Body-language and nonverbal communication

Tag "stereotype"









Stereotype behavior and / or stigmatization

We all know about stereotypes, the way of thinking about others which is more related to oneself than to the other person. To judge someone and to address someone via a stereotype often is quite normal. Often, and this is the problem, it also can stigmatize a person, a group including people of colour, women, the elderly and people with mental illness.

Then the stereotype generalizes and

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“Chinese” or the autistic pattern of behavior

Chinese very often, usually, stay with other Chinese in a Chinese group, even if they are abroad or in another country. They do this even, if they do not have to do it or even if this is not helpful to be integrated into the other culture.

I once listened to a key-note at a conference of intercultural communication and I was astonished that the speaker identified this pattern of behavior as an autistic pattern of behavior. This may sound cruel at the first sight, this may sound devaluating but it is not meant as devaluation or rejection or Chinese people or culture.

A pattern of behavior means that not the person is autistic but the behavior has elements or attitudes of an autistic pattern of behavior. An autistic pattern of behavior is at least characterized by two or three typical elements.

  • The one is not being familiar to relationship or social communication, relating and communicating makes him frightened.
  • The second is the difficulty in making contact on a personal level and/or experiencing the other person also emotionally.
  • People with this pattern of behavior sometimes seem to be chaotic, but in fact, they are very intelligent, disciplined, but mostly in some special aspects or fields only.

Of course Chinese are not autistic, of course Chinese can live relationships and communication and a social life. Of course Chinese are not only disciplined. But still it is obvious that the pattern of behavior has an impact on the experience on an intercultural level. So, even if they’re not autistic, maybe they’re experienced as autistic and people relate to them as if they were autistic.

This way of communication and interaction on an intercultural level therefore leads often to a big misunderstanding, to some kind of cultural or communicative rejection and strengthens of stereotypes/prejudices or renewing stereotypes/prejudices.

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Dancing in the park  (Journey to China No. 8)

You see them in the parks. Mostly in the morning or later in the afternoon or evening. You see them dancing. You see them enjoying and you’re aware of a very big difference in bodily expression.

On the one hand, often when you see Chinese people, they seem to walk and move a bit slowly, feel aggrieved and in a black mood, as if it would be typical for most of the people, typical for the country or a typical character expressed on the body-level.

In contrast to a possible stereotype ……….

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Stereotype: queueing or not queueing (journey to China No.2)

I was told that there is a lot of chaos in China. Chaos at the bus stop. Chaos at the ticket office of the Metro. Chaos at the Train.

I also had read this in some clever books written by some clever journalist. And when I visited Beijing some weeks ago I was disappointed because of the people queueing quite accurately waiting for the bus. Disappointed because the stories I was told, turned out to be a story. A story which did not mirror what ……………….

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Stereotype: tall and tiny (journey to China 1)

I just returned from my journey to China. It was an amazing experience. I will try to talk a bit about various impressions within the next weeks. Of course I had read quite a lot about China. Of course I had talked to friends of mine about where I was supposed to go. Of course I had my thinking or believes about China not yet discovered as a stereotype thinking. 🙂

Here is one impressing and obvious example: many people in Western countries believe that the Chinese is tiny and the Western in comparison to the tiny Chinese is quite tall.

To be true I have to disappoint you. It is not like this as shown on the photo. I myself am 1,80 m tall and very often I felt quite as tall most of the Chinese around me. For example in the Metro of Beijing I looked around and saw just into the faces of the other People and they could just looked into mine. 🙂

And still there are interesting phenomena concerning the body shape of Chinese people. I will talk about this later.

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Facial position instead of facial expression (video) – managers` nonverbal behavior patterns on stage – 3

The Chinese manager talks with a strong voice, expresses directly and clearly what he wants to say. He now and then looks at the moderator and faces him as the important counterpart in this rhetoric structure. It seems that he not really directly seeks for direct (eye-) contact to the audience. He is there on the panel, knows about his role to answer the question and to be there as the invited representative.

Of course he shows facial expression but it seems that this expression is more likely to be his attitude rather than to support his words and his habit of talking, in order to support his words and the for the moment specific meaning.

Facial expression seems for him (and the Chinese culture ?) to be more like a sequence of familiar “facial positions”. With whatever meaning at all. And yet……………………….

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