Ethnocentrism

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As I was reading the Bloom piece ethnocentrism came up and it got me to wonder, are we still in fact that way? Ethnocentrism, the idea of superiority of your own race or culture to another, is something I believe is still alive and thriving in the world today. The word, in some sense, has a very negative connotation (at least to me) but I do not feel as if it is that negative. Ethnocentrism has its positives and negatives. It is important to have pride in your own culture and beliefs and hold on to them in certain situations. However, the negative to it is when you are so ethnocentric you leave no room for change and thus no room for growth. I would argue that everyone, yes everyone, is in some way ethnocentric. Many a people believe their way is the right way, and while we listen to other’s viewpoints, still believe we’re right. This is a quality of being ethnocentric. Just look at our government and our leaders. Ethnocentrism is everywhere and will continue to grow and blossom.

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4 Responses to “Ethnocentrism”

  1. jsmith41 Says:

    I agree entirely that ethnocentrism is everywhere. And while some good may come from it, I personally feel the unjustified self-superiority it embodies brings more harm to society as a whole than good. While it may be healthy to take pride in your culture, beliefs, etc, there is a very fine line where “too much pride” takes over.

    During World War 2, The Nazi regime essentially created a nation fixated on national pride. Civilians of Germany, especially, ate very healthily, worked out and worked hard, all for the glory of the nation. A failure to do so was considered “stealing” from the country. It is unfortunate that such a functionally successful culture wreaked destruction across all of Europe and willing carried out mass genocide. (naturally, much of this was sprung from propaganda and media control, but is an example of the power of ethnocentrism).

    Additionally, earlier this week, I accidentally read an essay by Berreby titled “It Takes a Tribe”, highlighting how when one enters a group, the environment engenders a sense of a superior “us” and an inferior “them”. He especially demonstrated this with a freshman coming to a college campus. Within a matter of months, often weeks, a student becomes so wrapped up in pride of the school’s traditions, fads, processes, etc., that there is little reflection upon the possibility that the “hated rival school” might have been your own.

    I’m not really sure how well I am commenting on ethnocentrism so much as social dynamics, but everywhere you look, one can find a desire to belong to a group. Once part of a group, a distinction is made between the people of the group and non-group people. Once there, a pride of self (ethnocentrism being an extension of the mindset) embeds itself.

    So, as humans, we are driven to find a place. No one, not even the most diabolical of people feel in the wrong for their actions. It is such a powerful desire to justify ourselves, despite the fact that every person is immensely caught up in the belief of their own inevitability. With the right perspective, we can see how the two feed upon themselves. At the very least, it is something to think about…

  2. jkalla Says:

    Ethnocentrism is both a blessing and a curse without ethnocentrism people would no longer be tied as closely with their to their own cultures. This would be positive because it would cause people to look at others cultures without biases.
    This would be problematic however because different cultures have different beliefs and customs, so things that are accepted in some cultures might be shamed upon in other cultures. In theory this would be good for society because it would force the individual to examine all cultures and develop their own view of what is right and what is wrong universally. However there are some cultures that have customs and beliefs that directly contradict each other and that would make it impossible to decide if customs are either right or wrong.

  3. pdorjath25 Says:

    I agree with the fact that ethnocentrism is inevitable and will always be around. I also agree with joe in saying it could be good and bad at the same time. It coudl definatly be a good thing to have people having faith in their countries and cultures. This could make countries strong to some extent. I think at the same time it can be bad, people could be to wrapped up in their cultures and it could create a worse person. They may do things that are not logical only because they believe in their culture and nothing else could be right.

  4. Jason Smith Says:

    I am not looking to see like you, be like you or feel like you
    all I reaaly wanna do i baby be friends with you.

    Bob D.

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