Ethnocentrism is when we are so focused on the way ourculture, race, and ethnicity works that we fail to understand the way otherswork. For example, believing one’s own ethnic world view is the only way we canjudge and understand things like customs, practices, values, standards andhabits. This affects the way we perceive the world around us because its like walking around blind.
We don’t see possibilitiesof other ways of thinking, seeing, understanding, and interpreting the world. Agood example is when we talked about eye contact during lecture. Here we makeeye contact to show respect but, in the middle east it’s the other way around,because you have to look to the floor to show respect. An ethnocentric personwould consider one of these two wrong because they are expecting other culturesto follow their own.
This is wrong because people are not supposed to be so centeredin their own culture. Somenegative effects of having ethnocentric perspective on the world is that it canlead to violence or discrimination within a society. An example would be MartinLuther King Jr. Martin grew up in a society where he was discriminated notallowed to go to parks, schools, churches, or even drink from water fountainsjust because of the color of his skin. This was due to not only racism but alsobeing ethnocentric, because they believed that white people were superior andshould be allowed more privileges.
Another example would be Hitler which was Villa2also addressed in the book. Hitler believedJews were inferior to his ethnicity and deserved to die. Many innocent’speople’s lives were taken away in concentration camps all because he thoughtthey weren’t a pure race. (Miller, Barbara. Cultural Anthropology. UnitedStates.
Pearson Education. 03 Nov 2012.) Ethnocentrism can also be exploited tofoster conflict. An example of this would be when Donald trump became ourpresident.
In an article called “Ethnocentrism in the US” by ChristopherSantori says, “After it was apparent Mr. Trump was going to becomethe next president of the United states, some people were happy and some werenot so happy. What had happened in the days and weeks following the electionwere unimaginable. Call me naïve, but I did not expect to see as much hatespewed upon minority groups as there was. Muslim women having their hijabsripped off, black families waking up to hate speech spray-painted on theirhouses, men and women of Middle-eastern descent immediately pegged terroristsand being called that in public. Countless videos have popped up with hissupporters spewing hate rhetoric in the name of Trump. “Go back to theMiddle-east you terrorist f***, Trump is president now!” Things like these weresaid to other American citizens. If this does not scream ethnocentrism, I amnot sure what does.
” This caused a major conflict in the US because of the wayhe spoke about Mexicans, Muslims, and African American’s. His views on theseraces were very ethnocentric because he believes we bring nothing but badthings to this country. Someways we can address ethnocentric perspective in our daily lives is when peoplebelieve you should marry someone in your same culture. People believe that yourmarriage will last longer since you share the same morals, beliefs andtraditions. But that is not true, people need to realize that there isabsolutely no proof that a marriage will last longer and that point of Villa3view is coming from being ethnocentric. Inanthropological work you address ethnocentrism with Interpretive Anthropology.
This is when you “seek to understand culture by studying what people thinkabout, their ideas and the meanings that are important to them.” Medich Mellissa. (2018) Anthro 3 course slides 1.1.PowerPoint slides There is also Culture Relativism. This is “theperspective that each culture must be understood in terms of the values andideas of that culture and not judged by the standard of another culture.” MedichMellissa.
(2018) Anthro 3 course slides 1.1. PowerPoint slides This conceptrelates to ethnocentricity because it is a way to have an open mind aboutcultures and treating them with respect. This means you cannot judge a cultureor say one is right or wrong. Myown personal view on the world has changed because I am always growing andlearning new things every day. For example, I always like to see the pros andcons to everything.
It’s a way I make my decisions and handle situations inlife. I also like to remind myself that every problem has its solution.