Becoming Multicultural in a Global World

5. Empathy: Empathy refers to the ability to know what it’s like to “walk in another person’s shoes.”

Empathic skills are culture bound. We cannot really view the world through another person’s eyes without knowing something about her or his experiences and life. Many scholars have attempted to come up with a more culturally sensitive view of empathy. For example, some experts stress that to achieve empathy across cultural boundaries people must establish strong relationships and strive for the creation of shared meaning in their interpersonal encounters.

Most scholars now agree that achieving cross-cultural empathy and trying to see the world exactly as the other person sees is very difficult. Consequently, scholars have recommended that multicultural persons utilise a process known as “transpection,” which often involves trying to learn foreign beliefs, assumptions, perspectives, and feelings in a foreign context. Transpection then can be achieved only with practice and requires experience and selfreflection.

by Abhik Roy