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A rtic le # 1: T he W hit e M an in T hat P hoto ( P oste d o n w ww.film sfo ra ctio n.o rg )

B y R ic ca rd o G azza nig a / g rio tm ag.c o m

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T ra nsla tio n a nd c o m ment b y A le xa C om bs D ie ff e nbach

p ete r n orm ans fu nera lS JS U s ta tu e o f 1 9 68 o ly m pic s p ete r n orm an a t th e 1 968 o ly m pic s

S om etim es p hoto gra phs d ece iv e . T a ke t h is o ne, fo r e xa m ple . It r e p re se nts J o hn C arlo s a nd

T o m mie S m it h ’s r e bellio us g estu re th e d a y th ey w on m ed als fo r th e 2 00 m ete rs a t th e 1 968

S um mer O ly m pic s in M exic o C it y , a nd it c e rta in ly d ece iv e d m e fo r a lo ng tim e.

I a lw ays s a w th e p hoto a s a p ow erfu l im age o f tw o b are fo ot b la ck m en , w it h th eir h eads b ow ed,

t h eir b la ck-g lo ve d fis ts in th e a ir w hile th e U S N atio nal A nth em , “ T he S ta r-S pa ngle d B anner, ”

p la ye d. It w as a s tr o ng s ym bolic g estu re – ta kin g a s ta nd fo r A fr ic a n A m eric a n c iv il r ig hts in a

y e ar o f tr a gedie s th at in clu ded th e d eath o f M artin L uth er K in g a nd B ob by K en nedy.

I t’s a h is to ric p hoto o f tw o m en o f c o lo r. F or th is r e a so n I n eve r r e a lly p aid a tte ntio n to th e o th er

m an, w hit e , lik e m e, m otio nle ss o n th e s e co nd s te p o f th e m ed al p odiu m . I c o nsid ere d h im a s a

r a ndom p re se nce , a n e xtr a in C arlo s a nd S m it h ’s m om en t, o r a k in d o f in tr u d er. A ctu ally , I e ve n

t h ought th at th at g uy – w ho s e em ed to b e ju st a s im pe rin g E ng lis h m an – r e p re se nte d, in h is ic y

i m mobilit y , th e w ill to r e sis t th e c h ange t h at S m it h a nd C arlo s w ere in vo kin g in th eir s ile nt

p ro te st. B ut I w as w ro ng.

T hanks to a n o ld a rtic le b y G ia nni M ura , to day I d is co ve re d th e tr u th : th at w hit e m an in th e

p hoto is , p erh aps, th e th ir d h ero o f th at n ig ht in 1 968. H is n am e w as P ete r N orm an, h e w as a n

A ustr a lia n th at a rriv e d in th e 2 00 m ete rs fin als a fte r h avin g r a n a n a m azin g 2 0.2 2 in th e s e m i

f in als . O nly th e tw o A m eric a ns, T o m mie “ T he J e t” S m it h a nd J o hn C arlo s h ad d one b ette r: 2 0.1 4

a nd 2 0.1 2, r e sp ectiv e ly .

I t s e em ed a s if th e v ic to ry w ould b e d ecid ed b etw een th e tw o A m eric a ns. N orm an w as a n

u nkn ow n s p rin te r, w ho s e em ed to ju st b e h avin g a g ood c o uple o f h eats . J o hn C arlo s, y e ars

l a te r, s a id th at h e w as a ske d w hat h appe ned to th e s m all w hit e g uy – s ta ndin g a t 5 ’6 ”ta ll, a nd

r u nnin g a s fa st a s h im a nd S m it h , b oth t a lle r th an 6 ’2 ”.

T he tim e fo r th e fin als a rriv e s, a nd th e o u ts id er P ete r N orm an r u n s th e r a ce o f a lif e tim e,

i m pro vin g o n h is tim e y e t a gain . H e fin is h e s th e r a ce a t 2 0.0 6, h is b est p erfo rm ance e ve r, a n

A ustr a lia n r e co rd th at s till s ta nds to day, 4 7 y e ars la te r.

B ut th at r e co rd w asn ’t e nough, b eca use T o m mie S m it h w as r e a lly “ T he J e t,” a nd h e r e sp onded

t o N orm an’s A ustr a lia n r e co rd w it h a w orld r e co rd . In s h ort, it w as a g re a t r a ce .

Y et th at r a ce w ill n eve r b e a s m em ora ble a s w hat fo llo w ed a t th e a w ard c e re m on y.

I t d id n’t ta ke lo ng a fte r th e r a ce to r e aliz e th at s o m eth in g b ig , u npre ce dente d, w as a bout to ta ke

p la ce o n th e m edal p odiu m . S m it h a nd C arlo s d ecid ed th ey w ante d to s h ow th e e ntir e w orld

w hat th eir fig ht fo r h um an r ig hts lo oke d lik e , a nd w ord s p re a d a m on g th e a th le te s.

N orm an w as a w hit e m an fr o m A ustr a lia , a c o untr y th at h ad s tr ic t a parth eid la w s, a lm ost a s

s tr ic t a s S outh A fr ic a . T here w as te nsio n a nd p ro te sts in th e s tr e e ts o f A ustr a lia fo llo w in g h eavy

r e str ic tio ns o n n on-w hit e im mig ra tio n a nd d is crim in ato ry la w s a gain st a borig in al p eople , s o m e o f

w hic h c o nsis te d o f fo rc e d a doptio ns o f n ativ e c h ild re n to w hit e fa m il ie s.

T he tw o A m eric a ns h ad a ske d N orm an if h e b elie ve d in h um an r ig hts . N orm an s a id h e d id .

T hey a ske d h im if h e b elie ve d in G od, a nd h e, w ho h ad b een in th e S alv a tio n A rm y, s a id h e

b elie ve d s tr o ngly in G od. “ W e k n ew th at w hat w e w ere g oin g to d o w as fa r g re a te r th an a ny

a th le tic fe at, a nd h e s a id “ I’ll s ta nd w it h y o u ” – r e m em be rs J o hn C arlo s – “ I e xp ecte d to s e e fe ar

i n N orm an’s e ye s, b ut in ste ad w e s a w lo ve .”

