When Cultural Identity Doesn’t Matter

  With all of the emphasis in intercultural communications on recognizing and embracing one’s cultural identity, it’s important to remember that while acknowledging someone’s ethnicity may be natural, it also may have no connection whatsoever to the meaning of the interaction at hand, as with this playful ad by Wieden + Kennedy for Swagger by…

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The Universal Language of Cookies

I love intercultural communications, and I love cookies, so I had to love this ad for oreos that connects two little girls from different cultural backgrounds by their common enjoyment of and manner of eating Oreos.  For a strong diversity program to succeed, it’s important that internal programs and policies align with external communications.  This seems to be the case for…

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Translating Timothy Cole’s Injustice into Anti-Racist Action

The problem with stereotyping is that it presumes guilt before innocence, dictating that someone will behave a certain way because of their race or ethnicity.  In the extreme, the results can be devastating, as they were for the late Timothy Cole, a young black man who was exonerated last week for a rape he didn’t…

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Intercultural Bridges: Explaining the Chinese New Year In English to Lithuanians

 I took Dillon and one of his classmates to the Chinese New Year parade in Chicago’s Chinatown yesterday.  You have to love culture in an urban environment:  there were dragons and lion dancers and colorful floats from various Asian-American Chambers of Commerce, but also the Irish Shamrock Rovers and marching bands and drill teams from…

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Top 10 Ways to Learn about Another Culture…or Just 1: Ask!

 I started to write a simple “10 Quick Steps to Preparing for Your International Visitor,” as in preparing to meet your mother-in-law from Argentina for the first time or hosting the new team from Korea for a business conference, but I realized it rang of insincerity.  Sure, you can (and should) read works of fiction…

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Help Connect the Dots Between School and Presidency: Help Damon Weaver Get His Interview

The Huffington Post has taken up the cause of 10 year old Damon Weaver, reporter for the Kathryn E. Cunningham Canal Point Elementary school TV station,  to get a one-on-one interview with President Obama.   As his story continues to grow, he did get credentials to cover the Inauguration.  Dwayne Wade also has offered to play…

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Can You Use Stereotypes and Still Have a Good Ad?

 Take look at this delightful ad for Heineken created by TBWA\Neboko, Amstelveen.  The ad does play on stereotypic “likes” of the sexes-shoes for her and beer for him, but it does it in a light, non-judgmental way that works.  What is particularly nice in this day of globalization is that while there is a minimal…

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Using Your Midlife Crisis as a Catalyst for Intercultural Parenting

 According to psychologytoday.com, a mid-life crisis can hit around age 40, plus or minus 20 years, and can include “questioning decisions made years earlier and the meaning of life.”  However, in the words of English novelist George Eliot (aka Mary Anne Evans), “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  As…

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