The official definition of ethnocentric is “characterized or based on the attitude that ones own group is superior” or “having race as a central interest.” There is a whole world of problems, politics, and, other cultures, but it seems that the average American’s only interest is that of themselves. The reason I chose to focus on the American being ethnocentric is because I have been exposed the most to this culture in the past. America is the melting pot of the world with so many different cultures and accepts this variety into our country as we were accepted when our ancestors came over. Today I feel that people are arrogant towards those foreigners who don’t wash away their former demeanor. Why don’t we realize that we are so lucky to live in a secure and free country that should glorify diversity and not promote prejudice? When we make contact with people whose beliefs and cultural tradition challenge our own perspective most feel some sort of intimidation.
Ethnocentrism in my opinion is very ignorant, unintelligent, and closed minded in that your normal rituals may seem just as strange to other cultures, but are seen by them in a more understanding way. Ethnocentrism has been instilled in us since birth, learning to attach our selves to our cultural groups depending on them for comfort and a sense of safety. People as a whole in a way have to “de-center” their strong cultural beliefs, as well as the thought that their culture is the only one important enough to concern themselves with.
Ethnocentrism may manifest itself in behavior such as warfare, attitudes of superiority, hostility, violence, discrimination, and verbal aggression. In the past, groups such as the Nazi’s, the Crusaders and, the Muslims have waged wars and death over cultural and religious differences using ethnocentrism as there incentive. Hate groups are also formed on this notion believing that their religious or cultural group is superior to others when in reality their customs are simply different. I realize that we are all ethnocentric to varying degrees because we are born into a culture at birth and it seems we cling to that culture for as a long as we live. Ever since 9/11, I believe Americans are starting to change their ways of interacting with one another. On top of this, it is very nice to see that terrorism has made our country, and its people, stronger and more unified as a whole.