S m it h a nd C arlo s h ad d ecid ed to g et u p o n th e s ta diu m w earin g th e O ly m pic P ro je ct fo r H um an

R ig hts b adge, a m ove m ent o f a th le te s in s u pport o f th e b attle fo r e qualit y .

T hey w ould r e ce iv e th eir m edals b are fo o t, r e p re se ntin g th e p ove rty fa cin g p eople o f c o lo r. T hey

w ould w ear th e fa m ous b la ck g lo ve s, a s y m bo l o f th e B la ck P an th ers ’ c a use . B ut b efo re g oin g

u p o n th e p odiu m th ey r e aliz e d th ey o nly h ad o ne p air o f b la ck g lo ve s. “ T a ke o ne e ach ”, N orm an

s u ggeste d. S m it h a nd C arlo s to ok h is a d vic e .

B ut th en N orm an d id s o m eth in g e ls e . “ I b e lie ve in w hat y o u b elie ve . D o y o u h ave a noth er o ne o f

t h ose fo r m e ? ” h e a ske d p oin tin g to th e O ly m pic P ro je ct fo r H um an R ig hts b adge o n th e o th ers ’

c h ests . “ T hat w ay I c a n s h ow m y s u ppo rt in y o ur c a use .” S m it h a dm it te d to b ein g a sto nis h ed,

r u m in atin g: “ W ho is th is w hit e A ustr a lia n g uy? H e w on h is s ilv e r m ed al, c a n’t h e ju st ta ke it a nd

t h at b e e nough!” .

S m it h r e sp onded th at h e d id n’t , a ls o b eca u se h e w ould n ot b e d enie d h is b adge. T here

h appened to b e a w hit e A m eric a n r o w er w it h th em , P au l H off m an , a n a ctiv is t w it h th e O ly m pic

P ro je ct fo r H um an R ig hts . A fte r h earin g e ve ry th in g h e th ought “ if a w hit e A ustr a lia n is g oin g to

a sk m e fo r a n O ly m pic P ro je ct fo r H um an R ig hts b adge, th en b y G od h e w ould h ave o ne!”

H off m an d id n’t h esit a te : “ I g ave h im th e o n ly o ne I h ad: m in e”.

T he th re e w ent o ut o n th e fie ld a nd g ot u p o n th e p odiu m : th e r e st is h is to ry , p re se rv e d in th e

p ow er o f th e p hoto . “ I c o uld n’t s e e w hat w as h appenin g,” N orm an r e co unts , “ [b ut] I h ad k n ow n

t h ey h ad g one th ro ugh w it h th eir p la ns w he n a v o ic e in th e c ro w d s a ng th e A m eric a n a nth em

b ut th en fa ded to n oth in g. T he s ta diu m w en t q uie t.”

T he h ead o f th e A m eric a n d ele gatio n v o w ed th at th ese a th le te s w ould p ay th e p ric e th eir e ntir e

l iv e s fo r th at g estu re , a g estu re h e th oug ht h ad n oth in g to d o w it h th e s p ort. S m it h a nd C arlo s

w ere im media te ly s u sp ended fr o m th e A m eric a n O ly m pic te am a nd e xp elle d fr o m th e O ly m pic

V illa ge, w hile th e r o w er H off m an w as a ccu se d o f c o nsp ir a cy.

O nce h om e th e tw o fa ste st m en in th e w orld fa ce d h eavy r e p erc u ssio ns a nd d eath th re ats .

B ut tim e, in th e e nd, p ro ve d th at th ey h ad b een r ig ht a nd th ey b eca m e c h am pio ns in th e fig ht fo r

h um an r ig hts . W it h th eir im age r e sto re d th ey c o lla bora te d w it h th e A m eric a n te am o f A th le tic s,

a nd a s ta tu e o f th em w as e re cte d a t th e S an J o se S ta te U niv e rs it y . P ete r N orm an is a bse nt fr o m

t h is s ta tu e. H is a bse nce fr o m th e p odiu m s te p s e em s a n e pit a ph o f a h ero th at n o o ne e ve r

n otic e d. A fo rg otte n a th le te , d ele te d fr o m h is to ry , e ve n in A ustr a lia , h is o w n c o untr y .

F our y e ars la te r a t th e 1 972 S um mer O ly m pic s th at to ok p la ce in M un ic h , G erm any, N orm an

w asn ’t p art o f th e A ustr a lia n s p rin te rs te a m , d esp it e h avin g r u n q ualif y in g tim es fo r th e 2 00

m ete rs th ir te en tim es a nd th e 1 00 m ete rs fiv e tim es.

N orm an le ft c o m petit iv e a th le tic s b ehin d a fte r th is d is a ppoin tm en t, c o ntin uin g to r u n a t th e

a m atu er le ve l.

B ack in th e c h ange-re sis tin g, w hit e w ash e d A ustr a lia h e w as tr e a te d lik e a n o uts id er, h is fa m ily

o utc a ste d, a nd w ork im possib le to fin d. F or a tim e h e w ork e d a s a g ym te ach er, c o ntin uin g to

s tr u ggle a gain st in equalit ie s a s a tr a de u n io nis t a nd o cca sio nally w ork in g in a b utc h er s h op. A n

i n ju ry c a use d N orm an to c o ntr a ct g angre n e w hic h le d to is su es w it h d epre ssio n a nd a lc o holis m .

A s J o hn C arlo s s a id , “ If w e w ere g ettin g b eat u p, P ete r w as fa cin g a n e ntir e c o untr y a nd

s u ff e rin g a lo ne.” F or y e ars N orm an h ad o n ly o ne c h ance to s a ve h im se lf : h e w as in vit e d to

c o ndem n h is c o -a th le te s, J o hn C arlo s a n d T o m mie S m it h ’s g estu re in e xch ange fo r a p ard on

f r o m th e s yste m th at o str a ciz e d h im .

A p ard on th at w ould h ave a llo w ed h im to fin d a s ta ble jo b th ro u gh th e A ustr a lia n O ly m pic

C om mit te e a nd b e p art o f th e o rg aniz a tio n o f th e 2 000 S yd n ey O ly m pic G am es. N orm an n eve r

g ave in a nd n eve r c o ndem ned th e c h oic e o f th e tw o A m eric a ns.

