Ethnocentrism is the word that deals with ethnicity, inter-ethnic relations and related social issues. The definition of ethnocentrism is “the use of one’s own culture as a yardstick for judging the ways of other individuals or societies, generally leading to a negative evaluation of their values, norms, and behaviors. In simple terms it is the thinking that one’s own culture or group’s ways are superior to others or judging other groups as inferior to one’s own.
Ethnocentrism sometimes leads us to make false assumptions about cultural differences. Sometimes we use our cultural norms to make generalization about other people’s customs and cultures and we don’t realize that we are thinking is shaped by our own culture. So we cannot really criticize other cultures and customs from what we have learned. Ethnocentrism distorts communication between human beings. The forms of ethnocentrism are racism, tradition, culture, and religion. Racism is a form of ethnocentrism. Not all ethnocentrism is based on racism. Some people may believe that their tradition is best. For example some people celebrate Christmas because it is a tradition, while others don’t because it’s not a tradition in their culture. Some believe that their culture is the best because it has worked out for them and it is superior to them. Some people believe that their religion is the best. Ethnocentrism is wrong because it leads us to make premature judgment. Others may not be very good at what we are best at. By evaluating others on what we best at, we miss the many other aspects of life that they often handle more competently than we do.
Ethnocentrism is most commonly found among people who are ignorant. If u do not accept the fact that not everyone is like you, if you do not put differences aside, if you feel anyone who looks different from you is bad, if you feel your point of view is the truth and anyone who sees it differently is wrong and bad, then you are ethnocentric.
For example Michael Jackson and his series of plastic surgeries had made people thinking wrong stuffs about him. Public thinks that Michael Jackson is stupid and dumb because he has changed his face from a black man to a white lady. He has a female voice and a female face. People believe from their own point of views and assumptions that Michael is gay. But the truth is Michael Jackson did series of surgeries to poetry a specific character in his movies and albums. Since he had money it was easy for him to transform himself. The second reason was his skin disease, which was causing the skin to turn white at some spots. Michael took females hormones to save the voice that his audiences liked. The female hormones kept his voice from changing, so his voice still was soft like that of a kid. People made a generalization from their own point of view that any man who has female characteristics could be gay. People are ethnocentric when they judged him in this way.
Second example of ethnocentrism was when the supreme court judge nominee Sonia Sotomayor made a comment on her speeches and she said “ I would hope that a wise Latina women with the richness of her experience would often than not reach a better conclusion as a judge than a white male who hasn’t lived that life”. Sotomayors comments can be considered both, racist and ethnocentric. Her comments are racist because she thinks Latino woman is better or superior to white males. Her comments are ethnocentric because she thinks that her experience’s comes from the superior life that she has lived and grown up with. She is implying that the experience the white man gets from his way of life will not help him reach a better conclusion.
Third example of ethnocentrism is in the video that Tom Cruise brags about Scientology. He insists that scientology has all of the answers. He states that Scientologist’s are the experts on mind and religion and that only they can help people in need. Tom is being ethnocentric in this video because he is expressing scientology from his celebrity point of view.
Ethnocentrism should be prevented because the assumptions that we make about others experience can result in false negative judgments and sometimes may also reflect false positive attitudes about others ways. Everybody is ethnocentric because we have limited experiences and since we will never experience every life situation in the world. We will always have our assumptions based on our existing limited experience, but it will be better if we control ourselves from being ethnocentric and bias towards others.