Friday, November 7, 2008

Understanding Ethnocentrism

Understanding Ethnocentrism
Culture shock can be an excellent lesson to relative values and in understanding human differences. The reason culture shock occurs is that we are not prepared for these differences. Because of the way we are taught our culture, to some degree we are all “ethnocentric”.

This term comes from Greek root ethnos, meaning a people or group. Thus it refers to the fact that our outlook or world view is centered on our own way of life. Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s own patterns of behavior are the best: the most natural, beautiful, right or important. Therefore other people, to the extent that they live differently live by standards that the inhuman, irrigational, unnatural, or wrong.

Ethnocentrism is the view that one’s own culture is better than all other; it is the way all people feel about themselves as compared to outsiders, no matter how liberal and open minded they might claim to be.

 People will find aspect of another culture distasteful, be it sexual practices, a way of treating friends or relatives, or simply a food that they cannot manage to get down with a smile. This is not something we should ashamed of, because it is natural outcome of growing up in the society.

However as if we study other cultures, it is something we should constantly be aware of, so that when we are tempted to make value of judgment about another way of life we can look at the situation objectively and take our bias into account.
Understanding Ethnocentrism
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