Intercultural communication refers to how people originating from different cultural backgrounds interact. These cultural differences include the various ways in which people perceive and symbolize things as well as the various ways in which they express themselves. (DeFleur, Kearney, Plax, & DeFleur 6).
There are various co-cultural affiliations that a person may have. An example is ethnicity. This includes one’s origin and is shown by the family, where they came from and what they say about their ancestors.
There are different religious affiliations which include Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. The different religions believe in different supreme beings but they mostly teach the same values of peace, love and unity amongst human beings. There are political affiliations whereby one is free to choose which political party they would like to belong to.
Student affiliations include the various discussion groups formed to assist with course work, selection of preferred student leaders and interaction between students pursuing different disciplines of study (DeFleur, Kearney, Plax, & DeFleur, 10).
Another co-cultural affiliation is the social groups. One may have friends of different ages. These friends may also have different preferences in their lifestyles.
An example is their preferred foods, beverages, choice of music and places of entertainment. The social groups one engages in should however be chosen with caution. This is to avoid peer pressure that may influence a person negatively. Affiliations based on language are also common.
A good example is English speaking people associating with French speaking ones. This way, they will be able to learn the different languages and this is important for communication and good co-existence in the societies. The kind or number of affiliations that a person may have with people of different cultural backgrounds is entirely optional. (DeFleur, Kearney, Plax, & DeFleur 15).
Based on the different affiliations a person has, he is perceived by the society in a certain way. This is called stereotyping. The way the society looks at a person is not necessarily correct.
For instance, a person of a certain ethnicity may be associated with bad activities such as terrorism, one of a certain religious affiliation may be considered to behave in an erratic manner. This is because the activities condoned in one religion may be offensive and prohibited in another .One of a certain political affiliation may be considered as lacking in humanness.
This is mostly because they support political decisions that may have detrimental effects on the society. Such perceptions are wrong and should not be used to judge people. Instead, these people should be integrated into the society for others to interact with them and find out the kind of personality they actually have.
Stereotyping may lead to people being stigmatized and this is wrong. Everyone in the society should be treated with respect regardless of their various affiliations. Restricting a person to a number or kind of affiliations he should have is oppressive and demeaning. It is wrong and should therefore not be encouraged (DeFleur, Kearney, Plax, & DeFleur 20).
For the society to live in a cohesive manner, it is important to have proper intercultural interaction and communication. People should treat each other as equals and strive to adopt the positive attributes of each other’s cultures. They should also correct each other in a polite manner to avoid strife (DeFleur, Kearney, Plax, & DeFleur 25).
DeFleur, Melvin., Patricia Kearny., Timothy Plax., & Margaret DeFleur. Fundamentals of human communication. (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw- Hill, 2005.