Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ethnocentrism and it's Impacts

   For you that don’t know what ethnocentrism is, according to Wikipedia, it is the tendency to believe that one’s ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relations to one’s own.  There are both positive and negative viewpoints of ethnocentrism. Positive viewpoints would include that you are proud of who you are and where you came from and have a sense of society. It can be negative because you may be locked on the viewpoint that you have the best cultural group and you are not openly willing to understand another’s culture.
   If you are to stay within certain cultural norms less conflict within the group and tension is to arise because you believe in the same concepts. Also, ethnocentric groups are less likely to be influenced by external forces because of their strong beliefs within their culture.  If you feel a part of society you then have a sense of belonging. There is nothing wrong with thinking your cultural groups are centrally important, but once you start comparing it to your own is when it becomes somewhat dangerous.
   Negative viewpoints of ethnocentrism include lack of diverseness and innovation.  If the group is the same they lack diverseness, and this can lead to lack of innovation. If everyone is the same how are they to grow as a group? Lack of innovation and diverseness can lead to misinterpreting outside groups because of unwillingness to communicate. Unwillingness to communicate can lead to lack of knowledge of other beliefs of different cultures.  Ultimately, this may lead to hostility towards others.
   There are definitely good and bad qualities to ethnocentrism, but learning to balance your beliefs with others is the main goal.  When I depart from London, I am going to get culture shock, as most people in the group will. It will not be what we are accustomed to; therefore, we need to embrace it while we are there and not be judgmental and comparative to our own. I love learning about other cultures and actually experiencing it is going to be incredible. It is going to be an amazing experience and I cannot wait!

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