Cultural sensitivity occurs when people recognize and are aware that each country or various ethnic groups of people have their own set of experiences, beliefs, values, and language that affect their perceptions toward life. Addressing Cultural sensitivity permits people to comprehend that there are differences between cultures. Furthermore, having awareness in the differences between cultures permits a culturally competent person to communicate effectively with others that are outside of one’s realm. Some of the differences of Cultural sensitivity can be discovered while traveling outside of the country, such as through Cross-cultural sensitivity experiences. Likewise, a culture has its own norms and beliefs to how one should dress; how one should greet others, such as by referring to a significant individual by his or her first name or surname (comprehending which name should be stated first in foreign names); and/or what foods are permitted to eat or forbidden to eat or understanding what may offend a person (e.g. not accepting a home cooked meal). There are norms, taboos, cultural cues, and cultural etiquette standards that are significant to learning about one’s culture before exploring another country or while working with people who are from your country but who are part of another racial group. It takes time and patience to build a high level of Cultural sensitivity. Educating oneself with a culture’s psychology and its norms is significant toward achieving an increasing awareness toward Cultural sensitivity.
Furthermore, lack of Cultural sensitivity occurs when people generalize the idea that “we are more the same than different” or that a common culture is shared by all races, religious groups, or ethnic groups. Not preparing with information and psychology related to another culture can lead a person to feel a sense of cultural shock while traveling or being around a group of unfamiliar people for an extended amount of time. Lack of cultural sensitivity can also indicate that a person is color blind.
A culturally sensitive person will limit stereotypes and will be able to identify prejudices that one may have regarding another culture before communicating with the other group of people. In addition, while traveling it is essential to familiarize oneself with the environment and economy, learn the names of those from other cultures; learn the language of that particular culture; have patience toward repeating one’s thoughts and sentences to people who are slow at comprehending English or English is a second language for them; avoid assumptions about people based on their race, ethnicity, or gender; and to never give up with gaining new insight toward learning about another culture while it may be overwhelming or frustrating.
A current example of lacking Cultural sensitivity is prominent in the details of the Amanda Knox case. Amanda Knox was an American from the state of Washington who attended Washington State University. She...