Ethnocentrism

You are making words up again, aren’t you Steve!

Me? Never!! Said with fingers crossed of course.

Anyhoo, what the heck is ethnocentrism?

To put it bluntly, it is cultural snobbery. The exact opposite of “Why can’t we all just get along?” And sadly … the way of our world.

What ARE you blithering on about this time?

Our  relationships within the human world can be broken down into units of varying size. We are born into a family unit. The family unit is part of a neighborhood unit, which is part of a larger community such as a town or city. And the town or city is part of an even larger unit, such as a state. And then finally the country. But to make it even more complicated, we will also be part of other units that have nothing to do with physical location. Members of a specific worship group, which may be a member of a region, and will definitely be a member of a larger religious organization. Or maybe members of a group that follow a specific sports team. The potential groups are endless.

So what has this all to do with that ethnocentrism thang?

Well, because we are constantly taught to affiliate and catalog ourselves, we learn to identify with specific groups more than others. And find ourselves thinking that one group is somehow better than other similar groups. It is simply how we are raised. This is the essence of ethnocentrism. My cultural group is better than yours.

In my mind, this funky word is the fundamental cause of human strife.

The one thing that many of us forget as we begin defining who we are by our affiliations … is that every cultural group, no matter how elite, is ultimately only a small subgroup of the same grand culture. We are all HUMAN.

Why do we so easily forget this?

Maybe if we recognized this more often, we might be a little more accepting of that which is different from us. It seems silly to me to assume that one group of humans is somehow better than another group of humans simply because of where they physically live; or because of the language they speak; or maybe the sports team they worship.

Or maybe that is just me.

So I officially add ethnocentrism to the growing list of “isms” that I find cause all the problems with this world. At least the human part of it.

*This friendly little rant brought to you by the letter E and the April A to Z Challenge.


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