Ethnocentrism In Your United States Essays Example
Ethnocentrism in layman's terms is judging or being critical of another culture, based upon what your own culture is. It is basing every other culture on the values, practices, and ideas of your own culture. Take this case for example. A western educated person, born and raised in the United States, might find the practice of the Masaai people's practice of drinking the blood and milk of cattle barbaric. But from an objective standpoint, this is actually very practical. The blood and milk help supply the Masaai people with much needed protein and nutrition in an otherwise calorie and nutrient deficient diet.
Ethnocentrism arose out of the old world's way of viewing the world. Before the age of technology and arguably now, the age of the internet, information flow was slow and sometimes even non-existent. So one's own culture was all that that person had to base other cultures on. When cultures did end up meeting in the world, other cultures seemed distant, barbaric, and to a person who thinks ethnocentrically, inferior.
There are many positive aspects of ethnocentrism however. Firstly, ethnocentrism functions as a heuristic that allows people to quickly make decisions without having to have in-depth analysis of another culture. Secondly, it allows certain cultures to have a moral obligation to help the needy in other cultures. It essentially casts aside the idea of moral relativism and suggests there is a truth in this world.
There are also negative aspects of ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism caused the colonization and subjugation of many cultures throughout history. This includes the tribes and peoples of Africa, some independent societies within Asia, the natives of North and South America and so on.
I come from a small town in North Dakota. Most people from my town do not venture too far from North Dakota. You could say that their view of the world is limited. This leads to some ethnocentrism, good or bad. My personal experience is when I was talking to one man. He had talked about the one trip he took to Colorado, and how everything was nicer in North Dakota. He talked about Colorado and played down their unique culture, and lifted up his own. It was difficult for him to see that there were other states, and in these states there were good and bad aspects of everything.
The Problem of Ethnocentrism. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2015, from http://www.interserveusa.org/the-problem-of-ethnocentrism/
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