2.2 Applying Cultural Awareness Confronting intercultural differences is extremely difficult, especially because most people will deny they are doing anything inappropriate. Approach these situations carefully, relying heavily on the skills of interpersonal communication identified throughout this text. Here are a few cases of obvious intercultural differences and difficulties. Assume you’re a mediator and have been called in to help resolve or improve these difficult situations. How would you try to mediate these situations?
1. A couple is in an interracial, inter-religious relationship. The family of one partner ignores their “couplehood.” For example, they are never invited to dinner as a couple or included in any family affairs. Neither the couple nor the family is very happy about the situation.
2. The parents of two teenagers hold and readily verbalize stereotypes about other religious, racial, and ethnic groups. As a result, the teenagers don’t bring home friends. The parents are annoyed that they never get to meet their children’s friends. It’s extremely uncomfortable whenever there’s a chance meeting.
3. A worker in a large office recently underwent a religious conversion and now persists in trying to get everyone else to undergo this same conversion. The work- ers are fed up and want it stopped. The worker, however, feels it’s a duty, an obligation, to convert others.