H e w as th e g re ate st A ustr a lia n s p rin te r in h is to ry a nd th e h old er o f th e 2 00 m ete r r e co rd , y e t h e

w asn ’t e ve n in vit e d to th e O ly m pic s in S yd ney. It w as th e A m eric a n O ly m pic C om mit te e, th at

o nce th ey le arn ed o f th is n ew s a ske d h im to jo in th eir g ro u p a nd in vit e d h im to O ly m pic

c h am pio n M ic h ael J o hnso n’s b ir th day p arty , fo r w hom P ete r N orm an w as a r o le m odel a nd a

h ero .

N orm an d ie d s u ddenly fr o m a h eart a tta ck in 2 006, w it h out h is c o untr y e ve r h avin g a polo giz e d

f o r th eir tr e atm ent o f h im . A t h is fu nera l T o m mie S m it h a nd J o hn C arlo s, N orm an’s fr ie nds s in ce

t h at m om ent in 1 968, w ere h is p allb eare rs , s e ndin g h im o ff a s a h ero .

“ P ete r w as a lo ne s o ld ie r. H e c o nscio usly c h ose to b e a s a crif ic ia l la m b in th e n am e o f h um an

r ig hts . T here ’s n o o ne m ore th an h im th a t A ustr a lia s h ould h onor, r e co gniz e a nd a ppre cia te ”

J o hn C arlo s s a id .

“ H e p aid th e p ric e w it h h is c h oic e ,” e xp la in ed T o m mie S m it h , “ It w asn ’t ju st a s im ple g estu re to

h elp u s, it w as H IS fig ht. H e w as a w hit e m an , a w hit e A ustr a lia n m an a m on g tw o m en o f c o lo r,

s ta ndin g u p in th e m om ent o f v ic to ry , a ll in th e n am e o f th e s a m e th in g”.

O nly in 2 012 d id th e A ustr a lia n P arlia m en t a ppro ve a m otio n to fo rm ally a polo giz e to P ete r

N orm an a nd r e w rit e h im in to h is to ry w it h th is s ta te m en t:

T his H ouse “ re co gnis e s th e e xtr a ord in ary a th le tic a ch ie ve m en ts o f th e la te P ete r N orm an, w ho

w on th e s ilv e r m edal in th e 2 00 m ete rs s p rin t r u n nin g e ve nt a t th e 1 968 M exic o C it y O ly m pic s,

i n a tim e o f 2 0.0 6 s e co nds, w hic h s till s ta nds a s th e A ustr a lia n r e co rd ”.

“ A ckn ow le dges th e b ra ve ry o f P ete r N orm an in d onnin g a n O ly m pic P ro je ct fo r H um an R ig hts

b adge o n th e p odiu m , in s o lid arit y w it h A fr ic a n-A m eric a n a th le te s T o m mie S m it h a nd J o hn

C arlo s, w ho g ave th e ‘b la ck p ow er’ s a lu te ”.

“ A polo gis e s to P ete r N orm an fo r th e w ro ng d one b y A ustr a lia in fa ilin g to s e nd h im to th e 1 972

M unic h O ly m pic s, d esp it e r e peate dly q ua lif y in g; a nd b ela te dly r e co gnis e s th e p ow erfu l r o le th at

P ete r N orm an p la ye d in fu rth erin g r a cia l e qualit y ”.

H ow eve r, p erh aps, th e w ord s th at r e m in d u s b est o f P ete r N orm an a re s im ply h is o w n w ord s

w hen d escrib in g th e r e aso ns fo r h is g estu re , in th e d ocu m en ta ry film “ S alu te ,” w rit te n, d ir e cte d

a nd p ro duce d b y h is n ephew M att.

“ I c o uld n’t s e e w hy a b la ck m an c o uld n’t d rin k th e s a m e w ate r fr o m a w ate r fo unta in , ta ke th e

s a m e b us o r g o to th e s a m e s ch ool a s a w hit e m an .

T here w as a s o cia l in ju stic e th at I c o uld n’t d o a nyth in g fo r fr o m w here I w as, b ut I c e rta in ly h ate d

i t .

I t h as b een s a id th at s h arin g m y s ilv e r m edal w it h th at in cid ent o n th e v ic to ry d ais d etr a cte d

f r o m m y p erfo rm ance .

O n th e c o ntr a ry . I h ave to c o nfe ss, I w as r a th er p ro u d to b e p art o f it ” .

A rtic le # 2: F re sh ness in ve nts w ra pper to h elp w om en fe el c o m fo rta ble c h om pin g in to a b urg er

N ov. 3 0, 2 013 ( b usin essin sid er. c o m )

f r e sh ness b urg er w ra pper

T O KYO

M ic h ael R . M urp hy A pr 2 7, 2 015·

T he “ L ib era tio n” w ra pper a t w ork c o m ba ttin g c u lt u ra l n orm s.

a rtic le # 2 ( H ere ‘s a noth er a rtic le th at a rg u es in fa vo r o f th e in ve ntio n a nd p ro vid es a n ic e

j u xta posin g r e sp onse .)

J a panese F ast F ood C om pany R ele ase P rim L ib era tio n W ra p pers , E ve ry o n e F re aks O ut

( m ic .c o m )

N ove m ber 1 4, 2 013

L ast w eek, a J a panese r e sta ura nt c h ain , F re sh ness B urg e r, r e le ase d th eir la te st p ro duct w hic h

c a use d q uit e a s tir in th e m edia .

T hese ” lib era tio n w ra ppers ” a s th ey a re c a lle d, c o nsis t o f a p ic tu re o f th e lo w er h alf o f a fe m ale

f a ce w it h a c lo se d m outh . It d ouble s a s b urg e r h old er a nd a fa ce m ask s o th at w om en c a n e njo y

t h eir b urg ers w it h out a ppearin g to b e s lo p py. H avin g o ch obo o r a s m all a nd m od est m outh is

c o nsid ere d a ttr a ctiv e fo r J a panese w om en.

