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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 10 2012: in this time and space it's unavoidable in my opinion, though educated and intelligent people are at least aware of it. i think that during the many years we grow up in a certain environment, we absorb its culture, made of believes (what we believe is what motivates us to act) expected behaviors, knowledge, ways to interpret the world that surrounds us and ways to look at it. we create our own scale of values and compare everything we get in touch with to this scale. i think of myself as being a very open and not judgmental person, but when i see, let's say, a report where a taleban is kicking in the ass a woman, or a woman being lapidated (just to make two examples but it could be also something i judge bad, happening in a western country like discrimination based on race or religion) i can't help comparing these acts to my scale of values. i do agree with you that in some circumstances ethnocentrism can be a serious obstacle for marriages, the more the difference, the more the difficulty even if hubby and wife are both open minded, as the problem is extended to relatives and friends. i think though that the trend will be a gradual, slow (i think it will take a few centuries) loss of importance of ethnocentrism and it's effects, as we will become again one human nation, as it was at the beginning.

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