Intercultural Communication In Gran Torino

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In a world that is characterized by diversity and a wide variety of cultures, knowledge of intercultural communication is fundamental for the proliferation of any society. Lustig and Koester (2013) emphasize in their study that various forms and aspects of communication are deeply ingrained in culture. Beliefs, values, norms, and social practices of a culture may pose communication challenges to those of another culture. By having a clear knowledge in intercultural communications can resolve such conflicts. A good example of cultural patterns and communication is clearly represented in the film Gran Torino, which was starred, directed, and produced by Clint Eastwood. This film is a true result in many ways in which beliefs’, norms, values, …show more content…
The setting of the movie is in the Detroit area of Michigan, which was formerly populated by middle class white families, but is now dominated by poor Asian immigrants. A major racial conflict based on beliefs and values is notable between Walt and the Hmong family. Walt lives in a neighborhood with the Hmong family. Walt’s neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal Walt’s polished Gran Torino. Instead of hurting him or turning him to the police, Walt decides to reform the young teenager. Sue, Thao’s older sister, introduces Walt to the Hmong culture. In the scene where Walt joins Sue, his neighbor, and her family for dinner, very distinct intercultural issues are evident that hinder communication. When Walt is seen walking with Sue in the house, the Hmong family members were looking down to the floor. The gesture prompted Walt to ask Sue the reason for her family’s actions. She then explains that in her culture, they believe that keeping direct eye contact is rude. To the Hmong family, …show more content…
They actually become silent, distraught, and uncomfortable with Walt’s actions. Yet, in Walt’s view, it was an act of affection extended to the girl. In the U.S. patting a child’s head is considered to be a friendly or affectionate gesture (Vermont Department of Health, n.d.). However, it is considered to be inappropriate by many Asians to touch someone on the head. The head is considered to be a sacred part of the body. Sue’s kin believed that the soul of a human being resided in the head, and souls must be respected at all costs. Therefore, touching the head where the soul resides is inappropriate. This cultural pattern, beliefs, are a set of learned interpretations that form the basis for cultural members to decide what is and what is not logical and correct (Lustig & Koester, 2013). This was based on a

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