U nsu rp ris in gly , m edia p undit s w ere q uic k to ju m p in o n th e p uns. B uzzF eed c o m pile d a s e rie s o f

G IF s to in tr o duce th e c o nce pt, w hile P ere z H ilt o n d escrib ed th e lib era tio n w ra p pers a s ” c re epy.”

B y tu rn in g th e p ro duct in to a s o urc e o f e n te rta in m en t, a s s o m eth in g w eir d a nd s illy to c h uckle a t,

t h ese r e sp onse s o ve rs im plif y is su es r e la te d to c u lt u ra l n orm s, a s w ell a s e xp ecta tio ns o f

f e m in in e b eauty .

A n a rtic le fr o m B ustle r a is e d th e q uestio n o f fe m ale e m po w erm ent, c o nclu din g h ow it w as ” s a d”

t h at lib era tio n fo r J a panese w om en h ad to e nta il ” lit e ra lly h id in g th em se lv e s fr o m v ie w .” I w ould

a ls o p re fe r to c h om p o n a b urg er w it h m y m ou th w id e o pen in p ublic — b ut o nly if I w as in

A m eric a . I’m n ot s u re if I w ould fe el c o m fo rta ble e atin g th is w ay in J a pan, n ot b eca use I b elie ve

i n h avin g o ch obo b ut s im ply b eca use I d o n’t w ant to s e em r u d e in a d if f e re n t s o cia l s e ttin g.

I g re w u p a tte ndin g A m eric a n s ch ools in fiv e A sia n c o untr ie s. W heneve r I g o b ack to v is it , I

i n stin ctiv e ly s h if t to h avin g b ette r m anners b efo re m y p la ne la nds in S eo ul o r T a ip ei — fo r

e xa m ple , ta lk in g s o fte r o r tr y in g n ot to m ake o ve rt s e xu al r e fe re n ce s. I’ll e ve n c a rry a n u m bre lla

w hen it ’s s u nny o r h old u p th e p eace s ig n w hile h avin g m y p ic tu re ta ke n — s o m eth in g th at I

p ro bably w ould n ot d o in N ew Y ork . S o I w ould p ro b ably u se th e lib era tio n w ra p per to e at

b urg ers if I liv e d in J a pan, ju st a s I u se d a fo rk a nd k n if e to c u t m y b urg e r w hen I liv e d in

L ondon.

T here a re p ro bably c e rta in o bje cts o r fa ds in W este rn c u lt u re th at p eople fr o m o th er c u lt u re s

m ig ht fin d p uzzlin g — fo r e xa m ple , th e in str u ctio n m an uals in r e sta ura n ts o n h ow to u se

c h opstic ks, o r ta n in a c a n, s in ce fa ir s kin is u su ally p riz e d in A sia n c u lt u re s. B ut w e d on’t s e e

B uzzF eed p ublis h in g G IF s a bout th ose p ro d ucts .

F or s o m eone w ho h as b een liv in g w it h a n in -b u ilt c u lt u ra l o n/o ff s w it c h a ll h er lif e , w hat’s b iz a rre

i s n ot th e lib era tio n w ra pper it s e lf b ut h ow th e m ed ia tu rn e d it in to s u ch a la ughable s p ecta cle .

E ve n th e E nglis h -la nguage p re ss in J a p an s e em ed to c o nfir m g ender a nd r a cia l s te re oty p es.

L ib era tio n w ra ppers m ay s e em ” a bsu rd a nd a lit tle b it b ackw ard s to p eople in th e W est,” Id a

T o rre s w ro te in th e J a pan D aily P re ss, b u t it ’s a r e a lit y fo r J a panese w om en to ” a dhere to s o m e

o f th ese c u lt u ra l n orm s.”

I t is p ro ble m atic to s ta rt w it h th e p re m is e th at a w om an c o ve rin g h er m ou th w hile e atin g is

e vid ence o f r e pre ssio n. W e a re d ealin g w it h d if f e re n t c u lt u ra l s ta ndard s h ere . T he lib era tio n

w ra pper m ake s p erfe ct s e nse in a c u lt u re w here p olit e ness in p ara m ou nt in e ve ry d ay s o cia l

i n te ra ctio ns. F or in sta nce , s tic kin g y o ur c h opstic ks u prig ht in a b ow l is c o nsid ere d to b e r u de.

M ore ove r, a s I le arn ed fr o m m y J a panese a unt, s lu rp in g y o ur n oodle s m ea ns th at it is ta sty . If

d in ers a re e atin g q uie tly , th en th e c h ef s h ould b e w orrie d s in ce th at m ea ns th at th e fo od is n ot

g ood.

P olit e ness a ls o e xte nds b eyo nd m anners , e nco m pa ssin g b ein g o rd e rly , c le an, a nd r e sp ectfu l.

T he s u bw ays a nd s tr e ets in J a pan a re im pe cca bly n eat. T here w as a J a panese s ch ool n ext to

m y s ch ool in T a ip ei a nd w e u se d to m ake fu n o f th e s tu dents fo r h avin g to s cru b th e w in dow s

a nd c le an th e to ile ts .

F em ale b eauty s ta ndard s a re a ls o d if f e re nt. F ash io n a nd m ake up a re in te gra l p arts in a ch ie vin g

b i ( b eauty ) a nd k a w aii ( c u te ness).

W om en fr o m a ll c u lt u re s a re e xp ecte d to c o nfo rm to c e rta in s ta ndard s, a nd s e xis m e xis ts in a ll

o f th em . C halle ngin g c u lt u ra l n orm s a nd im ag in in g y o urs e lf in a d if f e re n t s o cia l s e ttin g w ould b e

a m ore u se fu l w ay to b egin a d ia lo gue a b out fe m ale e m po w erm ent th an la ughin g o ve r th e

s illin ess o f th e lib era tio n w ra ppers .

