A culture comprises beliefs, values, behaviors, attitudes, traditions, knowledge, skills, and language that shape the way of life in a given social group. Since different people have different cultures depending on their social backgrounds, they have developed unique ways of communications that are unique to the knowledge, skills, values, and traditions. Among different cultures, communications is central in the perpetuation of culture from one generation to another. Thus, culture and language are inseparable elements in a given society because they are important in shaping the way of life. The existence of varied cultures across the world necessitates cultural competence among people. According to Abrams and Moio (2009), cultural competence is a professional requirement in modern society, particularly in the service industry. In this view, understanding of different cultures is very critical in the provision of quality services to people. To expound the essence of cultural competence, this essay compares and contrasts the deaf culture, the white culture, and the black culture with view of assessing what people need to know for them to communicate effectively with people from these cultures.
Comparisons and Contrasts
The white, the black, and the deaf cultures have rules and values that govern how their respective members communicate amongst themselves. While the white and the black cultures predominantly use the alphabet as components of their language, the deaf use sign languages. Both the alphabet and the sign languages are means of communication, which enable people to communicate effectively. While the white and the black can use sign language and verbal language, the deaf can only use sign language. Hoang, LaHouse, Nakaji, and Sadler (2011) argue that the use of sign language among the deaf defines their cultural identity as it differentiates them from other cultures. In their culture, the deaf people cherish certain values because they do not perceive themselves as disabled people. The deaf perceive themselves as a minority group with different linguistic rules and cultural values, which do not exist in the mainstream cultures.
The deaf, the white, and the black are different cultures because they have different beliefs, values, norms, traditions, knowledge, skills, and language. Language plays a central role in shaping diverse cultures because it provides a means of communication among people (Abrams & Moio, 2009). The similarity among these cultures is that they have well defined language that their members use to communicate amongst themselves. A member of another culture is unable to understand the language that is in a different culture unless one learns about it. For instance, while the deaf use sign language, the white and the black use verbal language. What makes the sign language unique among other languages is the complexity of signs. Across the world, over 200 sign languages exist. Like other languages, sign language varies from one country to another depending on the dominant culture. For example, there are American Sign Language, British Sign Language, Australian Sign Language, and German Sign Language. Moreover, between the black and the white, there is variation in languages. The most common languages of the white are English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and German. In comparison, the common languages of the black people are Hausa, Yoruba, Somali, Oromo, Kirundi, and Xhosa. The variation in languages among the deaf, the black, and the white highlights the essence of intercultural communication.
Effective communication with people from the deaf, the white, and the black cultural backgrounds requires competence in their respective languages. As language and culture are inseparable social elements that shape the way of life, understanding of language provides a means of learning other cultures. As the deaf use sign language, one needs to learn how to communicate using sign languages (Hoang, LaHouse, Nakaji, & Sadler, 2011). Sign languages are varied and complex depending on the cultural background of the deaf. Additionally, the white and the black use diverse verbal languages. For instance, one needs to learn about French language to communicate effectively with the French. Likewise, a person should learn about the Somali language to communicate effectively with the Somali.
In addition to language, one should learn about cultural norms, values, and beliefs, which are integrated in the respective cultures. According to Hoang, LaHouse, Nakaji, and Sadler (2011), people should perceive the deaf as people with unique culture rather than a group of disabled people who needs treatment. In this view, understanding of the cultural norms, values, and beliefs that the deaf cherish is critical in promoting intercultural communication. Since the white people perceive themselves as the privileged culture, they have certain norms, values, and beliefs that they associated with their ‘whiteness’ and privileges. Likewise, the black people have shaped their racial identity as a unique culture that is not inferior to any culture. The black people have undergone through racial discrimination, which has prompted them to seek new identity amidst diverse races (Walt, 2013). Therefore, a person needs to understand cultural norms, values, and beliefs of the deaf, the white, and the black to communicate effectively with them.
The analysis of the deaf, the black, and the white cultures shows that they have some similarities as well as differences. The existence of differences among these cultures highlights the need of intercultural communication in the diverse society. Across the world, the use of language signs and verbal languages varies from one culture to another, and from one nation to another. Thus, for a person to communicate effectively with members from each of the cultures, one needs to learn their language and culture.
Abrams, L., & Moio, J. (2009). Critical race theory and the cultural competence dilemma in social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 42(2), 245-261.
Hoang, L., LaHouse, S., Nakaji, M., & Sadler, G. (2011). Assessing deaf cultural competency of physicians and medical students. Journal of Cancer Education, 26(1), 175-182.
Walt, P. (2013). Discourse on African American/Black identity: Engaging the expanded nigrescence theory with a diasporic consciousness. SpringerPlus, 2(1), 1-10.