Ethnocentrism: Cross-cultural Communication

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Ethnocentrism, an important concept in intercultural communication (IC), has been thoroughly discussed and investigated in present researches and studies. We may regard ethnocentrism as the feeling that one's group has a mode of living, values and patterns of adaptation that are superior to all others. Berry and Kalin concluded that ethnocentrism is lacking acceptance of cultural diversity and intolerance for outgroups. According to Bennett et el. (2004), an individual with ethnocentric views will avoid cultural differences through denying its existence, raising defense against the differences and minimizing its importance. Under such circumstances, potential communication problems could result in misunderstandings (Neuliep & McCroskey, 1997) and reduced levels of intercultural-willingness-to-communicate (Lin & Rancer, 2003). Negative stereotypes, prejudice and behaviours against the outgroup would obstruct effective intercultural communications from taking place. (Qingwen et.el., 2007).

Examples of IC problems originated from ethnocentrism are not scarce in our daily lives. With the return of sovereignty in 1997, there was an increasing number of Mainland Chinese moving to Hong Kong. I have a few friends from the mainland. They told me Mainland Chinese in Hong Kong are still subjected to negative labeling and regarded as “inferior” to Hong Kong Chinese. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Chinese remain conceited in their ways of life even some of them realize the Mainland Chinese have outperformed them.

Another example was my friend’s experience of taking IELTS examination last year. She was not contented with her score in the oral test. She quoted what the Australian examiner said: “Your English is having a strong American accent.” She thought she was unfairly graded because of the examiner’s bias over American English, but not of her performance.

From the above examples, we could see the origins of ethnocentrism could be diversified and ascribed to economic,...
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