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The Lapierre paradox in the cross-cultural knowledge

Fortunately, the Lapierre paradox proved that: “People say one thing, but they do something completely different”.


The Lapierre experiment consisted of two separate stages.


The first part of the experiment is the study of real behavior.


It should be noted that in the USA in the 30s negative attitudes relative to Asians were widespread.


Lapierre and his Chinese friends made a double car trip around the USA. During the period of travel from 1930 to 1933, they visited 67 hotels and 184 restaurants.


The second part of the experiment is the study of symbolic behavior.


Six months after the trip, Lapierre sent his letters with the questionnaire to those establishments visited by travelers.

The central question was: “Do you agree to accept representatives of Chinese nationality as guests in your establishment?”


Lapierre received completed questionnaires from 81 restaurants and 47 different hotels, that is, from half of the establishments visited.


To the question “Will you accept guests of Chinese nationality in your establishment?” NO answered in 43 hotels and 75 restaurants.


In practice, there was only one refusal.


No matter how paradoxical it may sound, multiculturalism is the way to preserve cultural identity, interaction and participation in a multicultural society.


In the 80s, John Berry introduced the concept of “acculturation” - a change of culture that occurs in the process of constant direct contact between two different cultural groups. Thus forever reconciled the French and British, living in Canada.


Angela Merkel, in her turn, added to this that so-called "multikulti" concept - where people would "live side-by-side" happily - did not work in Germany, and immigrants needed to do more to integrate - including learning German.


That was enough to a group of researches for identifying an importance nuance. Multiculturalism works better where all people are emigrants.


And here are 2 reasons why:


1 - All people, among other things, have ethnic attitudes.

Just some of them:

  • We are the best, we know how to. People try to impose their culture;

  • Cultures are not equal, but the same. Everyone has clothes, housing, vehicles, norms, traditions, values. They are not equal, because of different priorities;

  • Cultures are different, but equal. The current trend to relativise.


2 - Categorization is inevitable:

  • Based on self-evaluation (ethnic, cultural, professional identity. I am a woman/man, gender, age, profession);

  • Regarding existing ideas (value system, value orientations, norms, rules, ideology, politics);

  • Social - in relation to people.



Regarding all these studies we can conclude that the ethnic setting of a person is a system of a person’s attitude to time, nature and values.


Today, borders are blurred, and ethnic identity is growing. People fight for their culture, for their language and for their sovereignty. There is a paradox between globalization and the desire of people to preserve their culture.



Culturally yours,

La Classe


©2016 by La Classe.