If you’re not speaking, say so!

Posted on June 1, 2010. Filed under: American culture, cross cultural communication | Tags: , , , , |

The Supreme Court’s recent decision that  suspects must explicitly tell police they want to be silent to invoke Miranda protections during criminal interrogations is a spectacular example of American cultural communication patterns. You can’t just be quiet and have people get it (oh, he’s not talking) you have to say you’re not going to talk.

Americans are very direct and expect others to be equally direct. They do not read between the lines as well as cultures with indirect communication styles, and have difficulty understanding and recognizing nuance and inference.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this one: You don’t have the right to be quiet, because you didn’t say you were going to be quiet, you were just, well, quiet. No rights for you!!

As our newest judge, a.k.a the Wise Latina, pointed out, “criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent”.  As if not speaking is somehow ambiguous.

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