A rtic le # 3:K eepin g F ace in C hin a: U nders ta ndin g T he E ff e cts o f M ia nzi a nd G uanxi in

D ay-to -D ay C hin ese L if e

A rtic le b y G re gory M avrid es, P hD

T he c o nce pt o f ” fa ce ,” i. e ., m ia nzi, is a v e ry d if f ic u lt o ne to e xp la in in a fe w s e nte nce s. It is a ls o

i m possib le to d is cu ss ” fa ce ” w it h out in tr o ducin g th e r e la te d c o nce pt o f g uanxi, i. e ., ” re la tio nsh ip “

o r s o cia l n etw ork in g. N eve rth ele ss, th ese tw o c o nce pts , a nd h ow th ey a re e xp re sse d in

d ay-to -d ay lif e in C hin a, a re a bso lu te ly e sse ntia l fo r fo re ig ners to u nders ta nd, p rio r to th eir

a rriv a l, if th ey a re to a vo id fe elin g in su lt e d o r d is re sp ecte d.

F ro m a W este rn p ers p ectiv e , it is v e ry d if f ic u lt to fu lly a ppre cia te ju st h ow c rit ic a lly im porta nt th e

r o le o f fa ce is in th e d ay-to -d ay liv e s o f th e C hin ese . A r e ce nt s tu dy c o nducte d b y th e C hin a

Y outh D aily fo und th at o ve r 9 3% o f th e 1 ,1 50 r e sp ondents s u rv e ye d a dm it te d th at fa ce is v e ry

i m porta nt to th em , w it h 7 5% a ckn ow le dgin g th at m akin g a m is ta ke in p ublic w as, b y fa r, th e

m ost h um ilia tin g e xp erie nce th ey c o uld e ve r h ave ( S han, 2 005). In o th er w ord s, m ost C hin ese

w ill d o w hate ve r th ey c a n to a vo id lo okin g b ad in p ublic a nd th at o fte n m an if e sts it s e lf in a n

u nw illin gness to o penly a dm it to a ny w ro n gdoin g, n o m atte r h ow s m all o r in sig nif ic a nt th e e rro r

m ig ht h ave b een. T his p henom enon g oes a lo ng w ay in e xp la in in g, fo r e xa m ple , w hy th e v a st

m ajo rit y o f C hin ese s tu dents a re s o r e lu cta nt to v o lu nta ril y p artic ip ate in c la ss o r e ve n d urin g

l e ss fo rm al a ctiv it ie s s u ch a s E nglis h c o rn e rs : T he fe ar o f m akin g a m is ta ke in fr o nt o f o th ers is

j u st to o o ve rw helm in gly p ro hib it iv e … ( E dit e d fo r s e m in ar)

W hat m ost fo re ig ners s im ply c a nnot u nd ers ta nd o r a cce pt is th at, fr o m a C hin ese p ers p ectiv e ,

” ly in g” to e it h er s a ve o r g iv e fa ce is n ot v ie w ed a s a lie a t a ll w hen it is o bvio us ( to th em ) th at th e

i n te nt o r u nderly in g m otiv a tio n w as n eve r to d ece iv e .

A ll W este rn ers u se fa ce -s a vin g s tr a te gie s a s n arc is sis tic d efe nse s, i. e ., to p ro te ct th em se lv e s

f r o m h um ilia tio n, s o cia l e m barra ssm ent a n d, to s o m e e xte nt, p ers o n al a cco unta bilit y : ” S orry , I

w as s tu ck in tr a ff ic ,” o r ” th e c h eck is in th e m ail, ” a re tw o c o m monpla ce e xa m ple s. M any

s u ggest, h ow eve r, th at th ere is a s ig nif ic a nt d if f e re n ce b etw een W este rn a nd A sia n c u lt u re s in

t h e in te ntio n a nd fu nctio n o f fa ce -s a vin g s tr a te gie s. G ao a nd T in g-T o o m ey ( 1 9 98) s u ggest th at

” w hile in div id ualis t c u lt u re s, s u ch a s w este rn c u lt u re , u se m ia nzi to p la ce e m ph asis o n

n onin clu sio n ( s ic ) a nd th e c re atio n o f in div id ual id entit y , c o lle ctiv is t c u lt u re s fo cu s o n in clu sio n o f

o th ers a nd th e c re atio n o f a c o lle ctiv e id e ntit y ” ( p . 1 37).

W hat th is m eans, e sse ntia lly , is th at fa ce -s a vin g s tr a te gie s in th e W est a re a lm ost e xclu siv e ly

i n te nded to p ro te ct o nese lf fr o m n arc is s is tic in ju ry , ir re sp ectiv e o f s o cia l c o nte xt, w here as in th e

E ast, th ey a re c o nco m it a ntly in te nded to p re se rv e a nd m ain ta in s tr o n g s o cia l r e la tio nsh ip s ( in

w hat is r e fe rre d to a s ” fa ce -g iv in g”). R ela te d, th e n atu re o f th e fa ce -s a vin g/g iv in g s tr a te gy

e m plo ye d, a t th e tim e, w ill v a ry c o nsid era b ly ( u n lik e in th e W est) b ase d o n o ne’s p artic u la r

c o nstr u cte d r o le w it h in th e s o cia l n etw ork .

F or e xa m ple , im agin e th at a C hin ese c h ild a ccid enta lly k n ocks o ve r a v a se a t h om e a nd b re aks

i t . T o h is fr ie nds a nd d is ta nt a cq uain ta nce s, h e m ig ht s im ply s a y ” I d id n’t d o it ,” b ut to h is

p are nts , h e w ould m ostly lik e ly a lt e r h is s tr a te gy to s o m eth in g lik e ” I w as fe elin g d iz zy a t th e

t im e a nd lo st m y b ala nce . I a m s o rry I fo rg o t to e at b re a kfa st,” s o a s n ot to s h am e th em in to

t h in kin g th ey r a is e d a c a re le ss s o n. U niv e rs it y s tu dents n oto rio usly a nd d elib era te ly ” lie ” a ll o f

t h e tim e w hen c o m ple tin g th e te ach in g e va lu atio ns fo r th eir p ro fe sso rs : ” E xce lle nt” m eans g ood;

” g ood” m eans a ve ra ge; a nd ” a ve ra ge” m ea ns p oor— it ‘s a fa ce -g iv in g s tr a te gy w hic h is r o utin ely

e m plo ye d b y th em a nd is w ell- k n ow n. ( T his s tr a te gy a ls o s a ve s th em fa ce , a s it w ould b e a

s ig nif ic a nt lo ss o f fa ce to a dm it th at y o u h a d a te rrib le p ro fe sso r; it m ig ht m ea n y o u w ere p oorly

e duca te d o r w ere u nw orth y o f s o m eone b ette r. )

