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Feyisayo Anjorin

Freelance Director, Afro-Carribean Media Group

TEDCRED 100+

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Is it possible for an individual to be without ethnocentrism?

Ethnocentrism involves using the ideas and beliefs of one particular culture to judge other cultures.
It is so similar to pride in the sense that we loath it in other people/cultures; but we are hardly conscious of it in our own culture.
Our beliefs and worldview is as a result of years of living in our community and seeing things done in a particular way; years of familiarity with the material culture, social structure, religion, history, philosophy and ideals.
We usually percieve our culture as the logical, reasonable and normal way to live; and we often wonder "How anyone could ever live like THAT?!"
It is usually the chief enemy of marriages. The husband has grown up in a different home environment, under different circumstances, and with a different experience. He would wonder why the wife is behaving in a certain manner that is contrary to his ways; and so does the wife.

Is ethnocentrism inevitable?

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    Sep 4 2012: From a possibility perspective, yes, there is, 100%. I had written something about this topic in a different conversation.

    There's a book called "On identity" by Amin Maalouf. It basically argues that a person is an amalgamation of all whom he interacts with or the places he visits.
    So, the more well travelled or the more receptive a person is of other cultures and people, the more that person would evolve into a worldly being, and has knowledge or beliefs that are above and beyond his or her own culture, and thus would minimize his judgement on other cultures, as he himself grows.
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      Sep 6 2012: Imad. "In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong" is definitely in my top 10 lists of favorite books. Maalouf goes on to state, and I paraphrase... when we fail to notice the various allegiances{links} that we have with our fellow man; we begin to create an "other" or someone totally diferent and completely isolated from us. It is at this point that stereotyping enters the arena
  • Sep 17 2012: I work with many different cultures, and while it is evident that the people I work with always approach tasks from a familiar starting point (i.e., their own cultural perspective), what I see again and again is that we are all human first and culturally determined second. This is not to downplay the effect that cultural determination can have on our interactions with the world. It can sometimes be very significant. For example, I lived with some native Americans up near Alaska for a while and I lent one of them my jacket. He kept it! When I started to inquire about why he wasn't giving my jacket back, I discovered the idea that native ideas of private property are very different than my own. In my culture, his action might be called stealing, whereas in his culture, I was part of his community and my jacket was community property. When I discovered this, I was not angry that he kept the jacket. Rather, I was gratified that, even as an outsider, I had been included in his community. I give this example to show that cultural ideas are very powerful, yet even more powerful is our capacity for understanding each other as human beings.
  • Sep 14 2012: There are three questions:
    1. Can you not judge?
    2. What do I call 'familiar'?
    3. How am I taught to react to the 'unfamiliar'?

    Can we not judge? To a certain degree. We judge others in our thoughts - even others within our culture.
    Do I know what is familiar to me? We develop this based on what is made available to us.
    What is my reaction to the 'unfamiliar'? This is developed by how it is presented when it is made available to us.

    If I eat only 10 oranges and 1 apple every day, this will be my familiar ideal. If a friend ate 9 oranges and 2 apples everyday, I can relate to him easily. If I saw someone eat 9 apples and 1 orange, I would say in my mind 'ah, interesting. I don't think I could live that way, but I see that he does.' If a teacher (who eats only oranges) said, "beware of those who eat vegetables" I would be confused. "What's a vegetable?"
    And then my friend who ate 9 oranges said, "I have someone wonderful I want you to meet! He eats Apples, but also cucumbers!" "What's a cucumber?" All three of us meet and we all talk of apples. I am given a cucumber, sliced. I try it and because of the generosity I am experiencing, I become happy with this new experience and I agree with my friend. "Yes, this is a wonderful person. This is an odd yet wonderful ... well, what is a cucumber?" "It is a vegetable." Now, I have information where I need to make a 'grown-up' decision about. A teacher who ate only oranges, not even apples said to avoid vegetable people. That teacher did not show me love for a pure orange diet. I decide the teacher is wrong. "A pure orange thinking is wrong." I thank my friends and leave. Before I arrive home, I am attacked by a man and killed. The last thing I hear is "Long Live Cucumbers."

