Cultures and beliefs are generally diverse and ethnocentrism is the judging of another culture based on the perspective of one’s culture and this article, we will be discussing examples of ethnocentrism.
It’s in human nature to judge what we don’t fully understand or accept. The truth is we live in a world that is diverse in culture, beliefs, religion, and language.
It’s unwise to expect other people to embrace your culture or judge theirs because you think yours is the best. This is what most people experience when they travel to other countries.
You don’t speak a certain language or dress in a way considered appropriate by others. You are seen as being odd and old-fashion because you are expected to adapt to an unfamiliar culture.
What Is Ethnocentrism?
Ethnocentrism is judging another culture from the perspective of one’s own culture. It’s a type of bias that judges another culture, regarding it as bad or wrong because of their beliefs, values, and actions.
Ethnocentrism also involves the conception of another culture being inferior to one’s culture. When the culture and beliefs of other people are not aligned with a specific culture, then people are likely to be ethnocentric.
Let’s not judge cultures we are not familiar with.
What Is a Good Example of Ethnocentrism?
Generally, there are several examples of ethnocentrism but a good example of it describes how you are supposed to look into someone’s eyes when talking to them.
This is very common in the American culture but in other cultures, you are not supposed to look into someone’s eyes when talking to them.
The idea of locking into someone’s eyes when talking to them or not doing so is the two examples of cultural relativism.
However, it becomes ethnocentrism when the two cultures believe looking into someone’s eyes or not doing so is a better custom than the other.
Examples of Ethnocentrism
Let’s explore the examples of ethnocentrism.
Imperialism is defined as the policy of extending a country’s authority either by territorial gain or by creating economic and political dominance over other countries.
European imperialism is the best example to describe this term. The Europeans invaded continents like Africa, America, and the sub-continent of India.
European countries colonizing many nations around the world is an example of ethnocentrism. They saw themselves as superior and civilized and therefore they were in the position to colonize these underdeveloped nations.
The British invaded the continent of Australia where they declared Australia terra nullius (a land belonging to no one). The invasion led to the oppression of the Aboriginal people and various indigenous cultures were erased.
#2. Enthnocentrism in Movies
An example of ethnocentrism was portrayed in the Hollywood film The Big Fat Greek Wedding. In the film, a Greek family is obsessed with their culture.
The family thinks of their culture as the best and only want their children to attend Greek schools, and learn Greek history and language. If their children were ever to get married to anyone, they must belong to the Greek community.
The Greek family had to make a difficult decision when their daughter decides to get married to a guy from outside the Greek community.
Another example of ethnocentrism was portrayed in the film The Godfather. It depicted discriminatory remarks about African-Americans and male dominance in the Italian community. These are all examples of ethnocentrism displayed in these Hollywood films.
#3. Consumer Ethnocentrism
Consumer ethnocentrism occurs when consumers judge other people for purchasing imported goods instead of locally manufactured goods.
People can purchase whatever goods they like provided they can afford it. The opinion of others should not determine the preference of others.
For example, if an American citizen prefers to buy and drive Japanese cars, it’s unwise to judge because everyone knows what they want and why they buy foreign products.
Consumer ethnocentrism is one of the problems we are facing today. Those affected by this negative idea believe that purchasing foreign goods is unpatriotic and only helps build foreign economies rather than domestic economies.
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#4. Judging Other Countries Eating Culture
People don’t eat dogs in the United States but there are places where dog meat is considered to be a medicine for illness.
Eating a Guinea pig might be disgusting to an American but not to a Peruvian. If Americans feel comfortable eating chicken, they should not consider eating other animals as something disgusting.
In other parts of the world, people eat some of the strangest animals. They should not be judged or criticized for their choice of food.
#5. Ethnocentrism and Culture
Generally, every culture in the world one way or another is ethnocentric. We tend to promote the superiority of our culture over another culture. By doing this, we promote ethnocentrism unintentionally.
There is always this belief that our culture is better than anyone else’s. it makes us feel better as humans but on the other hand, it promotes ethnocentrism.
#6. The Conception of Not Having an Accent
Growing up in a community where you only hear one accent makes you think you don’t have an accent.
English is a widely spoken language and it’s easy to detect an accent when a non-native speaker is speaking.
When you have lived your entire life hearing just one accent, other people speaking may be funny to you. At this time you believe that anyone who isn’t speaking like you has an accent and you don’t.
The truth is you have an accent and when you travel abroad, people will tell you that. You will also say the same about the people you meet abroad.
