What 'cultural baggage' have you packed?



the next metaphor we'd like to highlight relates to baggage we'd like to consider what kind of luggage we may have unconsciously packed and tend to carry with us wherever we go what is your cultural baggage just like a traveler preparing for a long trip our respective cultural backgrounds have socialized us to pack the world we observe around us in very specific ways we've been taught to be selective had attitudes passed on to us to discriminate good from bad right from wrong in group from out group and have been trained to sort out what we should consider as important or unimportant perhaps is unaware to us as those fish in their natural environments we have spent a lifetime packing quite a few patterns ideas and expectations into our mental suitcases and take them with us wherever we go the cultural baggage that some people drag along with them might be bigger heavier or fuller than others but no matter how hard we try to recognize what it is that we are carrying with us we still end up subconsciously carrying more around than we would like to admit an important part of intercultural training involves guiding us to examine what is in our cases early cross-cultural training pioneers like Edward T hall and L Robert Coles designed specific exercises that were intended to help us examine what it is that we're carrying as cultural baggage with us most of these exercises seek to find ways to get us to open our accumulated lifetime luggage and re-examine why we have packed those things to take along on our cultural journeys cases in particular are a very helpful way for to be able to analyze this type of cultural baggage hairy tree andis in his 1972 book urged the analysis of subjective culture since then tree andas and other cross-cultural psychologists or intercultural trainers have been developing short cases or critical incidents to find ways to help expose our culturally embedded ways of viewing part of reality whether these have been used with the intercultural assimilator or what is now called the intercultural sensitizer approach or other case based analysis approaches such short stories often highlight for us the baggage based orientations that we are locked into we often do not realize details that we may overlook or details that we didn't even consider important

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