O ne o f th e m ost p oig nant a nd p ow erfu l illu str a tio ns o f th is c o lle ctiv is t, in clu siv e

f a ce -s a vin g/g iv in g s tr a te gy, I h ave e ve r r e a d, is e xp re sse d in th e fo llo w in g e xa m ple b y

H am mond a nd G le nn ( 1 988, p . 2 8):

A n e xa m ple o f th is c a n b e fo und in a r e ce nt C hin ese c o lle ague w ho w as a w ard e d a

p ost- d octo ra l r e se arc h fe llo w sh ip in E uro pe. T he c o lle ague, w ho w as s tu dyin g in T a iw an a t th e

t im e, p asse d u p th e p re stig io us fe llo w sh ip . H e la te r r e ve ale d th at h is fa th er w as u nem plo ye d a t

t h e tim e a nd h e th ought a cce ptin g th e fe llo w sh ip w ould d eepen h is fa th er’s s h am e, d is ru pt th eir

r e la tio nsh ip , a nd p ut th e fa m ily r e la tio nsh ip s o ut o f b ala nce . ” It is im po rta nt,” h e s a id , ” fo r th e

f ir s t s o n to b e r e ady to a ssu m e th e r o le o f h ead o f th e fa m il y w hen th e fa th er is r e ady to g iv e it

u p, n ot b efo re .”

I n th is c a se , th e y o ung C hin ese s ch ola r n eve r d ir e ctly s h are d h is fe elin gs w it h h is fa th er w ho

w ould h ave b een s h ocke d a nd s h am ed b y h is p osit io n. B ut h is fa th er im plic it ly u nders to od w hat

h is s o n w as d oin g, a nd d eeply a ppre cia te d h is s o n’s fa ce s a vin g c h oic e s.

I n C hin ese c u lt u re ” c o nte xt c re atin g c o m mun ic a tio n” s u ch a s a ctio ns, a ttit u de, b ody la nguage,

e tc ., a re fa r m ore im porta nt th an a ny w ord s th at c o uld p ossib ly b e s p oke n. F or e xa m ple , w hen

a ske d a d ir e ct q uestio n b y a W este rn er, a C hin ese m ig ht a nsw er ” y e s” b ut a ct a s if th ey h ave

s a id ” n o.” T his d elib era te ly a m big uous c o m munic a tio n is d esig ned to le t th e W este rn er k n ow

t h at th e r e al a nsw er is ” n o” b ut th e r e la tio nsh ip is w orth y o f p re se rv a tio n. ( e d it e d… ) In C hin a,

a ctu al w ord s s im ply d on’t m ean a s m uch to th em a s th ey d o to u s. In C hin a, v e rb al

c o m munic a tio ns p ale c o nsid era bly in c o m pa ris o n to a ctio ns a nd fe elin g s ta te s d eriv e d fr o m

n on-v e rb al m eta -c o m munic a tio ns.

C onve rs e ly , W este rn ers p la ce fa r m ore e m ph asis o n th e lit e ra l in te grit y a nd m ea nin g o f s p oke n

w ord s a nd, fr o m o ur p ers p ectiv e ( h avin g c o m ple te ly m is se d th e c o nte xtu al

m eta -c o m munic a tio ns), w e w ill o nly h ea r a ” lie ” w here a s a C hin ese w ould h ave k n ow n in tu it iv e ly

a nd p re cis e ly w hat w as in te nded a nd w ou ld n ot h ave p erc e iv e d in te ntio nal d ece ptio n a t a ll.

F ro m th e C hin ese p ers p ectiv e , th e o ve ra ll c o m munic a tio n w ould o nly c o nstit u te a r e al lie if th e

a cco m panyin g m eta -c o m munic a tio ns w ere d elib era te ly c a lc u la te d to m is le ad. T his d is tin ctio n

c o nstit u te s a w orld o f d if f e re nce b etw een o ur tw o c u lt u re s a nd is v e ry d if f ic u lt to a ppre cia te fr o m

a W este rn p ers p ectiv e . S om etim es th ese n on-v e rb a l c u es a re v e ry d if f ic u lt to in te rp re t u nle ss

y o u w ere r a is e d w it h th em … (e dit e d)

S om etim es a lie is ju st a lie ( e ve n in C hin a). H ow eve r, a nd in fa ct, s o m etim es th e a bse nce o f

” ly in g,” e .g ., a d ir e ct p ro cla m atio n o f ” n o ” w hen ” n o” w as in te nded, c o uld s u ggest g ro ss

d is re sp ect. T he C hin ese fe el it is r u de to d ir e ctly d eny a r e q uest, a nd w ill e it h er fa il to g iv e a ny

r e sp onse a t a ll o r w ill in dir e ctly s a y ” n o” w it h a q ualif ic a tio n s u ch a s, ” W ell, th at m ig ht n ot b e

v e ry c o nve nie nt.” A t o th er tim es ( e sp ecia lly w hen d ealin g w it h s o m e fo re ig ners a nd lo w er-c la ss

C hin ese o f n o p erc e iv e d s o cia l c o nse que nce , i. e ., th ose fa r r e m ove d fr o m o ne’s g uanxi

n etw ork ), a fa ce -s a vin g s tr a te gy a t th at m om en t w ould s e rv e n o ” in clu siv e ” fu nctio n a t a ll: T he

r e sp onse is s im ply in te nded to a vo id p ers o n al a cco unta bilit y a nd c o nfr o n ta tio n w it h a

n on-m em ber ( fr o m a g uanxi p ers p ectiv e ).