    What we have is the first question being the most important. Can we not judge? Should we judge? We live on a planet we want to categorize efficiently, but the distance from me to you might just be an odd yet wonderful meal.
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    Sep 11 2012: I think Humans by necessity must judge other phenomena, whether it be culture, a person or an experience, by what we already know. To not do so would make it very hard to function in everyday life. It's a cognitive bias known as the anchoring effect. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it effectively just means our perception of the present is partial to what we have already experienced. Although it is of course possible to compensate for this, I think the challenge lies in understanding how immensely subject you are to all these faults in human reasoning. And from there being able to isolate, and analyse each fault one by one. A very tedious task I think, and as such not one undertaken by an abundance of people.
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      Sep 12 2012: The obvious response to this would be to educate our children from 5 year olds up outside of the home culture?
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        Sep 12 2012: I don't think there are an awful lot of five year old children who would be able to grasp the concept of ethnocentrism. And even then do you mean that we should educate them in every culture? I suspect that being raised while being consistently told a vast amount of contradicting opinions and beliefs would not be good for a child. Also given the sheer number of different cultures out there, the parent would have a nigh impossible task set for them. Besides which, most ethnocentrism is harmless. Sure you get the extremists, but I think most people are happy to let everyone be who they want to be. For example you can disagree with religion but as long as those who are religious don't come knocking on your door to tell you about the coming apocalypse you're generally happy to let them get on with it. I'm agnostic but I have friends who are religious as well as friends from a broad range of different cultures and backgrounds. Sure I have my opinions but I also respect them as individuals, so I don't argue with them about something that doesn't effect me or our relationship. And if it ever does then we negotiate and we compromise. So while I do think ethnocentrism is inevitable, that doesn't mean you can't be civil about it. :)
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          Sep 12 2012: I was thinking for our young to grow up with a total global view,we educate them outside of nz while we do the same for another group,when they return they might not want to stay,we're very lucky in a way,we're not totally ethnocentric but a mixture of a few,kiwi/maori/islander/indian/asian, just to name the main groups,diverse and being still geographically isolated it would be great to see how it is in a hundred years or so,if we survive getting quaked and sunburnt.
  • Sep 7 2012: I have always taught that Ethnocentrism is a doctrine or policy of a specific group of people in a set location. That they share ideals, values, and culture. If that culture is introduced to another than yes, ethnocentrism is inevitable. What we as educators, and parents, need to do is teach about cultural relativism. Teaching the art of looking at other cultures through their eyes, not tainted by our own experiences, and not judging. Using what they call the sociological perspective, standing back and observing. My children have traveled and interacted with many people from around teh world and I am always amazed at the friendships they have made, even though in our discussions they may say that a certain way the kids from Romania act are wierd or different, they still understand that it is a cultural thing. (Romania is just an example, they are by no way wierd!)

    As to the point of marraige, this is what makes a good sitcom. If husband wife and familiy are all the same, they would be boring!! The trick is acceptance and understanding. Extreme ethnocentrism to the point of prejudice and racism is not inevitable in all situations.

    Just so you know, many of my students have responded to this question. They are 10th graders from Pennsylvania learning about European History and grasping the ideals of what culture is. Thanks for the opportunity to be involved in this discussion.
  • Sep 13 2012: Well by definition, ethnocentric is 1. Belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group.
    2. Overriding concern with race. I think both of these things are not good for human beings. You can have an overriding concern with race I suppose without arrogance, but not with the belief that your group is superior. I just wish we could finally overlook the color of skin and the cultures we come from; we'd see that people are pretty much the same.
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    Sep 7 2012: Ethnocentrism has to give way to 'Humancentrism' if the Earth is considered as a paradise for all forms of living organisms with equal right to live and prosper so long as we live. After all, birth as well as death are inevitable happenings for all living organisms be plant, animal or human wherever they are. LOVE devoid of selfishness can easily drive out ethnocentrism to give way for humancentrism. It is worth making constant and consistent efforts towards this goal. We need to change our mindset. That is all. I thank the initiator of this topic. This concept has been very much in my mind since long.
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    Sep 4 2012: I would actually say, it's not just possible... but, it's a yin and yang. As much as we desire to interact with people who make us "comfortable", or conform to our social norms. Human beings are also naturally curious, and fascinated by difference. I would almost suggest that in reality, the individual is as heterocentric, as he or she is, homocentric. The violence created by homocentricity, and ethnocentricity however, is so palpable, that it makes us almost unaware of the part of our brain that says "Oooooh... That's exotic, unique, rare.... What's that all about?"
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    Sep 4 2012: So now my view is split. I admire what thinkers have done to shatter tradition, I admire their courage and their curiosity. But I also look back at what we've also shattered, tradition as stories that have gone down countless generations, heritage from our ancestors, people like us struggling with the same issues, standing underneath the cosmos at night and wondering what to do.
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    Sep 16 2012: I don't believe ethnocentrism is inevitable. Take the example of the 5 directions, north, south, east and west the fifth is the beginning position to judge where you go to. Think of yourself and your cultural view as being this fifth direction or yourself about to got either north, south , east or west. Then place yourself in this position from somebody else's cultural point of view.

