Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Purpose and Understanding

I gave a presentation on ethnocentrism the other day.

(Ethnocentrism -- the view that promotes judgment of other cultures based upon one's own cultural values, usually as a means of promoting one's superiority)

In my conclusion, I posed an interesting question to the audience: Is ethnocentrism curable? Naturally, my answer was a resounding, "yes, it can." Once I opened the floor for questions, however, I found that my audience did not agree with me.

Well, for one, a staggering number of people didn't even know what ethnocentrism was up until that point. Then, one person asked me a question in return: "Is ethnocentrism really a bad thing?" Even more surprising still, a few people in the audience nodded their heads in agreement.

Before I took my seat, another person spoke up, saying that ethnocentrism is not curable, claiming that we are too stuck in our ways to see things from other points of view.

But, you see, that's where I disagree.

We are not too stuck in our ways to understand other peoples' points of view. That sounds like nothing but an excuse to me. If we judge others because we don't understand them, then let's at least try to hear them out. Listening isn't such a hard thing to do, is it?

So, that's the purpose of this blog: understanding. For the next several weeks, I will be addressing one cultural value at a time and putting it into the perspective of multiple cultures at once. I hope to interview people from other cultural backgrounds to tell us how they address certain things in their household.

That's where you come in! I may be a mutt of many races, but I only have one culture. I can let you guys know how my family handles things, but when it comes to other cultures, I'm not as knowledgeable as I'd like to be. If you guys respond to the questions at the end of each post, I can better portray your culture for the rest of us to better understand where you're coming from. That includes everyone of every background--Caucasian, African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, and anything I have stupidly left out (see, I can get better, too).

The only way we can get rid of ethnocentrism is to understand one another, all of our friends of different blends.

-- --

Some of the next posts will address:

Holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving)

When I have a topic in mind, I'll include a post with the questions. That post will be replaced with all of your answers after a bit of time. I encourage you all to participate, as this can be a very eye-opening read for everyone.

And I assure you all
that my future posts won't be as wordy and/or stiff. And I have a sense of humor, even if it's kind of lame. So this should be both informative and fun!

Until then.