What Is Ethnocentrism?

Topics: Nationalism, Sudan, Central Intelligence Agency Pages: 4 (1130 words) Published: April 7, 2011
Causes of Ethnocentricity

In America, the greatest supremacy of the world, we have the most advanced and sophisticated culture in history. The inferior British drive on the wrong side of the road, and Greeks reek of the scent of Garlic. Does garlic really smell bad? Maybe the right side is the wrong side of the road, and other countries may feel the same way about their culture as those Yankees feel about their USA. What do we call the sense of cultural superiority? Sociology has a term called ethnocentrism, which is defined as “the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture” (about sociology). Many claim that ethnocentrism occurs in every society. The opposite of ethnocentrism is multiculturalism, which is the belief that all cultures are basically equal. Ethnocentricity is essentially a double-edged sword, and has been shown to be a powerful force that exhibits both positive and negative consequences inside a cultural group. There are three major causes of why ethnocentricity exists: individuals’ different life experiences, social and political power, and economic rationale. The truth is there is no one who can wholly abstain from being ethnocentric. Since it is impossible to experience the life situations of everyone in the world, we will always base some assumptions on life built from our existing finite life experience. It must also be noted that a worldview in which someone does not consider their view as the correct one, is inconsistent as it would be admitting falseness. In a social group or culture, ethnocentrism can produce a diligent, productive, and innovative society, while unchecked or distorted ethnocentrism can lead to racism, chaos, or war. Causal support for the existence of ethnocentrism can be found in the very definition of ethnocentricity itself, “characterized by or based on the attitude that one's own group is superior” (Merriam-Webster). The belief that one’s own group is...
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