#7. Delegitimizing Religious Celebrations of Others
One of the negative examples of ethnocentrism involves disorganizing cultures and religious celebrations.
An example of this type of ethnocentrism is the oppression of the Uyghur Muslims in Northwest China. According to helpfulprofessors.com, in 2014, the Chinese government attempted to stop the celebration of Ramadan in Xinjiang.
This is an example of a superior culture oppressing a minority culture. The minority culture is suppressed so that the dominant culture will continue to maintain and promote its traditions and practices.
#8. Expecting Others to Speak English
English is just one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. People come from different cultures and speak various languages.
Expecting other people to speak English even when you are abroad is dumb. Yes, English may be one of the most spoken languages worldwide but it doesn’t mean that everybody speaks English.
In America, some people feel comfortable when they see a migrant speaking a language that is not English. That’s being prejudiced even if you don’t speak about it.
English is not a universal language and we should not get upset when we come across people that don’t speak it or feel frustrated when something is written in a different language.
#9. Australia Stolen Generations
The European culture suppressed indigenous cultures in Australia.
During the early 1900s and 1970s, Aboriginal children were separated from their families. The children were placed under the protection and care of Anglo-Australians.
This was a systematic plan to suppress the indigenous culture of the Aboriginal Australians. The Europeans believed that their culture was superior to the indigenous culture.
Efforts were made to ensure that mixed-race children will not embrace indigenous cultures or beliefs. Trying to erase Indigenous culture is one of the negative examples of ethnocentrism.
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#10. Ethnocentrism in Educational Institutions
Ethnocentrism is present in various educational institutions around the world. Experts agree that school curricula should be diverse instead of focusing on a particular thing.
For example, the history curriculum should focus on both the history of developed and underdeveloped countries. Excluding the history of developing and underdeveloped countries is an example of ethnocentrism in schools.
It’s important to educate students on the history and cultures of the minority communities. Teachers should avoid making any discriminatory remarks towards students from minority communities.
#11. Judging Women Outfits
In different cultures around the world women’s outfit vary from that of men. In some cultures, women dress according to their marital status. Married women can be identified through their outfits.
In Western and European cultures, women wear bikinis when they are on the beach. Other cultures around the world have different opinions of the way women should dress.
Wearing a bikini is considered indecent, especially in the Islamic culture. Women are not supposed to expose their bodies or natural hair.
Some people may see that as an oppression against women. We are in the 21st century and women should be allowed to wear clothing of their choice.
There could be a mix of ethnocentrism between two cultures with different opinions on women’s outfits. One culture may see women wearing bikinis as being appropriate, while the other sees it as an indecent outfit.
#12. Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler believed that the Aryan race was superior to any other race and the solution to maintain this superiority was genocide. Hitler believed that the Jews should be erased from the surface of the earth.
Hitler was in charge and ordered the execution of millions of Jews. When he grew tired of killing the Jews with guns, the Nazis built gas chambers in different concentration camps across Poland.
Jews who had skills then were forced into hard labour at concentration camps. Out of the examples of ethnocentrism on this list, this is the worst.
#13. Chopstick VS Western Cutlery
Western culture has influenced several cultures around the world, especially in areas like fashion and food. Most countries around the world use Western cutlery when dining out.
The West does not influence many Asian cultures. That’s why many Asian cultures still maintain their traditional culture and religion.
The chopstick may be a strange eating tool for many Americans, but it’s perfect for the Chinese. What is strange to a particular group of people is the norm in other cultures.
#14. The Spanish Inquisition
This is considered one of the most extreme examples of religious ethnocentrism in human history. For over three centuries, Spanish rulers within the Catholic faith decided that Catholicism become the superior religion in all of Spain.
Those who were not Catholics at that time were forced to convert or face execution. Catholicism was seen as the best religion and superior to other religions.
Judging one culture from our perspective of what culture should be like is unwise. Understanding the concept of ethnocentrism allows us to pinpoint our biases.
Being ethnocentric is unhealthy for other cultures and beliefs. Learn to understand the cultures of others as it will expatiate your knowledge about life generally.
Hope this article on examples of ethnocentrism was helpful.
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- helpfulprofessor.com: 14 Best Examples Of Ethnocentrism (For Students)
- study.com/learn/lesson: What Is Ethnocentrism In Sociology – Meaning & Examples
- opinionfront.com: 10 Examples of Ethnocentrism to Help You Understand it Better