Last semester I decided to take Ethical Controversies in Communication as an upper-division elective for my Strategic Corporate Communication major. Ethics is something that has always interested me and as a double major in Psychology, I thought this class would complement and bring together both of my majors. Throughout this course, we explored alternative ways of evaluating and responding to communication problems through the application of different ethical standards. We were required to keep a scrapbook in which we came up with our own modern-day examples to help describe an ethical principle we had learned that week. The environment of this class was extremely open which enabled inspiring conversations to take place. The professor did not attempt to push his views on us but rather explained the principle then asked us to consider how we might use this in our own life. Often times not everyone agreed on what would be the best way to use that specific principle and so we had to work together as a class to ensure we were all communicating effectively and ethically with each other.
One topic that we covered which really stood out to me was Mindfulness and Mindlessness. Mindfulness is the awareness of what you say and do, you think about your surroundings, how people are around you and how others affect you/ can be affected. While mindlessness is the opposite of this, it’s the lack of acknowledging effects, you do not think about how/what you communicate and how it can affect others. While this may appear as something that is obvious, when creating my scrapbook, I came across countless examples of people in positions of power who have acted mindlessly time and time again. For example, when Kim Kardashian was creating her shape-wear brand she first released it under the name Kimono. While this was just supposed to be a play on her own name and the combination of what she thought was just a cover-up, Kim was criticized for cultural appropriation with the mayor of Kyoto even writing her a letter asking her to drop the name. Even though Kim did end up changing the name her company lost thousands of dollars as Kimono was already printed on many of the garments.
As a graduating senior wanting to enter the field of marketing I think it is crucial to ensure that you are utilizing mindfulness and acting ethically whenever possible in order to make sure your product has the best chance of success. After completing this course, I understand how to make ethical judgments and decisions to a greater ability. I have a better understanding of how different organizations, cultures and religions may act in accordance to their ethical standard and how I can best go about communicating and responding to them. I am confident that I gained knowledge that will not only allow me to excel in my future career but also I leave with a breadth of skills that I can apply to any aspect of my life.