Importance of Cultural Sensitivity in Language Use
There are actually not many people who understand clearly what it means to be culturally sensitive. Some individuals think that cultural sensitivity is all about human inability to control personal emotions in regards to the existing cultural differences. Someone may believe that this kind of sensitivity influences the relations between people of different races. Of course, it is possible to give a number of explanations to this concept, and each of them will be correct in some way. The articles by Amoja Three Rivers and Lynette Clemetson turn out to be credible sources of information about cultural sensitivity and its impact on language used by people every day. Reading these works and using personal experience and knowledge, it is possible to realize that cultural sensitivity plays an important role in language; it defines the level of communication and information exchange between people of difference classes and races and explains how such issues like racism and ethnocentrism may change a human life.
Nowadays, people may share their cultures and traditions without any problems. Humans are free to offer their ideas and concepts regardless their ethnicity and race. However, there are still a number of cases when simple words said accidentally influence the relations between people and make the question of racial inequality open again. For example, Clemetson focuses on the speech by the Senator Joseph R. Biden devoted to Barack Obama. In a variety of words that characterize the current President of the USA like “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” (Clemetson para. 1), some people, especially those who are racially biased, admit an inappropriate use of the first adjective. In fact, this word, “articulate”, can hardly be abusive in everyday life. Still, cultural sensitivity in language is a strange and unpredictable thing, and one improperly chosen word may change a lot. To avoid any problems in communication, people have to understand that “there are thousands of adjectives in the English language” (Amoja Three Rivers para. 22). Though it is hard to choose those adjectives, which do not hurt human feelings and do not change the essence of a message, it is necessary to make a try.
People pay so much attention to cultural diversities in language. However, there are also a number of issues that may influence the quality of conversation like different languages, various levels of knowledge, interests, points of view, etc. But humans cannot help but focus on the cultural and racial differences. They themselves create a kind of barrier and make it bigger by means of personal prejudices. Cultural sensitivity is one more challenge for people created by themselves. Every individual should understand that in fact, “there are no real divisions between us, only a continuum of variations that constantly change” (Amoja Three Rivers para.30); all people have one head, two hands, two legs, and one heart that is able to feel and accepts the reality as it is. People themselves make them different and make their lives more complicated instead of using a chance and finding the required balance. It is usually called a human nature.
In general, humans are in need of certain development and progress all the time. And any kind of progress usually requires a mix of something. Cultural mix is the concept that is always available, and people have to learn to use it properly. In language, cultural sensitivity is crucial; still, it should not be a challenge or an obstacle to successful communication. Cultural sensitivity in language is not about racism or ethnocentrism; it should help people identify cultural diversity as a real treasure that may stimulate and encourage them for new discoveries, ideas, and improvements.
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