The ability to communicate effectively to encourage cooperation, learn and earn trust in cross-culture situations is called intercultural competency. It is a kind of skill set that cannot be gained in a short period, instead a long-lasting process and a constant development. Knowledge, awareness of differences, engagement, curiosity, modesty, and respect are some of the components I believe required to enhance this skillset and communicate efficiently. Intercultural competence is essential in a multicultural country and across borders for economic and political purposes. Awareness and curiosity are most important components what I need to get intercultural competent. I live a multicultural country and the most important thing for me would be to respect other cultures and be aware of do’s and don’ts. And to be curious to learn something new about cultures and how they differ from mine. Introduction of a total new culture to someone can be real hard. People who are total unaware of a new culture usually go through different stages to get cultural competent and it begins from the ethnocentric stage where one denies the reality of other culture or shows the lack of interest. The denial followed by polarisation that states where people interact with other cultures but value the other cultures less than their own. Next stage at the minimization, the differences among different cultures get leveled and start to show respect. And fourth stage acceptance is the awareness of one’s own culture and still sees the differences and does not know how to deal with those differences because one has not reached the last stage of adaptation, where people see values in different cultural models and adapt.
I am not a white person and don’t have white privilege. When I hear the word “racism”, I can’t think of anyone else but white people. But discussions usually fall to bits when we discuss racism, white privilege and other related topics with white people. A white person denies being racist and may stand against the racism and white supremacy, but it is still beneficial to them somehow. For example, employees at a work with the same authority, but of different colours, whites will have dominant power to the control. Whites may have problems of their own, but structural racism and all other kinds of racisms are not for them to worry about.
In “White Fragility” Diangelo describes how whites use defensive moves to get back to the state of calmness and to avoid the uncomfortable situations. This is what fragility of white people looks like. Reactions we would get during the discourses of racism can be total anger or total silence and even attempt to insert a joke to deviate from the situation. All these behaviours are intentional to end the uncomfortable circumstances and to avoid the future discussions.
In the article, DiAngelo discussed the privileges that white people have because of their skin colour, but they have immature skills to be effectively involved in racial situations. White people assume that they are qualified for anything in their life. And if they do not get what they want and if they see, a minority person has it, whites get angry and complain about being discriminated against. Consequently, whites have the methods to ignore racism. And “white fragility” triggers when whiteness is challenged with racial stress. White fragility often triggers when someone implies that white people have white privilege, they benefit from discrimination and they actually do.
White people live in the neighborhoods separated from people of colour. Implied here is that it is not worth to be in the presence of people of colour. For example, there are some communities in SW Calgary that are totally white. This I an example of whiteness and white superiority, shaping our perspectives. Whites see themselves as individuals and not a part of a group which saves them from the accusation of being racist because they consider themselves being different from other whites. Most white people do not have a real comprehension of racism because they benefit from it by not giving it a thought and they have no desire to pursue the knowledge of people who had thought of the idea of different “races”. Basically, it’s not their problem, because they do not belong to a race. White fragility makes whites to endorse the idea of racial oppression. There is a part that they play in the oppression and they continue to oppress minorities without any acknowledgment of their own racial identities. We are living in a white dominant society and we get these messages every day that whiteness is more important than other colours. For example, the depiction of whiteness in any representational material. These privileges and supremacy, in the end, stop the understanding of the views of the people of colour. Having fragility and not talk about it, instead, they should change their attitude and accept the things the way they are. So, my suggestion is if you were born with white privilege, be curious and respectful of others. Learn to stay calm and comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Because its all about structural change that should start at personal level.