What is ethnocentrism?
Ethnocentrism is a concept that describes how we often view our own ethnic, racial group, or society as superior to others. It is a judgement that is made based on one’s own culture where it’s believed that certain practices are the correct way to operate rather than the practices of other cultures and societies.
Ethnocentrism is learned as we grow up because as we are socialised, we engage in practices and traditions within our own culture, and these become the ‘norm’ or viewed as ‘normal’. We usually automatically assume that any practice that is not part of our own culture is incorrect or abnormal.
A drawback to this way of thinking is that it can lead us to label another group as ‘them’ or ‘other’ and perceive their practices as strange or out of the ordinary. This creates an un-cooperative relationship with these groups since engaging in practices or traditions that fall outside of our view of normal might require us to compromise our own culture.
What are some examples of ethnocentrism?
- Expecting others around you to speak English or a language familiar to you without trying to learn theirs.
- Judging other culture’s diets and foods based on our own preferences and habits.
- Believing that your way of dressing, behaving, eating etc. Is the only ‘right’ or civilised way of doing things.
- A historical example of ethnocentrism is Nazi Germany who believed that the Aryan race was superior and persecuted Jews and other minorities, viewing them as uncivilised.
Ethnocentrism is a concept that describes how we often view our own ethnic, racial group, or society as superior to others. We usually automatically assume that any practice that is not part of our own culture is wrong or not normal. A major downfall of this way of thinking is that when we label another group as ‘them’ or ‘other’ and perceive their practices as strange or out of the ordinary.
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