    A phrase for this philosophy was cultural anthropology and became very prominant in the 1990's out of a university in Hawaii, native american studies and maori studies in New Zealand.

    For example in NZ maori culture in the past was judged from a european or UK cultural perspective it was now being studied with the cultural values of the culture which spurned it, maori culture. Then this viewpoint is presented to other people from other cultures as an academic study.

    I'm trying to remember the first thesis my mother Mina Mckenzie was involved with these discussions. It is her analogy the 5 directions. These anthropologists were looking for a way to view and look after the treasures in there museums. I believe one of the upshots of this process was the asking of the maori preserved heads held in foreign museums to be returned.

    I hope this makes sense.
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      Sep 17 2012: hi Anna.
      your example makes me think a lot .it can't help leting me think 'is an american's english level better than a noenglish-speaking person.i don't thnk so .
      i think it is a question of tolerance.when we think at a hight of world .your people are my people .your culture is mine.then we won't have a differernce.now with the developement of the tecnology.people from differert countries can talk freely exchange our ideas.then we are getting much in commom we are towards the same.
      if this is the year a thousands year ago.we don't learn about each other .when we koncked.what will we do i think we will metch each other .because we just have fearness.
      so communication can make us learn more about each other.then we can feel much safer!
  • Sep 13 2012: Yes and no. I believe if one is truly centered and in touch with the truth then they will naturally live by different principles, not being xenocentric or ethnocentric. People are ethnocentric for many reasons, ignorance, fear, gain etc. Although ethnocentrism is not inevitable, it has proven nearly impossible to avoid within the human species. Perhaps it’s just the animal in us.
    People grow up absorbing the behaviors and values of whatever culture they are in and consider anything outside to be "different", while at the same time feeling different and apart themselves... which I think is part of the beginning of ethnocentrism. (Please note that even within cultures social stratification occurs often which seems, to say this behavior begins within us early and exists even in our own families) Until humans can see themselves as being one with all things and each other, we will continue to have this problem.
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      Sep 13 2012: Yvette, I don't think ethnocentrism is a problem.Don't you think there is a way of being ethnocentric without being arrogant?
  • Sep 12 2012: I don't think it is possible to be ethnocentrism. It is not natural. If it is possible then there would not be so many wars in the history of humankind post human civilization. Which (wars) are happening even today and will happen in future. Humans are community-centric by nature meaning they feel that their community is superior over the rest, this feeling implicitly creates the boundaries. The most of the population (because nature hardwires this feeling in us for survival) feels the following way 'I am better than others' then 'My family is better than other families' then 'My community is better than other communities' then 'People from my state are better than people of other states' then 'people of my country are better than people of other countries' and this goes on to 'people of this world are better than aliens of other worlds' is it not true? Take this example in sports (it applies to all the fields where you exhibit one can exhibit excellence!), if there is a race between you and your brother you would strive to win the race, if there is a race between your family member and neighbors family member would want your family member to win, you can keep extending the boundaries to whole universe with simple mathematical induction! Forget about humans concept of altruism is NOT a natural selection.
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    Sep 10 2012: It is interesting that even within national boundaries there are subcultures with very different views, values, behaviours etc.

    I guess it is difficult to assess other values, traditions, separate from your own values. Perhaps you can be open and empathic but I'm not sure we need to accept things as reasonable that clash with our core values.

