NCSU COM 112 - COM 112 Chapter 2 (32 pages)

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COM 112 Chapter 2



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COM 112 Chapter 2

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Pages:
32
School:
North Carolina State University
Course:
Com 112 - Interpersonal Communication

Unformatted text preview:

CHAPTER PREVIEW 1 2 3 4 1 Understanding Culture and Communication 2 How Culture Affects Communication 3 Understanding Gender and Communication 4 How Gender Affects Communication WHEN CULTURAL ASSUMPTIONS BACKFIRE When 14 year old Santiago Ventura left his home in the Mexican state of Oaxaca for farm work in Oregon he had no way of foreseeing the problems he would face After the fatal stabbing of a fellow farm worker at a party Ventura was questioned by a Spanish speaking police officer Ventura spoke neither Spanish nor English however but only the native language of the Mixtec Indians While being questioned Ventura never made eye contact with the officer because Mixtec Indians believe it is rude to look people directly in the eye Due to his poor grasp of Spanish Ventura simply answered yes to all of the officer s questions leading the officer to presume his guilt After a trial in which his lawyer forbade him to testify because of his language limitations Ventura was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years to life in prison Only after five years of protest by immigration advocates and jurors who doubted Ventura s guilt did another judge set aside the verdict freeing Ventura from his wrongful imprisonment Page 36 H ad we been involved in Santiago Ventura s case many of us would have interpreted his words and behaviors just as the arresting officer did If we had asked Ventura whether he had committed a crime and he replied yes while also avoiding eye contact most of us would have concluded that he was guilty As this story illustrates however culture acts as a lens through which we make sense of communication behavior The arresting officer applied his own cultural lens to Ventura s behavior by assuming incorrectly that everyone from Mexico speaks Spanish and that a lack of eye contact signifies dishonesty Culture isn t the only lens that affects our understanding of communication Another powerful influence one that is always with us is gender Indeed many people



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