F or e xa m ple , a c o uple o f y e ars a go I w as in th e m ark e t fo r a n ew d og, a nd w as d elig hte d w hen I

f o und a n a nim al h osp it a l th at w as s e llin g m id -s iz e d p oodle s. I h ave o w ned p oodle s m y e ntir e

a dult lif e a nd n otic e d th at th e ta il, o n th e o ne I w as p artic u la rly in te re ste d in , h ad b een c u t a lit tle

b it to o s h ort. W hen I in adve rte ntly m ade th e r a th er s e rio us fa ux p as o f d ir e ctly c o m mentin g o n

t h is to th e o w ner o f th e h osp it a l, in fr o nt o f h is w if e a nd e m plo ye es, h e lo oke d a t m e fir m ly a nd

s q uare ly in th e e ye s a nd r e plie d, ” I d id n’t c u t th e ta il to o s h ort, it ju st fe ll o ff .” In th is c a se , th e

s h eer a bsu rd it y o f th e r e sp onse w as in te nded n ot o nly to c o nve y a d is in te re st in a ssu m in g a ny

p ers o nal r e sp onsib ilit y fo r th e m is ta ke ( a s I w as n ot a m em be r o f h is g uanxi n etw ork ), b ut to

a ls o e xp re ss h is d is p le asu re in b ein g ” c o rre cte d” in fr o n t o f o th ers b y b oth a n o uts id er a nd a la y

p ers o n. It w as a s if h e w as s a yin g: ” I w ill h ave y o u k n ow th at I a m a c o m pe te nt p ro fe ssio nal. I

k n ow w hat I’m d oin g h ere a nd y o u c a n tr u st m e, e ve n th ough th e ta il m ay h ave b een c u t to o

s h ort. Y ou h ave s o m e n erv e fo r e ve n m en tio nin g it .”

T he p oin t is , in in sta nce s s u ch a s th is o ne, th e r e sp onse is o nly a ” lie ” to u s ( a s W este rn ers )

b eca use w e a re n ot a tte ndin g to th e n on-v e rb a l c u es ( p a rtic u la rly in r e g ard to s lig ht fa cia l

p ostu rin g, e ye a nd h ead p osit io nin g, d egre e o f b ody r ig or a nd p osit io nin g o f h ands) th at

c o rre ctly in fo rm th e w ord s— if y o u k n ow w hat to lo ok a nd fe el fo r.

A rtic le # 4: T O P T E N C ULT U RE C LU ES F O R D O IN G B U SIN ESS IN L A T IN A M ER IC A.

M exic o , B ra zil, V enezu ela , C uba… th e 2 0 + c o untr ie s o f L atin -A m eric a a re a ll d if f e re nt, b ut s h are

c u lt u ra l s im ila rit ie s th at n on-L atin -A m eric a ns n eed to k n ow a bout.

D ean F oste r A ug 2 1, 2 017

W ork in g a bro ad is d if f e re nt. In d if f e re nt c u lt u re s, th e fo od is d if f e re n t. P eo ple d re ss d if f e re ntly .

P eople b ehave a nd e ve n th in k d if f e re ntly . S o w hy s h ould n’t th e w ay th ey d o b usin ess in d if f e re nt

c u lt u re s a ls o b e d if f e re nt? In m any w ays , it is , a nd y o u n eed to k n ow b efo re y o u g o. E sp ecia lly

t r u e if y o ur c o m petit io n k n ow s th e c u lt u ra l r u le s, a nd y o u d on’t . In th e n ew “ g lo bal w orld ”,

c ro ssin g b ord ers is e asy; c ro ssin g c u lt u re s is h ard . S o h ere a re s o m e im po rta nt to p te n

C ult u re C lu es fo r s u cce ssfu l w ork in L atin A m eric a :

# 10: If y o u’r e fr o m th e U SA, y o u a re N O T a n “ A m eric a n”; in ste ad, r e fe r to y o urs e lf a s s o m eone

f r o m “ C hic a go”, o r fr o m th e U nit e d S ta te s ( E sta dos U nid os, in S pa nis h ); r e m em ber, e ve ry o ne

l iv in g in th e A m eric a s is a n A m eric a n, a nd m an y L atin A m eric a ns d o n ot a ppre cia te w hen

U S-A m eric a ns c la im th e te rm “ A m eric a n ” a s th eir o w n. Y our g oal is to m ake fr ie nds, n ot a lie nate

p eople .

# 9: N eve r tr a ve l to L atin A m eric a w it h out p ic tu re s o f y o ur fa m il y ! In quir in g a bout th e h ealt h a nd

h appin ess o f th e fa m ily is o ne o f th e fir s t to pic s o f c o nve rs a tio n a t e ve ry b usin ess m eetin g. B e

p re pare d to o pen u p p ers o nally , s o th at p eople g et to k n ow y o u a s a p ers o n fir s t… who y o u a re ,

w hat y o u lik e , y o ur fa m ily , y o ur b ackg ro u nd, e tc . T he g oal is to e sta blis h a s e nse o f tr u st a nd

“ s im patic o ” ( th at y o u h ave y o ur a sso cia te ’s in te re sts a t h eart, a nd v ic e v e rs a ). O nce th at’s in

p la ce , e ve ry th in g e ls e is e asy; if th at n eve r h appens, th e d eal n eve r h appens.

# 8: T a ke y o ur w atc h o ff w hen y o u s it d ow n a t th e m ee tin g a nd p ut it in y o ur p ocke t. R ela x. T his

i s a n im porta nt s ig n th at y o ur m eetin g w it h th em is th e m ost im po rta nt e ve nt o f y o ur d ay. A rriv e

o n tim e fo r b usin ess m eetin gs, b ut b e p re pare d to w ait . S ch e dule m ee tin gs fo r th e m orn in g,

w heneve r p ossib le , a s o nce th e d ay g ets r o llin g, s ch edule s c a n g o o ut th e w in dow . O nce a

m eetin g is s e t, c o nfir m th e d ate a nd tim e a s it a ppro a ch es. S en d a n a genda a head o f tim e, b ut

k e ep it v e ry g enera l w it h tim e-fr a m es b ein g s e en m ore a s a g uid e th an a n a bso lu te ; a t th e

m eetin g, e xp ect d is cu ssio n to flo w in a ll d ir e ctio ns. B e p re p are d to s ta y a s lo ng a s n ece ssa ry .

