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Our Modern World

March 21st, 2013 - 2:26 pm

News that a Florida Atlantic university student was suspended for refusing to take part in a Jesus-stomping class exercise has drawn attention to a little known skill called “intercultural competence”. According to the Daily Caller,  ”Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon”, was told by his professor “ to write the name JESUS in bold letters on a piece of paper, then drop the papers and stomp all over them.”

He objected, which was a bad move.

Rotela was suspended on the grounds that “that the Jesus-stomping was part of a classroom exercise from a textbook: ‘Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.’”. Who could be against the broadening influence of education?

Just what does the textbook teach? The blurb at Amazon describes it as: “a clear contextual circular model for examining communication within cultural, micro-cultural, environmental, socio-relational, perceptual contexts, and verbal and nonverbal codes. The text begins with the broadest context; the cultural component of the model and progresses chapter by chapter through each component of the model. The later chapters then apply the model to the development and maintenance of intercultural relationships, the management of intercultural conflict, intercultural management, intercultural adaptation, culture shock, and intercultural competence.”

For a discussion on the meaning of these words see the previous Belmont Club post, The Destruction of Writing.  Anyone who knows what it means can enlighten me in comments. To the untrained eye the book evidently opens a doorway into a world that I at least, hardly suspected existed. Take one subject with which the book deals: intercultural competence.

Wikipedia says:

“Intercultural competence is also called “cross-cultural competence” (3C).” It is apparently a vast field of study. “Organizations in academia, business, health care, government security, and developmental aid agencies have all sought to use 3C in one way or another. … One survey identified 86 assessment instruments for 3C. A United States Army Research Institute study narrowed the list down to ten quantitative instruments that were suitable for further exploration of their reliability and validity.” Wikipedia advises readers to also see:

Stomp On Jesus

3C is to be distinguished from that obscure and simplistic branch of knowledge known as C3, which means “command, control and communications” or from that type of plastic explosive which goes by the same name.

One can readily see, from the sheer volume of writing on the stuff that it is serious business. A search on cultural competence jobs yields 1,590,000 hits. Businessweek describes the importance of this field.

Companies like Hewlett-Packard, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and IBM consider cultural competence an important (important enough to hold managers accountable with financial incentives) management requirement. Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare’s Vice- President of Diversity Barbara Stern, explains, “Cultural competence should be a part of everyone’s strategy. We need to be good at working with people of all walks of life.” R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr., founder of The Institute for Managing Diversity and well known author asserts, “Companies that want to compete successfully must hold managers accountable for underutilizing people who are not like them.” He adds, “This has nothing to do with prejudice or guilt. Managers must perform their role or be removed to another area where they can be effective. Understanding differences helps individuals learn how to get along.” In essence, cultural competence and strong diversity management will help companies effectively draw upon talent, intellectual capital, and motivate more employees.

Failure to take this subject seriously may result in “worker alienation … costly discrimination suits … unnecessary terminations … reluctance to hire and work with culturally diverse workers … racism and discrimination”. Run, don’t walk to your computer and order the said textbook right away if you have this serious void in your education.

Preparation for a career in cultural competency may be obtained by enrolling in any number of fine institutions of higher learning. It is money well spent, a fact you should reflect on the next time you contemplate a bank account emptied to pay for tuition. One reference material  is abstracted as follows.

Secure forensic mental health inpatient services are influenced by a complex, socially constructed tangle of institutions, policies and practices. The ‘caring’ mental health system and the ‘custodial’ criminal justice system often have conflicting goals and expectations. Furthermore, public and media perceptions of danger frame the policy context. This leaves patients commonly experiencing discrimination, disempowerment and social exclusion. However, patients from indigenous and CALD populations are further marginalised and have reduced ‘social quality’ (social inclusion, socio-economic security, social cohesion and empowerment) (Huxley & Thornicroft, 2003). The literature attributes this to factors including: discriminatory and reactive government policies, an ethnocentric mental health system that relies on culturally invalid classification systems, and culturally incompetent clinicians and organisations.

Social workers have been implicit in these systemic failures through their lack of contribution to the literature and their lack of influence in forensic mental health. This is despite the compatibility of the social work person-in-environment perspective, and its focus on social justice and social quality, with good cross-cultural practice. Frequent references to ‘unexplored’ socio-cultural and environmental factors in the literature, and a mental health policy shift in Victoria towards social inclusion and community development, provide a timely opportunity for social work to assert itself.