    I wouldnt say our culture is particularly logical. Some aspects are positive and some negative. Same as other cultures, more or less on different dimensions.
  • Sep 9 2012: Many people don't have the ability to realize that the eyes they see the world through are not unbiased. The prevailing culture one grew up in coupled with values instilled by parents creates an identity that is deeply ingrained within each person.
    Even as an educated adult, I have to ask myself to take a step back and see my own motives, pre-conceived notions, and insecurities when looking at a situation.
    The propaganda in the news and advertising often taps into our own ethnocentric and egocentric tendencies to pull at us to lean in a direction.
    We are not a blank slate. This being said, many ideas of other have been carved deep into our minds and remain a part of us forever.
  • Sep 7 2012: Ethnocentrism probably can't entirely be eliminated, because it is going to always take more effort to think in ways alien to one's own culture.
    However, this is an area in which it pays to be conscious of that judgement, and to consciously suspend it.
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    Sep 7 2012: After gaining Nation status when the Revolutionary war ended in America, we experienced internal problems in the individual states. I think this Statehood, sense of Ethnocentrism culminated in our Civil War. While we do continue to have patches of this in the separate states, as a nation I think we are developing many workarounds to deal with it through our Federal System of checks and balances.

    Is it inevitable? Perhaps it is inevitable. I think as long as we can find viable solutions that keeps the idea of “neighbor” alive in everyone’s mind, we can deal with it.

    The application to marriage between husband and wife is very easy to deal with:

    Yes Ma’am: it is as you say my wife. I will do this. No, the dress does not make you look fat. Of course it’s not my money, it’s ours.

    It probably has similar variations in partnerships and business: Yes boss. The dress looks very pretty boss. Your idea is much better than mine boss.
  • Sep 7 2012: Ethnocentrism is indeed inevitable because comparing yourself or your culture to another is simply unavoidable. Years ago, cultures were distinctly separated, as opposed to now a days when cultures are more mixed in most areas, especially in the United States. Even though everyone knows it is fact that no one culture is better than another, people still feel the need to be ethnocentric and compare cultures. Comparing culture is not necessarily a bad thing if it is peaceful and harmless; although it can be dangerous if one is insisting his/her culture is superior to all others, for this could get violent and start riots, etc. Everyone has the freedom to believe in what they wish and it is unfair for one to ridicule or mock other cultures that are not their own. It is not your culture, so just leave it be; if you do not agree with it, still keep your opinion and comments to yourself. Eccentically, ethnocentrism is "judging a book by its cover" because if you do not practice the culture or religion, you do not know enough about it to judge it as so. This is why I believe ethnocentrism is inevitable.
    • Sep 7 2012: I believe that you are pointing at an area we all need to look at here, when you say that ethnocentrism, which i understand as a collective form of egoism, has to do with our comparing each other and making judgments about each other, which is unfair. I do not believe that our habit of comparing is inevitable or unavoidable. I believe we do well to be conscious of it, and to recognize when we make comparisons and to feel what that does to us.
      I feel that just the thought that it could be possible to engage with one another and one anothers cultures without the need to be more right or less, or more developed or less or more or less anything, is freeing.
      • Sep 8 2012: That is a very good point and I completely agree with you, but that is only SOME people who are conscious of their habits of comparing. Some people do not recognize that they are doing wrong by making a comparison and therefore do not understand how it makes others feel and how it puts them down. In conclusion, I can say that I believe ethnocentrism is inevitatble only for some people and for others it is avoidable.
  • Sep 7 2012: It would seem as though ethnocentrism almost certainly is inevitable. As humans, we automatically see the things that we do, as the only and right way of doing them. We all have our cultures, and look at ours as "the best". However, there really isn't any culture that is "better" than any other. We are entitled to our own opinions, but that shouldn't give us any right to judge the way others do things. I think that we shouldn't make ignorant judgments of any one person or group because of their culture. We should keep an open mind, and realize that "our way" isn't the only way things are done. Hence, ethnocentrism may be inevitable, but it can be overcome.
  • Sep 6 2012: I was born in post-war Germany of Austro-Hungarian roots. I have a son whose father is Peruvian and daughter whose father is half Choctaw Indian. My only grandson is part Delaware Indian. It's been interesting but never dull. Where we always all agree is in human rights. How did that happen? Perhaps I was blessed. And perhaps it just takes an open mind and an open heart, firmly rooted to Mother Earth and Father Sky, so to speak. .

    Human rights of course takes into account all humans regardless of sex, ancestry, race, colour, creed, national origin, sexual persuasion, ethnicity, familial status or education & economic/social standing.

    It's really simply to be ethnocentric and have globally-conscious values, I think and usually it takes a lot of soul-searching into the question: "Who am I?*
  • Sep 6 2012: I do think it is possible to experience a reality beyond ethnocentrism, but it's very uncommon. I dated an Austrian man, who was so severely ethnocentric that despite his travels to many other places he had never been able to see his own cultural bias AT ALL. To him it was THE TRUTH, and he could not see around it despite simple explanations. It was the platform from which everything he experienced was measured and judged against.

