Intercultural Relations


Cultural Values

Cross cultural dating and marriage

Non-Discrimination and Sexual Orientation: Making a Place for Sexual Minorities in the Global Human Rights Regime



Cultural Values

Olivier Lambert

When one finds himself in contact with other cultures, the difference in values and priorities will become visible. If we compare the top value for an American person, freedom will come first. It is a value present in the culture and that is assimilated by people who grow up in that culture. For a Japanese, belonging is the most important value. Japanese are more preoccupied about group harmony and the collectivity than an American who will give more importance to independence and self-reliance. These differences might seem minor at first, but when there is a constant contact between two cultures these small differences can cause conflicts. In business these difference can create problems when it comes to marketing. An ad that worked in America might not work in Japan. If you appeal to one's need for freedom in an American campaign, it might work better in America than in Japan. If instead you appeal to group values it will work better in Japan. Outside of marketing, these differences might be present in the workplace. An American hired in Japan might find that the importance of teamwork and the lack of freedom are preventing effective work. A Japanese hired in America might think that the lack of teamwork and the importance of independence makes the workplace too competitive. There is another important difference between Americans and Japanese, the importance given to competition and cooperation. This is a small example of how in a multicultural environment one needs to be careful about differences. This was just a comparison between two cultures, but there are thousands of cultures all over the world, and there are a thousand time as many differences.

The hierarchy of the American and Japanese values were found in the following book:
Elashmawy, Farid, and Philip R. Harris. Multicultural Management 2000. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1998



Cross cultural dating and marriage.

Sylvie Pressé

``And they lived happily ever after ``this is the happy ending of a tale, but in real life they had to face the reality of their differences. The first year of dating, or the first couple of months, you learn to know each other, and you are very patient, you discuss your differences, your emotions, and you accept very easily all the differences from your respective culture. You are surrounded by the magic of a new relationship. But as the years goes by the understanding and interest to share everything about each other's different culture may drop. You will assume that your partner feels comfortable, agrees, understands and big arguments will disappear. Your whole life is influenced by your culture. `` Don't assume that your interest in your partner's culture will last, or that it will somehow prevent conflicts from occuring. Never underestimate the depth of the roots of your own upbringing. Sure, it's possible to change (given enough time and enough effort). But no matter how deep you dig, you will always be you. Your beliefs, your emotions, your priorities, in short, your whole approach to life, are shaped by the culture in which you were brought up. `` Larabell, Joe. (

One day conflicts don't agree anymore, little things that didn't seem important to discuss, are as a matter of fact more important than you thought. It could be about the way you will raise your children, housekeeping, your family on both sides, your friends, your career, money, religion, which celebration you choose to be important, which language you choose for your children and family to be dominant , and if that will be a communication problem in your respective extended families? Perhaps you` ll choose two languages. You also have to be aware that one of your respective culture's may be assimilated by the other one, as you raise your children; because your children will be influenced by the outside majority culture, and your family cultures, leaving little space for the less dominant culture. Your children will take the best from each of your culture as they will eventually learn about it and choose what they want; they will build their beliefs, values, ideals, influenced by two cultures. Your whole life is influenced by your culture. " In Michelle's home, love was expressed in units of food. Overabundance characterized every meal and party, with each guest leaving with heaping plates of leftovers. Michelle accepted this as a standard sign of "graciousness and hospitality" Eating dinner at Jack's, she found that not all families ate the same. She began to understand why Jack felt very uncomfortable with the embracing "come eat now" culture of her parents. At Jack's family table, each member received a single piece of chicken. Enough for one, but little more. No leftovers. Michelle saw this as a positive sign that Jack's family withheld love. Jack concurs that to a certain degree open expressions of love were absent from his home. Michelle further noted that when they were alone together Jack never offered her any food from his plate, while she was used to family members sharing. "I thought maybe [it was a sign that] Jack was withholding love from me." Looking back, Jack and Michelle recognize the unconscious pattern of their actions and reactions. They have now learned that love and respect can be expressed and interpreted in different ways. Their love for each other can transcend the relative fullness of their plates. `` Hirschhorn Jessica . (

Because your culture defines how you react in situations, based on your beliefs, values, and ideals. You can't separate someone from that completely, nor expect the person to change completely and adopt your beliefs. Disappointments will come if you believe that could happen. `` Don't assume that the other person will change significantly just because of the relationship or because of your charming influence.
Some degree of cross-polinization is bound to occur between two people who share an intimate relationship but when you start to expect change, then you start to get into big trouble. The best thing you can do for each other is to acknowledge the fact that conflicts will occur and will often occur for the simplest and most unexpected reasons. ``
Larabell, Joe. (