What the devil this means, God only knows. Once you realize this, the necessity to take revenge on God becomes compelling, for He has an unnatural advantage. The frustration, bewilderment and stress inherent in this complex field makes performances not only suitable, but rational. For having entered a field whose concepts and application seem to the untrained eye  indistinguishable from shamanism it is eminently appropriate to dance on pieces of paper. If you become a witch doctor in one, why not become a witch doctor in all? Stomp on Jesus?

Yes.


The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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Top Rated Comments   

It’s more group deconstructionism. The elite are forever promulgating the value of the group as a counter to individual effort and merit. It is the ordering and reordering of the deck where victim classes add a multiplier to worth and it of course breeds mediocrity because it eliminates personal responsibility and collectivizes esteem. All one need do is be born into a caste that has historical grievance, solidarity, and a natural sense of rhythm and no personal responsibility is needed.

But these groups cannot thrive if they are displaced by a diaspora of hard working non-racially focused independent actors who seek out success on their own terms. These individuals must be swept into groups so they may be properly judged and assigned into the new hierarchy of shame. The hierarchy of shame is the glue that keeps the slave class at constant odds with each other and never focused on the malignant agents of an elite oligarchy that ‘taxes’ according to monetary guilt units; Merit, entrepreneurship, American Exceptionalism are all enemies of the collective state.

Democrats are collectivists whose sole focus, ‘social justice’, is a hate based control theology complete with its own Shibboleths and rituals. On the other hand, the Republican leadership has been in the hive for too long and considers their job as not the voice of the individual but a matter of personal prestige and self-preservation. We need a third anti-party who represents individual liberty that once fell to the power of the constitution.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Intercultural competency" situations were formerly handled by the obsolete skills of gentlemanliness and good manners. It used to be thought that if you had these you could pass among any of the peoples of the earth.

A basic consideration for the feelings of others, a willingness to listen, a courtesy of speech and a reluctance to insist upon unimportant things was once the mark of an educated -- not a "degreed" -- man. You don't really need to learn the 53,137 "don'ts" of dealing with gay people, Muslims, Jains or Buddhists if you have these qualities.

The "Jesus stomping" exercise seems wrong precisely because it violates every tenet of good manners as formerly understood. It is gratuitous, pointless, useless and dare I say, insane. I wouldn't give much odds on a person trained in the system to survive in the hills of the Third World.

If you want to each "cultural competence", teach common sense. Don't lie. Don't take the name of sacred things in vain. Don't make moves on somebody's girlfriend. Don't hurt anybody. Don't steal. Don't make stupid jokes about somebody else's deity. These used to go by the name of the "Ten Commandments". But they are apparently no longer taught, being the invention of "white men" more than a hundred years ago.

I am serious when I compared this science to witchcraft. It is irrational, redolent of superstition and probably just about as effective. I would rather have friend who is an honest, straightforward cultural representative of his type than run with a bunch of addled hypocrites as these studies seem to produce.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Professor Poole would not have dared to tell any student to write “MOHAMMED” in bold letters – or a Sura from the Quran, for that matter – and do exactly the same thing.

Is this showing that terrorism is having its desired effect of restricting criticism of Islam?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (52)
All Comments   (52)
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I sent the following letter to Doctor Poole, signing with my real name, which I will not include here:

Your decision to instruct students in cultural diversity has likely made you a target for a great deal of criticism and controversy.

I hope you find some Christians who wish you well.

I for one would just ask you to consider that Jesus of Nazareth calls on me to love you, and that instruction is without qualification.

I have to remember that there is no human being who has the power to diminish the all-encompassing love of God, or of the man we know as his son, Jesus. There is nothing you or any other human can do to tarnish the sacrifice he made for love of us, nor can any human detract from or deny the offer of comfort and reunion in his spirit if we accept his message.

I have considered various philosophies and religions.

I have read of the Qur'an, and the Hadith of Mohammed who claims to be the last Prophet. I cannot reconcile his ideas with the teachings of Jesus. Simply, if one contains the truth, the other cannot. The one negates the other.

I choose the power of Love and Forgiveness. I may falter and be imperfect. But I will trust in a God who wants his followers to love, not to hate, kill, subjugate, and terrorize.

God Bless You, Doctor Poole. I hope you find illumination and comfort and healing in spite of the storm within and without.

....................................

When I first heard of this incident I was hot.

On reflection, it seems to be one of those moments that really puts Christian values to the perfect sort of test. The Student responded magnificently, and I hope other Christians can see the way to respond so.