# 7: F or s o cia l e ve nts ( d in ners , p artie s a t s o m eo ne’s h om e, e tc .) , a lw ays a rriv e fr o m o ne-h alf

h our to a fu ll h our la te r th an th e s ta te d tim e ( th e a ctu al tim e v a rie s d if f e re n tly c o untr y b y

c o untr y ). If y o u a rriv e “ o n tim e” a t s o m eon e’s h om e fo r a d in ner, fo r e xa m ple , y o u w ill b e th e

o nly o ne th ere , w hile th e h ost a nd h oste ss w ill p ro b ably s till b e p re p arin g. If th e d in ner is a t a

r e sta ura nt, th e a ctu al m eal w on’t b egin u ntil a n h our o r s o la te r th an th e s ta te d tim e, p re ce ded

b y d rin ks a nd h or d ’o euvre s. E xp ect d in n ers to s ta rt a ro u nd 9 p o r 1 0p a nd g o la te in to th e

e ve nin g ( o r e arly m orn in g).

# 6: W hen g re etin g y o ur b usin ess a sso cia te s, m en s h ould e xp ect th e L atin A m eric a n “ a bra zo ”,

w hic h is a k in d o f “ b ro ” e m bra ce w it h b o th a rm s, th at fo llo w s a fir m h andsh ake ; w om en s h ould

a ls o e xp ect a g entle r e m bra ce fr o m fe m ale c o lle agues, a cco m pa nie d w it h th e “ a ir k is s” ( c h eek

t o c h eek k is s): th e n um ber o f k is se s d epe nds u pon th e c o untr y ( 3 fo r B ra zil, 2 fo r M exic o ,

A rg entin a, 4 fo r C hile : th e r u le is , m ir ro r w hat y o ur L atin A m eric a n c o lle ague d oes). F ollo w in g

t h e a bra zo , w om en a nd w om en m ig ht h o ld h ands o r lin k a rm s; m en m ig ht r e st th eir h ands o n

e ach o th er’s s h ould ers , a nd L atin A m eric a ns, in g enera l, a re m ore c o m fo rta ble s ta ndin g c lo se to

e ach o th er: n orth A m eric a ns s h ould N O T s te p b ack!

# 5: T e quila in M exic o , e sp ecia lly a t a b usin ess m ea l, is tr e a te d a s a fin e b ra n dy: it is s ip ped a nd

s a vo re d. L esse r q ualit y te quila is “ s h ot” : ta ke a lic k o f s a lt fr o m th e s id e o f y o ur th um b, d rin k th e

s h ot, a nd fo llo w th at w it h a b it e o f lim e. M exic a n c u is in e, o uts id e o f th e s tr e e t- fa re , is r e gio nally

d if f e re nt a nd s o phis tic a te d: fo r e xa m ple , to rtilla s, a lw ays s e rv e d in in div id ual c o ve re d c o nta in ers ,

a re w hit e ( m ade o f w heat) in th e n orth o f M exic o , b ut y e llo w ( m ade o f c o rn ) a s y o u g o s o uth .

N ot a ll L atin -A m eric a n fo od is s p ic y h ot ( p iq uante ).

# 4: S om e n on-v e rb al s ig ns y o u s h ould b e m in dfu l o f: P ullin g o n th e e arlo be is a s ig n o f p osit iv e

i n te re st a nd a gre em ent; p ullin g d ow n o n th e lo w er e ye lid is a s ig n o f d is tr u st a nd d is b elie f; a fe w

d ow nw ard s tr o ke s o n th e c h eek in dic a te a dm ir a tio n fo r y o ur c le ve rn e ss. N EVER m ake th e U S

t h um b-to -fo re fin ger “ O K” s ig n, e sp ecia lly in B ra zil: it is v e ry v u lg ar a nd h ig hly o ff e nsiv e , a nd

d efin it e ly d oes N O T m ean O K!

# 3: M ost L atin A m eric a ns d re ss “ u p” fo r b usin ess: if y o u lo ok p ow erfu l, y o u w ill b e tr e ate d a s

s u ch , a nd if y o u d re ss “ d ow n”, it w ill b e a ssu m ed y o u h ave n o a uth orit y . U S “ b u sin ess c a su al” is

g enera lly N O T a ppro pria te fo r im porta nt b usin ess m ee tin gs in L atin A m eric a . M en s h ould ,

u nle ss y o u h ave in fo rm atio n to th e c o ntr a ry , a lw ays d re ss in s u it s a nd tie s, a nd w om en s h ould

s h ould a lw ays d re ss in fa sh io nable b usin ess s u it s .

# 2: A ntic ip ate th at E nglis h la nguage c o m pete ncy, u nle ss y o u k n ow d if f e re n tly , m ay b e

s u rp ris in gly lo w . M ost c h ild re n le arn E nglis h a s a s e co nd la nguage in s ch ool to day, b ut it is

m ain ly to r e ad a nd w rit e E nglis h , n ot to s p eak it . T here fo re , p eople u nder 3 5 h ave h ig her le ve ls

o f E nglis h c o m pete ncy th an o ld er p eople ( b u t th e o ld er fo lk s a re m ore o fte n th e

d ecis io n-m ake rs ), s o s p eak w it h th em a t m ee tin gs, b ut g iv e th em tim e to “ tr a n sla te ” to th e o ld er

m em bers o f th eir te am . K eep a ll p re se nta tio n s lid es e asy to r e a d, w it h m in im al w ord s, a nd h ave

a ll y o ur h andout m ate ria ls , if a t a ll p ossib le , tr a n sla te d in to S pa nis h o r P ortu guese ( in B ra zil) .

# 1: B e h um ble , a s y o u c a n s e e fr o m th e a bove , d if f e re n ce s a bound, a nd th ey a re n eit h er w ro ng

o r r ig ht, ju st d if f e re nt. If y o u w ant to s u cce ed in b usin ess in L atin A m eric a , s h ow th em th at y o u

r e sp ect —  a nd k n ow  —  t h e w ay th ey lik e to d o b usin ess. T hey w ill b e g ra te fu l fo r e ve n ju st a n

e ff o rt in th is d ir e ctio n, a nd y o u w ill e arn t h eir r e sp ect, a nd p erh a ps e ve n th eir b usin ess! A nd if

y o ur c o m petit io n k n ow s th e r u le s a nd y o u d on’t , g uess w ho g ets th e b usin ess!

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