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.


  1. Hey, girl!
    I love the heart of this blog. What a great concept!
    I think I can explain what some of your classmates may have meant by what they said.
    There are so many people in our current American society that believe differences between people should be ignored. We should all be considered the same- one people. To a certain extent, they're on the right track. However, there are parts of that theory that are incorrect.
    Differences make us BEAUTIFUL and should be CELEBRATED! If I had gorgeous mocha skin, I might not think my friend Nella's was so special. However, because I have pale Irish girl skin, I can look at her and think, "Wow! That is so different and so beautiful!"

    See what I mean?

    (This is Becky Shertenlieb Duffield from class, btw)

  2. Oh, wow, thank you for the comment!

    I really agree with the idea that we are the same--one people and all. That's definitely ideal, and I wouldn't wish for people to try and segregate themselves. But, like you said, differences can be so beautiful! And, hopefully in this case, they can be interesting, too.

    And my family would love to hear that you appreciate mocha skin. They all have beautiful and dark skin, and I magically came out pale. But differences are beautiful, right? Haha.

    (Oh! You have a wonderful blog. Thanks again for the comment.)