Invisible Identities

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Intercultural communication is the interaction between individuals from different cultural backgrounds. David Engen begins by describing himself as a white working-class male. It’s due to his prestigious degree and current position as a college lecturer. It was primarily to explain his working-class upbringing. He expresses his delight in describing how his formal education in international communication has aided him in better understanding his life, communication patterns, and culture in general. This research paper will look at three concepts: identity, social class, and the relevance of language in the cultural world. 

The writer leads students on a trip to discover the value of talking with people from various cultural and social backgrounds. This review examines some of the article’s core concepts and how they relate to real-life circumstances.

Invisible Identities


Intercultural communication refers to a conversation between two people from two different cultures, and it primarily allows a populace between divergent communities to develop shared meaning (Baker & Sangiamchit, 2019). It is a symbolic and transactional process through which these people from different communities build a shared purpose. The article positively impacts students since it takes them into a world of real-life tales associated with intercultural communications without swaying their minds off the class (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011). 

The writer starts by identifying himself as a white working-class man in the article. It’s simply because of his fancy degree and his current position as a college lecturer. It was to explain his working-class background primarily. He describes how he is enthusiastic in explaining how his formal education on intercultural communication has been significant in helping him to understand his life, communication pattern, and generally his culture. 

This essay and in-depth look at three ideas that include identity, social class, and significance of language in the cultural world will be focused on the extremity. It also focuses on linguistic outcomes when people encounter others with different social backgrounds. Finally, they focus on how one can present themself to a flexible and effective intercultural communicator.


David Engen conducted an extensive study to improve “invisible identities.” The article focuses on “creating intercultural interpersonal connections in settings.” Additionally, it is also focused on examining cultural value components. Identity, or “individualism/collectivism,” is one of the value factors they highlight. They believe many of you have an integrated set of values in various situations, including I-identity and we-identity patterns. The goal is to increase your cultural value awareness quotient by looking into your value patterns and those of persons from different social” class backgrounds. 

Identity Significance

There is a strong sense of individualism in the United States. In the article, Engen (2005) narrates how when he was working in one of the literacy media for children based in the west of Chicago, one of the kids approached him and asked him why he was so white. According to the writer, he has never thought about his whiteness before. The kids no longer identify him as a college professor. What most surprised them was his red hair, pale skin, and glasses. This links to how the authors of the book “Understanding Intercultural Communication” explain how most churches hold this value of identity impacts how people worship, collaborate as a team, and reach out to the lost, among other things. 

The Bible Invites God’s people to work together in harmony. To lead in this area, the writer, as a pastor, must understand his value pattern, which will help him be more conscious of what is going on in the Church. As the body of Christ, the Church’s mission is to become increasingly collectively focused. When the writer recognizes and understands his individualistic identification pattern, he will be able to detect it in other Church members and move the Church toward a more communal function.

It is vital to find ethical ways of communicating with people from different backgrounds. The writer of the article “Invisible Identities” explains how working-class students will find it challenging to communicate with their parents (Engen, 2005). He explains how this type of class will struggle to respect their parent since much of their education has made them use unethical language. The writer further explains how once his parents convinced him to take a two-year degree course in accounting. It, according to the writer, lacks sophistication. Here, the writer realized that his parents were from a cultural community that empathized much on functional education (Engen, 2005). 

It is thus vital to find ways to communicate with people with different cultural backgrounds. The article’s writer takes us through a journey of understanding the importance of communicating with people with different cultural backgrounds. The students are initiated with how to share with people with divergent cultural backgrounds domestically and internationally. 

In this article, the cultural values of various communities across the globe are covered. Besides this, it has also focused on identity issues. Through the key-value dimensions of individualism, the writer encourages analyzing cultural values (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011). These values include; power distance, collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity. Like the rest of the book, Ting-Toomey, and Chung (2011), this chapter has allowed the students to reflect on their attitudes and behaviors by handling mini-quizzes that will measure certain situations’ conduct. The authors have explained that cultural values are not discussed on an organizational, personal, or institutional level (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011). It explains the diversity in applying cultural values in a real-life setting (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011).

