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 14 2012: A genuine individual is one who not grounded by ethnocentrism, one who has taken at least a few steps outside the cultural matrix of values in which he/she was born and raised - especially stepped outside the now global culture of diffuse but definitive imposed values by the global culture - most of these are actually junk values for a genuine individual who desires an autonomy of thought and action that defines who he/she is and it is in that autonomous and creative action that the individual transcends culture and even death.
    This is possible when one starts by undergoing a critical examination of one's cherished values - the source of these values - whether internal or socially imposed and their contrast to value systems of different kinds of people or cultures.

    "Mass culture is a constant assault upon this autonomy. This assault causes despair of the Kierkegaardian kind - and this despair is not a mood but a structure that belongs to a seized garrison - not an accidental feature but part of it, fundamental to it. It is the goal of mass culture to bury any rebellious movements and to take that part of the culture where we have begun to reflect and understand and to reverse this and make it unconscious. The parts of our culture that we can understand and reflect on are just those tiny garrisons - surrounded by the mass of the culture."..Rick Roderick ( Philosophy and Human Values)

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