlight the cultural attributes of different countries, peoples and provides generic views about their ways of life, business practices or interpersonal dynamics. These development nonetheless, ever rising cases of inter-personal and global conflicts alongside failed and deceitful ascension to power by leaders using the powers of social media to drive forward their debatable and false narratives, coupled with the endless cold and hot wars between nations has only served to prove and remind us that the concept or idea of cross-cultural communications is an idea existing only in the minds of a few.
The fallacies of what we try to label as inter-cultural or cross-cultural communication is superbly defined in the article, “Intercultural communication and logical fallacies”, Scott, Biljana, 2022, http:// www.diplomacy.edu/blog/intercultural-communication-and-logical-fallacies/, where a clear argument was made against the logical fallacies of inter-cultural communication. “Much of the intercultural communication advices advanced by literatures are based on dismayingly crude generalisations about the national characteristics and business styles of various countries. If anything, these publications have encouraged prejudices through stereotypes rather than to promote insight. Their authors would no doubt disagree and the dividing line between a helpful and a hasty generalisation would therefore be open to debate,” Scott, Biljana, 2022. All the same, it is not in any doubt that the internet in general and social media in particular has produced and continues to produce new cultures including in political participation as previously known cultures are being eliminated seen in everyday technological advances.