The cultural divide

Interesting post by Itay Braun (found courtesy of Roy) about Israeli-American interactions (er, I can’t read the Hebrew bit. Scroll down if you are in the same boat).

In my previous job I worked with a lot of different cultures across Asia. While I honestly found it a very interesting, enjoyable and rewarding experience, there were a couple of times where someone would make a statement, and half of the people present would look at each other with a “Did he/she actually just say what I think he/she said?” expression on their faces, while the other half would nod enthusiastically.

While the post focuses on Israeli and American interpretations, some of the expressions mentioned sounded very reminiscent of some of those exchanges. For example, saying “You are wrong” can mean “I disagree and want to discuss it more to reach agreement”, instead of the typical (?) Western interpretation of “This person strongly disagrees and won’t tolerate further debate on the issue”.

All in all it just emphasises the additional care we need to take in being clear when dealing with diverse groups, both with how we express ourselves and with how we interpret what others are saying.