For Valentine’s Day, NPR reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji looked at race in love songs. In her words:
“You don’t hear pop stars crooning about miscegenation these days. But, as we know, coupling up across racial and ethnic lines is happening now more than ever. The 2010 census showed that interracial and inter-ethnic married couples grew by nearly 30 percent in 10 years.
So if pop music is a reflection of the issues of the day, why aren’t we bobbing our heads and shaking our hips to more songs with lyrics about cross-cultural lovin’?”
Here’s the story (text and audio link): http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/02/14/276782537/pop-music-lags-dealing-with-interracial-love-anxieties?sc=17&f=3
“By some estimates, more than 100,000 Chinese students, some as young as 10, flocked to the United States this summer to delve into American life and culture. Some studied diligently in programs intended to improve their SAT scores. Others kicked back and enjoyed more leisurely pursuits, on group tours that visited Las Vegas, New York and Disneyland. Some attended outdoor camps.
The surge in students traveling to the United States for the summer is the latest iteration in China’s booming multibillion-dollar overseas education business. Until recently, the vast number of Chinese education agencies that broker students’ entry to American colleges and private high schools concentrated on preparing them at home in China. They coached well-off, fee-paying, and, in some cases, brilliant Chinese students in the intricacies of the American admissions process.”
The challenge of US Universities opening branch campuses abroad. “At its best, a liberal education imbues future citizen-leaders with the values and skills that are necessary to question, not merely serve, concentrations of power and profit. Universities that abandon this ideal are lending their good names to the decline of liberal education; turning themselves into career-networking centers for a global managerial work force that answers to no republican polity or moral code; and cheapening the value of the diplomas they hand out, at home and abroad.”
Issues of culture, diplomacy, expectations, and child rearing often emerge in international adoption cases.
“My best friend at 9 was white — but interracial friendships later became a struggle. Here’s why everything changed.”
Not new, but interesting! “As has long been the case, American values differ from those of Western Europeans in many important ways. Most notably, Americans are more individualistic and are less supportive of a strong safety net than are the publics of Britain, France, Germany and Spain.”
I’ve always been a fan of Tolkien, Star Trek, and other stories of alternate worlds, and I like to think this is related to my interest in intercultural communication. Parasocial Contact Hypothesis (Schiappa, Gregg, & Hewes, 2005) would lead us to believe that learning vicariously about others (perhaps even fictional groups) can help us develop empathy for those different from ourselves. Here’s an interesting take on the Lord of the Rings characters and their cultural groups. Perception and cultural differences are highlighted here… perhaps food for thought (or discussion) about how we group humans?
In March, UNESCO released this framework on intercultural competence. It provides 26 concepts and defines them in order to connect different fields that focus on intercultural issues, giving a common vocabulary and goal in teaching, training, enacting, and supporting intercultural work.
The British Council recently released a study on the value of intercultural skills in the workplace! I use studies like this at the start (and often end) of my class to get students interested in why they should care about and study intercultural communication.