    I think it has much more to do with early exposure to other cultures and being taught acceptance of differences and critical thinking as a child, than travel and exposure as an adult. I find that most (not all) people who are strongly ethnocentric only become more so when forced to “deal with” or accommodate other perceptual frameworks.

    Too, I see it as a functional mental template, so long as we keep it flexible. When we inherit a totalitarian cultural prison in our minds we are limited and our personal reality and growth is stunted. What we think of as ethnocentricity is an inherited paradigm, a rigid mental structure, which limits us. None the less, a healthier open use of this necessary mental structure allows us to define our values and purpose, as well as enjoy and appreciate our experiences, and it's something we can upgrade as we learn more. We are limited in part by the way the brain understands and organizes input, but with the cultivation of an open mind and awareness we can define our own rather than inherit one.

    I find that one thing that does seem to impact this is self observation meditation. The more we dissolve the strong concept of "I" me and mine, by observing the content of our mind and not engaging it, the more we realize how much of what we think "I think" is actually not really about us at all. This frees us from being automatic in our reactions and allows us to watch what comes up in our minds. When we can do that we have the opportunity to question it rather than take it for granted, and therefore "reality."
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    Sep 6 2012: In the past two weeks, in Belfast Northern Ireland - well actually north-east Ulster - manifestations of the age old crises of identity here have broken out again among some underprivileged (= high levels of material poverty, poor physical / mental health - much of it via misuse of alcohol - massive youth and structural unemployment, inadequate educational resources, a legacy of hundreds dead and wounded in nearly 40 years - mid-1960s to a truce around 2000 - of internecine brutal, communal violence ) people in specific areas close to the centre of the city, orchestrated and led out of sight of news/tv cameras / journalists by elected political "leaders" and self-appointed ex-paramilitary "community workers". To a visitor from Mars, this street conflict (=marching bands and 'hangers-on' mouthing racist insults at others on the side-walks, bricking, stoning, petrol-bombing the police, raucous expressions of bigotry addressed to fellow citizens, etc) would be totally confusing. Indeed it seems like a GUBU event - grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented - except that this street behaviour, sometimes backed up with the use of IEDs and automatic weapons against the police, has been going on here for hundreds of years. Since Belfast was a pup shall we say. Read all about it online in the IRISH TIMES. The major depressing aspect to this lemming-type behaviour (re foreign investment, tourism, etc and the goal of a peaceful shared society) is not its longevity, but its intractibility. You see the armchair leaders of this self-destructive street shinnanigans are almost invariably fundamentalist and creationist in their values, beliefs and philosophy which, as TED readers know, means that everyone else is wrong - except them. Help? Of course Feyisayo is right. It's all down to an endemic, pathological deficiency in human and humane empathy about our fellow humans. All ideas welcomed by the First and Deputy First Ministers in the north-east Ulster government.
  • Sep 6 2012: I neglected to thank you for asking the question, Mr. Anjorin. It is in asking questions such as these,....the ones that beg us to contemplate on who we think we are, and in so answering who we think the other is--that human beings learn critical thinking and reasoning skills.

    If we never question our assumptions about what we think we know and why, who we think we are, and how we came to these rock-solid conclusions of ourselves, each other and the world, well... the results are evident to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Yes? No? Perhaps?

    Wisdom comes at a price. Letting go of what we think we know is the *only* truth. From here we can enter into and conduct a dialogue consistent with *human values* under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United nations on December 11, 1948.

    The unfortunate and fortunate thing is that those of us who are familiar with TED already are on the cutting edge of things...the ones dancing to a tune that *others of us* who haven't escaped *our boxes/paradigms* have yet to hear. ;-)
  • Sep 6 2012: Ethnocentrism has been expedient for the propagation of our species. A necessary survival tool. We all know how that is played out in the real world... wars, systematic annihilation and/or assimilation of the *other* under some banner of politics and government.

    However, it is in the evolution of our *humanity* which creates and recreates a world in which survival of our species is possible in this time period--with the possible destruction of the world as we know it. It's a choice we must make individually and collectively.

