TED Conversations

Feyisayo Anjorin

Freelance Director, Afro-Carribean Media Group


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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 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.

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