Ethnocentrism and its Affects

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

"Ethnocentrism" is a frequently used word in circles where ethnicity, inter-ethnic relations, and similar social issues are of concern. The normal explanation of the term is "thinking one's own group's ways are superior to others" or "judging other groups as inferior to one's own.? Everyone is ethnocentric, and there is no way not to be ethnocentric... it cannot be avoided, nor can it be willed away by a positive or well-meaning attitude.

The supposition we make about other peoples experience can involve untrue harmful judgments, reflected in the common definition of ethnocentrism. For instance, Anglos may watch Cree Indians sitting around a camp not doing noticeable work that is needed and see Crees as "idle". Westerners usually value "being busy" (industriousness), and so may not understand the Cree ability to relax and not be obliged to follow some behavior of a fleeting nature, nor do they realize how much effort that is put into other activities like hunting.

Presumption can also reveal false constructive attitudes about other people?s ways. For instance, we in the urban industrial society often think of Cree Indians as being "free of the stresses of modern society," although this view fails to identify that there are many emphasis in their way of life, with the threat of starvation if wounded while inspecting a trap line a hundred miles from main camp or when game cycles lessen. Untrue optimistic presumptions are just as deceptive as untrue unconstructive assumptions.

At the sensitivity of this is that we do not understand that we do not understand! So we are not aware that we can develop more compelling knowledge about how other people experience life. We simply continue in our lack of knowledge. Yet this can have consequences inside our own society and in international relations. There are tremendous forms...