    Beyond ethnocentricity is a world that embraces its ethnocentric roots but sees itself as a global village. Compassion and a sense of shared humanity are its hallmarks. It's living beyond the survival game/meme. Us and them. We have very little experience in the bounty of this type of shared experience of existence.
  • Sep 6 2012: With the definition you give, it seems to me that ethnocentrism will continue to be inevitable as long as we are not able to recognize that we do not see others as they are, but rather as we ourselves are. Maybe when we recognize this, that we cannot really see another, whether individual or group, in wholeness, but that we only see what we are able to see in our own limitedness... knowing that the appearance is not the truth, then we can begin to relate more respectfully.
    Is not each one of us and each of our groups just one possible of so many realities? Some of these realities are truer than others, and I believe we are all moving in the direction of more truth, even if indirectly.
    There are some words of Franz Kafka which I would like to share. I am thankful for these words, because I know they can help me to stand with my own truth, which I often wish were other than it is, and which I know will be other than it is.
    “We are as forlorn as children lost in the woods. When you stand in front of me and look at me, what do you know of the griefs that are in me and what do I know of yours. And if I were to cast myself down before you and weep and tell you, what more would you know about me than you know about Hell when someone tells you it is hot and dreadful? For that reason alone we human beings ought to stand before one another as reverently, as reflectively, as lovingly, as we would before the entrance to Hell.”
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    Sep 6 2012: From all my travels and experiences, from being French in Australia, Germany and America where English speakers have an aversion to calling me Jean-Luc (except for Star Trek fans), I have always had a detachment to classifying people and was/am able to accept people on their own merits, but like Occams Razor generalizations are only that but are useful nonetheless. In the end I decided to take on my own nickname instead of the many I have been labeled with, and that is The HyperLinker, because I connect people to unfamiliar concepts/cultures to give them food for further thought, but then I get labeled as "lecturing" because I know of a better way of doing things.

    In the end all I can say is "Jai Shat-chit anand" - "I see myself in you". We are all souls ready to merge with the souls of creation one day, it would be soo Blissful if we could experience the similarities of our souls, while we are alive.
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      Sep 6 2012: At a certain level of awareness, there is no such thing as a black or white man, Jew, Christain, or Muslim, etc. etc. - there are only individuals. To see All as One, and One as All, is truly Seeing.
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    Sep 5 2012: I have lived with ethnocentric people all my life and i could easily see the reason for it. I had lived in metropolitan cities and the people I had to put up with had not been beyond a certain Valley. Ethnocentrism becomes dangerous too when it gets justification from religious beliefs. I have seen it happen in 1989-90 in the Valley of Kashmir. Because of the topography, demography and geography, the people have a stupendous firm belief that the way they live is the best. It is what has time locked the region and produced conflict too. But as to your question is it inevitable.

    I think not. The Internet seems to have broken that belief to a large extent. I see a lot of promise in the young generation there who are traveling outside, studying abroad, gaining an understanding of their conditioning. Since I am in constant touch with their sensibilities I have a window into their changing worldview. I think the diminishing of ethnocentrism is inevitable as the world starts shrinking virtually. But there is a long way to go.
    It has to be understood Ethnocentrism stops the human community from benefiting from the diversity of different cultures, which in turn hampers the evolution of societies.
  • Sep 5 2012: Ethnocentrism must be anathema to world peace and critically to relationships. We need more cross cultural education to provide insights and cultural understanding. The more we understand, surely, the more tolerant we would be. It does not mean loosing ones own sense of cultural pride and dignity, everyone relishes their own culture, it means more intercultural understanding.
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    Sep 5 2012: Question 1 - Is it possible for an individual to be without ethnocentrism?
    When I interpret your question in absolute terms, no.
    However I do not believe in absolutes.
    Therefore, yes.
    More later,

    Question 2 - Is ethnocentrism inevitable?
    Please clarify your use of the word "inevitable."
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    Sep 4 2012: But why i ask, are we judging other cultures, can't we just imbibe it all and increase our own horizon, broaden our sense of being. There is a reason why the wife is doing things differently, maybe it's the better way, maybe she has some beliefs, experience it.

    Each person is different and has their own ways of doing things, i don't think it's the culture or religion that's making them different, it's their experiences in life. We all are what are experiences have made us. I have hardly not experienced any culture, being from an Army background seen the world, seen India, seen everything and i don't think it is what you are conceptualizing it as. People's behavioral study is something that can't be explored to a full extent ever.

    Just understand why certain people do things the way they do, maybe you'll gain an insight into the life of other, a rare and special gift.