Ethnocentrism Essay Research Paper A World of

Ethnocentrism Essay, Research Paper A World of Diversity Ethnocentric, derived from the Greek words of Ethnos, meaning race, people or cultural group, and Kentrikos, meaning concentrated

Ethnocentrism Essay, Research Paper

A World of Diversity

Ethnocentric, derived from the Greek words of Ethnos, meaning

race, people or cultural group, and Kentrikos, meaning concentrated

about or directed to a center is a word that greatly describes many

cultures on this planet we call Earth . The official definition of

Ethnocentric is ? characterized or based on the attitude that ones own

group is superior? or ?having race as a central interest?. There is a whole

world of problems, politics, and, other cultures, but it seems that the

average American?s only interest is that of themselves. The reason I chose

to focus more on the American being ethnocentric is because I have been

exposed the most to this culture.

Why is it that in most foreign countries being knowledgeable

about world politics is just as important as their own culture?s politics?

America is the melting pot of the world with so many different cultures

and we accept this variety into our country as we were accepted when our

ancestors came over. Today I feel that people are arrogant towards those

foreigners who don?t wash away their former demeanor. Why don?t we

realize that we are so lucky to live in a secure and free country that should

glorify diversity and not promote prejudice. When we make contact with

people whose beliefs and cultural tradition challenge our own perspective

most feel some sort of intimidation. Professor Michael Bond from Simon

Fraser University quoted:

“the mere existence of different others is inherently

threatening because they either implicitly or explicitly

challenge the absolute validity of one’s own perspective.

According to this analysis, prejudice is a psychological

inability to tolerate the existence of different others and

results from a need to maintain absolute faith in one’s own

cultural world view?.

Ethnocentrism in my opinion is very ignorant, unintelligent, and closed

minded in that your normal rituals may seem just as strange to other

cultures, but are seen by them in a more understanding way.

Ethnocentrism has been instilled in us since birth, learning to

attach our selves to our cultural groups depending on them for comfort

and a sense of safety. Piaget?s theory on child development states that a

child believes he is the center of the universe until he learns to ?de-center?

himself, i.e., he realizes that the world can be constructed from a number

of different perspectives. This is when the child starts to care for others

and takes a better understanding of respect and friendliness towards

them. People as a whole in a way have to ?de-center? their strong

cultural beliefs, as well as the thought that their culture is the only one

important enough to concern themselves with. American sociologist,

political economist and the originator of the term ethnocentric, William

Graham Sumner, in 1904 defined ethnocentrism as :

“the view of things in which one’s own group is the center of

everything and all others are scaled and rated, in

reference to one’s group. Each group thinks that its own

folkways are the only right ones. And if it observes that other

people have other folkways, these excite its scorn.”

Ethnocentrism may manifest itself in behavior such as warfare,

attitudes of superiority, hostility, violence, discrimination, and verbal

aggression. In the past, groups such as the Nazi?s, the Crusaders and, the

Muslims have waged wars and death over cultural and religious

differences using ethnocentrism as there incentive. Hate groups are also

formed on this notion believing that their religious or cultural group is

superior to others when in reality their customs are simply different.

I realize that we are all ethnocentric to varying degrees because

we are born into a culture at birth and we cling to that culture as a