For example a French Canadian woman married to an English Jewish man, if you have a catholic background, even though both of you don` t practice your respective religion, still you have some beliefs from them. As a Jewish you may not eat meat pork, but as a catholic you do. If your husband doesn't agree with your cooking pork for your children, how are you going to solve this? It may look unimportant, but if you don` t solve it, several little unimportant things may end up as something bigger, leading you to a tense relationship. As husband and wife, you may also experience conflicts from your respective families. Keeping good relations with your family is important, and to respect and understand is the key that will lead you to a good relationship.

" And the worse thing that can happen is to have your partner's parents (or your own) constantly undermining the relationship, either consciously or not. If you can't get their active support then at least settle for passive acceptance. Anything less should be a sign of trouble ahead." ( Larabell, Joe)

Your parents and family may not be as understanding about the cross-cultural relationship as you are. They also may reject your partner and you will have to deal with this, and agree about the way you will solve it. Conflicts from the outside may also come: a different culture is not always easily accepted by the majority. For example, searching for a job could be a real nightmare, and once you have found one, the way they will treat you could be a nightmare too. Conflicts from the outside can affect your family relationship, especially if you ignore those conflicts and let them grow. The way you choose to solve them, discussing or even consulting will make the difference. Dating someone from a different culture as yours can bring challenge into your life, and your reward is to become someone more cultivated, with an open mind about new immigrants and their welcoming in our country.

``Dugan Romano, puts it in her introduction, "Any marriage is like a game (a very serious game); but intercultural marriage is a more complicated one because both partners come equipped with a different set of rules...different values, habits, and viewpoints, different ways of relating to one another, and different ways of resolving their differences.`` Mitchell, Penelope (



Non-Discrimination and Sexual Orientation: Making a Place for Sexual Minorities in the Global Human Rights Regime



The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status." In fact, this law is not really respected. This is also the case for people who have another skin colour than white, or a different sexual orientation. Principally, this text talks about the rights of these sexual minorities.

In this text, gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) are included in sexual minorities because this term is more inclusive. "Sexual minorities are not merely people who engage in 'deviant' sexual behavior." Like all victims of discrimination, sexual minorities haven't the same rights as "normal" people, "the rest of us." Some countries consider loving relationships between two people of the same sex as a crime. In these countries, some gay men can also receive prison sentences except on Canada that is not true until quite recently, and can suffer from any kind of intimidation or violence.

This discrimination against gays or lesbians also exists in their work environment. "In most countries, sexual orientation is not an accepted ground for discrimination in employment, housing, or access to public facilities and social services." This category of people are rejected by the society and considered as animals. "Erik Erikson's notion of 'pseudospeciation' nicely captures the dehumanizing logic, in Mugabe's (unfavorable) comparison between gays and dogs."

People who were qualified as "perverts," "degenerates," and "deviants" should have their rights guaranteed by law as people who were considered morally pure. "Therefore, they are entitled to equal protection from the law and the equal enjoyment of all internationally recognized human rights." They are human, so they must have the same rights as any other people around the world. It is for these reasons that the International Human Rights continues to help these people.

There are many strategies for including and recognizing the rights of sexual minorities. "One special problem we face is that the authoritative international instruments, the International Human Rights Covenants, are largely fixed standards, reflecting attitudes of the 1950s and early 1960s, when no country had an active gay rights movement." The fact is that these standards haven't been actualized to the present time, and the best strategy to solve this problem would be to use the word "sex" in Article 2 to include sexual minorities. They also have a right to privacy, but it is not really respected. Some other strategies for including the rights of sexual minorities are used to help them for having the same rights as people who are considered "normal."

In my opinion, this discrimination between sexual minorities must stop rapidly. These rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on sexual minorities are present to be respected and people should open their mentalities on the world. If people accepted all persons who have some differences - physical or mental -, these specific laws to protect minorities wouldn't exist. In the twenty-first century, the law include again some fails concerning the rights of the sexual minorities. Now, it is the time to take our responsibilities to change the discrimination toward this group of people. They need the help of all the population to don't be afraid to suffer from discrimination each time that they walk in the street.

Innovation and Inspiration: Fifty Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Peter Bachr, Cees Flinterman, and Mignon Senders (eds.). Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1999, pp.93-110.