A lot of people may say, why do we need to learn about intercultural communications? Well, we are also exposed or influenced by the cultures of the community that were living in or we travel to it. The twin cities are also becoming more and more diversity each day. Therefore, it became necessary to understand intercultural communications and factors that affect them such as cultural spaces, identity, history, social, economics, and power dynamics and so on.
Although I have lived in different countries with diverse cultures, and I have been exposed with different cultures, my view about the cultures and the intercultural communications is greatly developed during this class. I am beginning to understand how the historical, economic, social and physical contexts are important to understand the culture and the power dynamic, how each cultural space is constructed through the identity and how these diverse cultures communicate each other and demarcated their cultures in a way that effected their identity and power in order to communicate and to form community, neighborhood and cities that can understand and live together.
Although my visit to the Summit-University neighborhood was a life changing experience, knowing the history of this neighborhood helped me to understand how this community came to be, because the history as driving force that shapes our understanding of culture. It is also a powerful tool that connects us to the past and it plays important part our present lives. It determines who we are, were we come from, why and how we do what we do in every day. It helps to understand how the culture and how the identity of this community formed and changed through the time.
During my research about the Summit-University neighborhood, I found out that the people who settled in Summit- University around 1850 were European immigrants, white Christians and the dominant culture at that time was Christian culture. Around 1880 many working class and middle classes also moved the neighborhood and build big houses in which mostly considered as historical buildings (Minnesota historical society wwww.mnhs.org/).
Due the immigration flow, the neighborhood became more diverse than ever, so the cultures, identities, and believes. We also observe this diversity during our visit of this neighborhood and when we asked one of the neighborhoods as far as cultural diversity goes, is there a lot of that around here? Oh yes, yea. That’s a good thing… to see different race, different people. And they’re actually helping each other out. Like, it was crazy at first. Africans and Somalians, we did not get along, for nothing. Now, we’re talking to each other. You know, we communicate. That’s good. The corner store guy, you know, he’s Somalians and we’re best friends. And it’s wonderful now, talking to everybody. It’s good.
Today the neighborhood contains diverse ethnic groups such as Asians, Caucasians, African-Americans, Latinos, and even East Africans that live together and from community. As I observe during my visit, the community is well connected. It also has newspapers that connect within the neighborhood and other neighborhoods and the city. , it has many businesses which are populated on a Selby Avenue. It also has historical places.
The factors that helped us to understand the forces that drove such interaction and intercultural communications between this neighborhood and other neighborhoods and the city are not limited to the history and culture. The understanding of cultural spaces and boundaries also contribute our understanding about how such diverse community communicates.
As martin and Nakayama, the authors of a book called “Intercultural Communication in Context” stated, the cultural space can be physical such as home (a place where you grew up) or metaphorical such as internet. And there are some factors that contribute t it such as religious practices, food and so on. The home is also defined by its location such as neighborhood, city, region and country and the relationship you have with.
The location that we are focusing on is the summit – university neighborhood and its cultural spaces and identity. As every community, the Summit-University neighborhood contains diverse ethnic groups such as Asians, Caucasians, African-Americans, Latinos, and even East Africans. Each of these groups have different believes, values, food, and dress code.
Thus, the combinations of these factors create what we called cultural spaces and invisible boundaries. Therefore, when communities with diverse cultures meet, they must develop intercultural communications and understanding of their diverse cultures. Thus, they must compromise and demarcated their cultural spaces and invisible boundaries in a way that affected the identity and but create a unique community that can function and live together. Thus, this community must compromise their identity and became multi-identity which in turn can lead multiculturalism which increases the communication members among the community and outside the community.
Understanding the history of the Power of this neighborhood became another important force that that helped us to understand interaction of community at any level such neighborhoods, cities, and even at government level. The Power also determines what to be taught at school, what language will be taught or spoken in a particular community. Power sets and defines the rules and the laws.
Power is often hidden, but dynamic. It changes through the history. Historically the Summit- university neighborhood, white coo munity was he dominant ones and they are the ones that had the power. Although the power is changing, the white peoples till have the power. This can be seen when you visit the work forces, schools, and hospitals. You can also observe the lifestyle difference between the whites and people of color such us housing.
Another factor that influenced how the neighborhoods or cities interact and communicate is socio- economies which also tied with power. The minority people who live in this neighborhood are low income and due to their low economic level they have poor housing, less power when compare to the majority that live in this neighborhood.
Despite these differences, the neighborhood acts as community and almost gets along. They build a community that interacts and connected to one another. They have local newspapers, in which they discuss how they discuss safety, sanitary, education, and so on. Despite the negative press against this community, the community sees a positive community and it always considered as promising community.