Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism are opposing but still complimentary forces in today's world. They are the cause of many wars and yet the enchantment of travel, trade and commerce. The topics can be defined as: eth"ÃÂ¢no"ÃÂ¢cen"ÃÂ¢trism (ethn sentriz m), n.
1. the belief in the inherent superiority of one's own ethnic group or culture.
2. a tendency to view alien groups or cultures from the perspective of one's own.
Cultural Relativism does not appear to have a definition listed in a dictionary however it is the practice of accepting the cultures of different people throughout the world not necessarily separated by geography.
Probably the most recent and blatant example of ethnocentrism was Milosevic's attempt at ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. However this is by no means the worst case. Unfortunately ethnocentrism is the cause of many wars. Ironically the US was labeled as the Cultural Relativism that countered Milosevic's ethnocentrism.
The US is not totally innocent of the ethnocentrism in view of the Indian wars or the US civil war. The US has been guilty of both reculturization of the native Americans in trying to force them to learn and live the white European ways and genocide in the wars and isolation. It appears that Milosevic was only concerned with genocide as Hitler was. In Asia it appears that China and North Korea are practicing ethnocentrism but not in an overt way as in Serbia. Rather China and North Korea practice it in not opening up to outside countries. In this way they are saying that they obviously don't want their cultures infected by any others.
Although these extreme and overt examples may appear to be negative to some people, they are examples of the desire responsible for the unique qualities of the...