ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

An Explanation of Ethnocentrism

Updated on February 24, 2015

Many people throughout the world do not know what “ethnocentrism” means; therefore it actually enhances their ethnocentrism and comes to be quite the hindrance to them. “Cultural relativism” also is quite misunderstood by people. In life today, it is extremely important to understand these terms and how to correlate them with our own day-to-day lives.

Ethnocentrism is when you, as an individual person or the universal “you” believe that your culture is at the center of the universe. As if no other culture can possible compete against it or amount to it. “The word ethnocentrism derives from the Greek word ethnos, meaning “nation” or “people,” and the English word center” (http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/ethnocentrism-faq.htm). Ethnocentrism comes from a lack of understanding. “A lack of understanding can also inhibit constructive resolutions when we face conflicts between social groups. It is easy to assume that others "should" have certain perspectives or values. How often are we prone to address conflicts when others tell us how we should think and feel?” (http://www.iupui.edu/~anthb/ethnocen.htm).

Everybody is ethnocentric about their own culture to a certain extent because if we did not believe our culture was the best then why would we have it?

Different types of ethnocentrism come up as events come and go. An example of this, is people’s debasement of Middle Easterner’s culture because of the war we are currently in. Many Americans look at the Middle Eastern culture and think that they are above them because we have a democratic style government and a more "Christian-based culture". It is often easier to believe people of cultures that clash with our own are less evolved and intelligent. That is very simply, not the case.


Ethnocentrism can be taken too far and terrifying outcomes can be forever marked into the slate of the Earth. Extremism, war, genocide, biological experimentation, slavery, etc. This is the line (to me, personally) that divides ethnocentrism from racism.

People are all people; culture is not biological, it’s from enculturation. No one culture is superior to any other culture. “Ethnocentrism leads to misunderstanding others. We falsely distort what is meaningful and functional through our own tinted glasses. We see their ways in terms of our life experience, not their context. We do not understand that their ways have their own meanings and functions in life, just as our ways have for us” (http://www.iupui.edu/~anthb/ethnocen.htm).


Cultural relativism simply means that you understand another culture. It does not mean that you necessarily agree with it. “… no one ethnic group has the right to say that their particular system of beliefs and values, their worldview, is in any way superior to anyone else’s system of beliefs and values. What’s right for one culture might be wrong for another and that’s alright. There is no absolute standard of right and wrong by which to compare and contrast morally contradictory cultural values” (http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/ethnocentrism-faq.htm). Cultural relativism is beautiful because it keeps people from holding onto stereotypical views that make them look down on others just because they engage in a different type of lifestyle.

None of us can live more than one life on this planet. Sharing and learning with others enhances us. In many ways it allows us to feel as though we have lived many lives. Let me ask you, do you know the races of the people in the photo below? Or do you just know that they are people? They are people.

Have you been in an interracial relationship?

See results

Do you have any family members you would identify as "racist"?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)