The article focuses on perceiving social class as a causative agent of cultural diversity. The author has also expressed the communicative struggle linked to being white and a working class. According to the writer, the class difference in most American universities is often ignored. The chapter focuses intensely on these cultural and ethnic identity issues (Engen, 2005). The chapter describes “identity” as a reflective self-conception and self-image derived from family, cultural, ethical, and individual socialization processes (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011). The article’s writer explains that everyone has more than one identity, and depending on the prevailing identity, a person can be triggered to put forward a specific identity. Depending on the overall situation and environment, an individual can switch between various identities flawlessly. Besides this, others choose which identity to put forward.

Formally, these were explained as an emotional significance attached to the personal sense of belonging to a broader culture. The latter has been described based on origin, language, race, and religion compared to the former definition. The communication ways and the behavior of an individual are greatly affected by the societal norms and customs of a dominant cultural group that an individual belongs to (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011). Interestingly, an individual’s behavior and communicational skills are immensely affected by a dominant cultural group’s cultural norms and customs.

Understanding Social Class

The writer explains how fashionable it is in the United States of America to talk about race and gender. The writer has also explained that the subject of “class” is uncool and has initiated nervousness and uncertainty in many. It is intuitively known to many that America has numerous social classes. It has been made clear by the dressing mode of people. Besides this, it is also taught to children. According to the writer, the different social classes enjoy other conditions of life. These social classes significantly impact, especially in viewing the world, developing divergent conceptions of life and hopes and fear. From a different perspective, this world’s view plays a prime role in deciding on the attitudes and values associated with a particular social class. The writer explains the core and ethical matters related to a specific type of work culture. It expresses how it is important to be careful when talking about generalization. 

Significance of Language in the Cultural World

It was in one evening when the writer narrates how his mother looked at him in the eye when he was from graduate school. The writer explains how his mother told him that he was too smart to make small talk. According to the writer, it meant to him that he was not getting good for anything but education. Education had played a prime role in gradually developing the writer’s language, especially in expressing himself. It is connected to the book “Understanding Intercultural Communication” by ng Tooney that it is focused on the process of cultural shock.

 According to Ting-Toomey and Chung (2011), cultural shock is not all negative. It creates an environment and an opportunity to experiment with their coping behaviors and ideas. It forcefully steers the individual to surpass the usual boundaries of thinking and experiencing. Interestingly, Ting-Toomey and Chung (2011) have explained how we cannot make sense of the cultural world without language. Besides this, language plays a prime role in passing wisdom from one generation to another.

A third notion on intercultural conflict skills is mindful listening. In the article, the writer explains how it is important to learn issues such as those taught on a topic about intercultural communication. The members of a more privileged group will forcefully be steered to deal with cognitive dissonance associated with their education. To understand the issues about intercultural communication, an individual is required mindfully listen to the subjects being taught. Mindful listening is a face validation and power-sharing skill (Arasaratnam, 2015). 

The disputants must deliberate to listen with focused attention to the social and personal assumptions presented in the conflict interaction during a disputed episode (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011). “To help with attentive listening, Ting-Toomey and Chung recommend practicing “paraphrasing abilities” (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011). According to Ting-Toomey and Chung (2011), this will be a valuable tool for coping with conflict within the culture of a new Church. Several things influence what other people say. People are not always able to communicate themselves well. He believes that if he pays great attention to what the other person or party is saying and even tries to summarize what they are saying, he will comprehend them better.

To the writer, this strategy appears to attempt to remain as neutral as possible throughout a conflict to the best of their abilities. It entails praying about one’s opinions on a topic and comprehending the other party’s point of view based on previous experiences. It is the ability to empathize with and understand others. According to the writer, this would be beneficial because he will need to communicate with members and other leaders in his future pastoral career (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011). Failure to do so could result in the emergence of a ruthless leader who is unconcerned with the welfare of others.


In conclusion, according to an observation in the preceding essay, the most exciting cases demonstrate how humans cannot make sense of the cultural world without language. Aside from that, language is critical in transmitting wisdom from one generation to the next. Surprisingly, a dominant cultural group’s cultural norms and conventions have a significant impact on an individual’s conduct and communication skills. It is perplexing how the writer’s parents care less about his employment, yet they sponsored him throughout his education. Additionally, it is confusing how comparing one’s ethical and cultural beliefs to those of others plays a significant part in explaining how certain people behave and the meaning behind their actions. Finally, it is also confusing how working-class students struggle to find ways of communicating with their parents, yet most of these working students are supported by their parents.