I'm not saying to lie down and let Monsters devour the innocent. We still have an obligation actively to resist evil in its attempts to injure, steal, and enslave.

Anyhow, I don't mean this as a chastisement for any expression of exasperation from anybody else.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This came to mind, apropos of nothing:

“You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a
custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we
hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a
gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”--General
Sir Charles Napier

But, was Sir Napier being PC or CC when he said that?

Personally, I think some things are better than others, and social norms, etc, should be not only judged, but discriminated against when they are evil. Supposedly we believe that all men are created equal, yet we ignore that regularly in response to the PC dogma. Somehow the hypocrisy becomes invisible when spouted by a liberal prof. Tenured, of course, contrary to the reason for tenure in the first place...
tomw
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's Critical Pedagogy. "Nuff said.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The teacher of this class on intracultural competence was presented with a real life example of cultural conflict. The student, a Mormon, venerates Jesus. The teacher does not. The teacher asks the student to do something that violates the students cultural norms. The teacher, outraged at this lack of compliance, suspends the student. The teacher is obviously culturally incompetent and flunks his own class.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tempted to, but I won't mock "the religion of peace" or its illustrious founder, but how about stomping on a picture of Matthew Shepherd or throwing pies at an image of Rosie O'Donnell? The Pink gestapo would be out in force screeching "the haters gotta hate..."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Geoffrey Britain

"Add me to those who much prefer the prior comment format"

Nevertheless, you are UNDAUNTED and continue to post. The Progressives cannot win if we remain UNDAUNTED.

Maybe I should build a replica privateering schooner and "Christen" her DAUNTLESS!

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
W - "What the devil this means, God only knows. Once you realize this, the necessity to take revenge on God becomes compelling, for He has an unnatural advantage."

Exorcists often note that a demonic entity will speak nonsense, using language to confuse and misdirect, appearing to sound intelligent, but always with a single goal in mind...destruction! At the root of this babbling nonsense is a hatred that would, if allowed, utterly destroy the human host and any that would speak the name "Jesus."

Those who would mock such things as medieval superstition have yet to come to terms with the *mystery* of evil. I once heard a professor of theology asked the question, "Do you believe there really is a devil?" The student and others chuckled, almost as if to answer the question with their contemptuous laugh, and ridicule of the professor before he could speak. His answer? "Yes!" The student then asked, "What does he look like?" The profs answer was instructive, "That's none of your business!" The class was suddenly silenced.

When standing in the face of evil, there is no chuckling; there is no smart aleck condescension. Neither is there any psycho analysis that can come to grips with it.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

It’s more group deconstructionism. The elite are forever promulgating the value of the group as a counter to individual effort and merit. It is the ordering and reordering of the deck where victim classes add a multiplier to worth and it of course breeds mediocrity because it eliminates personal responsibility and collectivizes esteem. All one need do is be born into a caste that has historical grievance, solidarity, and a natural sense of rhythm and no personal responsibility is needed.

But these groups cannot thrive if they are displaced by a diaspora of hard working non-racially focused independent actors who seek out success on their own terms. These individuals must be swept into groups so they may be properly judged and assigned into the new hierarchy of shame. The hierarchy of shame is the glue that keeps the slave class at constant odds with each other and never focused on the malignant agents of an elite oligarchy that ‘taxes’ according to monetary guilt units; Merit, entrepreneurship, American Exceptionalism are all enemies of the collective state.

Democrats are collectivists whose sole focus, ‘social justice’, is a hate based control theology complete with its own Shibboleths and rituals. On the other hand, the Republican leadership has been in the hive for too long and considers their job as not the voice of the individual but a matter of personal prestige and self-preservation. We need a third anti-party who represents individual liberty that once fell to the power of the constitution.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Even individual merit must be credentialed by a group of elite oligarchs who must ‘certify’ that the individual has kneeled in submission to the ideological framework.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The references to management indicate use of this crap as a tool to manipulate people in terms of their "culture." Hence, we have a black guy in every TV commercial, no matter how unrealistic. And don't offend anyone with patriotic pride or appeals to cultural values or personal responsibility. Take an affirmative stand for Nothing.

In politics, this stuff is truly poisonous. Individuals have no important values; they are just masses to be directed and exploited-----for the common good.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I note that, in the list of 3C subjects which Wikipedia advises readers to see, there is only reference to ONE specific religion.

Now, without looking back, can anyone guess which religion that might be??

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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