When our body encounters distance

  Around 30 inches from my nose
  is the border of my body,
  and all the fresh air in between
  is private territory.
  If you’re a stranger and not in the same room as me,   please don’t act rudely beyond this line
  until I wave to you to be nice :   I don’t have a gun but spit.   ————W. Hugh Auden   Around 1960, a group of Cuban-Americans asked the local government in New York for a peaceful demonstration in front of the United Nations Building, and was allowed. On the day of the parade, one of the leaders of the event approached a New York police officer who was on duty and wanted to know the exact location of the demonstration. While the two were talking about the issue, the officer felt more and more uncomfortable as the leader of the demonstration kept getting closer and closer to the officer, and finally he Had to ask the person in charge of the event to stay away from him. However, due to the language barrier, the person in charge did not understand the meaning of the police officer. He still tried to approach the police officer and give him further explanations. Minutes later, the Cuban-American leader who came forward to question him was arrested on charges of threatening officers on duty.

  The thought-provoking ending of this event is a classic example of cross-cultural misunderstanding. American anthropologist Edward T. Hall believes that people should observe a certain spatial distance when communicating. In other words, the distance between people when we talk depends on our culture. When Hall studied the individual’s spatial distance, he pointed out that a person’s use of space is related to his ability to deal with others, and it is related to his understanding of the closeness and distance between himself and others. Everyone has their own territorial claim and divides it into four distinct areas; the vast majority of people operate in these four areas, he said. The four areas he listed are: 1. Intimate distance, 2. personal distance, 3. social distancing, 4. public distance. Among them, the intimate distance is 15-44 cm, and within 15 cm, it is the most intimate area, and each other can feel each other’s body temperature and breath; the personal distance is maintained at 46-122 cm, which is a slightly measured distance between people. The physical contact is less; and the social distance is about three times the personal distance, ranging from 1.2 to 3.7 meters. This distance mainly reflects a more formal relationship on business or etiquette, such as the boss to the employee. This distance is maintained when the order is issued; the last is the public distance, which is farther, with a range of 3.7 to 7.6 meters or more, which is suitable for speeches, speeches, etc. An important factor to take into account.
  In the personal distance area, Hall also distinguishes two areas, namely near personal distance and far personal distance. The short distance area is 46 to 70 cm. At this distance, you can still hold or hold your partner. hand. The distance between people is between 70 and 122 cm, which is called the limit of physical domination. At this distance, you cannot easily touch your partner, so that each other can maintain the right to be relatively alone in a sense. Specifically, Hall’s research has found that the North American middle class will maintain a relatively conservative physical distance when speaking, that is, the mouth-to-mouth distance should be more than 22 inches. In South American and Caribbean (such as Cuban) cultures, this distance is about 15 inches. In Middle Eastern cultures, this distance is shortened to 9 to 10 inches, so cultural differences create a distance required for communication. Beyond this distance is “foul.” “.
  The “story” I told above between Cuban-Americans and New York City police officers is because they have culturally different requirements for physical distancing. The Cuban parade leader tried to find a comfortable talking distance (15 inches) for him. But, unfortunately according to that officer’s culture, where physical distance between individuals should be kept around 22 inches, the shortened distance made him deeply uncomfortable and threatened. Had one of the two men understood the “rules of the game” about physical distancing between each other’s cultures, it would not have led to the arrest of the Cuban-American.