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The first time a member of the public interacts with a police officer or other civilian worker affects how that person perceives society. The police and civilian workers play a crucial role in ensuring that the victims have received aid when an incident occurs. However, in America, there is a problem because it is often believed that law enforcement and civilian employees are invariably biased when dealing with racial minorities (Shusta et al., 2008). Stereotypes about American culture and communication practices have contributed to these perceptions. In turn, cross-cultural contact which police and civilian employees have with citizens, victims, suspects, and co-workers is affected by the stereotypes. Racial discrimination, language barriers, cultural value and beliefs differences, distrust, and attitudes are some of the stereotypes that have affected cross-cultural contact (Rosenblum, & Travis, 2016). Lack of cultural understanding of the Asian/Pacific Americans by police can result in various problems which could have been avoided if the police officers and civilian employees had cross-cultural knowledge.
Lack of cross-cultural knowledge about the culture of the Asian/Pacific American leads to miscommunication when police officers and other agencies workers try to interact with them. For instance, in the first scenario, the children of Seng Chang and Kaying Lor were taken away from them because of what was believed to be child abuse. The employees of the school which the children were attending noticed marks on their bodies and reported to the police who came and took away the children from the couple. However, when the prosecutors had some medical experts examine the children for signs of child abuse, there were no symptoms found. The children were returned to the couple after over one month away from their parents. In case, the police, child services, school employees, and the courts had some knowledge about the Asian/Pacific culture and their use of alternative medical practices in their country then this situation would have been avoided (Rosenblum, & Travis, 2016). The result, of such treatment by the police and civilian employees sprouts distrust towards the system by the people from the Asian/Pacific American community.
According to Bowling (1999), there is a belief among many Americans that Asian people tend to lie on many occasions. As a result, of such views and stereotyping, many Asians are not seen as reliable witnesses to crimes. Such case of racial stereotype can be seen in the first scenario where the explanation provided by Seng Chang and Kaying Lor was not believed. The prosecutor had to conduct a medical examination using some medical experts to determine if the children had been abused. The contact that the police and the civilian employees and the couple were unfruitful due to lack of efficient cross-cultural communication.
In the second scenario, Chai Vang killed the six hunters after having a racially charged trespassing confrontation. The hunters had committed a crime by trespassing into Vang property. However, they followed it up with a racially charged encounter regarding the trespassing issue. The actions that were taken by Vang could have been considered justified if the trespassers were from the minority group. However, since Vang is Hmong, his actions resulted in racial tensions in Minnesota and Wisconsin ending up with the killing of a Hmong hunter in a wildlife area. The actions of individuals from this scenario shows how cross-cultural communication has failed to develop. If these individuals knew the cultural belief and communication methods, then the racial tensions would not have been witnessed (Bowling, 1999).
To conclude, cross-cultural stereotyping is counterproductive in society because many innocent people suffer. If police officers and civilian employees are educated, and they gain knowledge about various cultures in the society, then the diversity would be considered a strength. Therefore, individuals who are in position that involves interacting with people from various cultures should be educated and learn essential aspects of these cultures such as communication styles, language, and even the cultural medical practices.
Bowling, B. (1999). Violent Racism: Victimization, Policing and Social Context. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Rosenblum, K. E., & Travis, T. (2016). The meaning of difference American constructions of race and ethnicity, sex and gender, social class, sexuality, and disability, 7th Ed. Dubuque: McGraw-Hill Education.
Shusta et al. (2008). Multicultural Law Enforcement: Strategies for Peacekeeping in a Diverse Society, 4th Ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
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