Ethnocentrism and some tips on how to minimize it

The ability of a community or individual to minimize ethnocentrism and its impacts is one of the key platforms towards greater cooperation, adherence to the existing laws, holistic contribution by all and eventual economic growth and development in a country.  Minimizing ethnocentrism has been referred as the main principle that could facilitate a new outline towards a highly democratic society at the local and national level.  Kornblum (2007) conclusion that the need to address ethnocentrism requires holistic involvement at all levels appears to cohere with those of Victor (2005) who indicates that it is the dark cloud of ethnocentrism that has over the years suppressed the ability of the people to progress.  However, analysts appear divided over the actual methods that could be employed in addressing the problem.   It is from this consideration that this paper provides an in-depth analysis of the tips that could be used to address the problem of ethnocentrism.

A brief analysis of ethnocentrism in the society
Perhaps Diana (2007) was correct when he indicated that a society will never be successful until it addresses fully the problem of ethnocentrism among its communities.  Ethnocentrism as Diana (2007) further indicates is the tendency of a culture to consider itself to be superior in comparison to others.  As a result, the members of that cultural affiliation view themselves to be better, more advanced and even more important in the country.  Owing to this peculiar alignment, a group develops specific standards that are mostly used to define it from others and use it as the main platform for judging others.  Ethnocentrism has especially been evident in relation to behaviors, religion and even the key customs that define the identity of a group at the extended community level.  At this point, analysts tend to wonder why indeed a group would disregard others and holistically undermine the need for diversity In his assimilation theory, Ezra Park Robert indicated that people are born to specific cultures that define their ideals of what they belief and become (Gross, 2004).  As a result, ethnocentrism is seen to dwell among the people in that it easily recurs even between generations and cannot therefore be fully eliminated.  At this point, some key questions often asked include is it possible to fully eliminate the problem of ethnocentrism  Is the fight against the vice intensive enough

Cases of ethnocentrism manifestation
Up to date, most of the United States foreigners have been referred to as aliens and therefore formed the center for their discrimination both in the society and office.  As if that is not enough, the trial to infer balance between the black and the white community has remained a hard nut to crack for the government and human rights activists (Kornblum, 2007). However, it is the resilience of wars between religious facts that has remained a thorn in the fresh for long.  In the Middle East, Gil-White (2001) indicates that both Muslims and Christian consider themselves be superior and therefore invoke major conflicts in the region.  Further on religion, Victor (2005) accuses the followers advocating water while they take wine by failing to adhere to doctrines of brotherliness and  care for others as advocated for by Christ, Gautama and Mohammed in Islam.  

Due to the widespread inculcation of ethnocentrism at all levels the rising numbers of Indian students being killed in Australian universities is not surprising.  Foley (2009) reports that most Indian students studying in Australia are considered outsiders and therefore not supposed to enjoy similar benefits with the members of the country.  The call by the government on the Australians to shun ethnocentrism has landed on deaf ears since 2005.
Tips towards minimizing ethnocentrism
Though it has been cited as one of the main detrimental society shenanigans, Gross (2004) explains that it can only be reduced to give way to a new cultural outlook.  Therefore, efforts have been focused particularly on the minority groups and communities to facilitate their ability to assimilate a new stand point while setting a platform for their acceptance.

Reducing differences in cultures of the minority and other dominant groups
According to Andersen and Howard (2005), communities must seek to facilitate integrative cohesion in their cultures that define internal operations.  Cultures act as the core outline towards a given community assimilation of as particular trend.  Therefore, communities derive their identity from the cultural underpinnings that requires to factor new outsets if ethnocentrism is to be effectively addressed.  At this point, there is need for cultural interaction between the dominant groups culture and those of the minority groups.  In his view, Victor (2005) explains that though the assimilation theory has largely been referred by many in harmonizing the cultures, it is faulty in that it seeks to create a new trend in the community.  The key theme in addressing ethnocentrism indeed lay on the need to appreciate the key positive cultural outsets and invoking their position in the community as opposed to creating a new cultural outfit (Diana, 2007).  At this point, the key stakeholders and possibly people with influential outset such as community leaders should come in to create the need for assimilation of some key principles towards their cultural improvements.  Giving the example of the Blacks and Latinos and whites in the United States, closing up their difference has been cited to invoke higher levels of creativity in the work places, sports and in their economic outlook such as the media industry (Gil-White, 2001).  

Removal of key barriers that could have been set by the dominant group
Ethnocentrism from its very definition denotes key barriers that people from minority groups face in their daily activities.  In his famous speech I have a dream, Martin Luther King Junior indicated that he dreamt of the day when the Blacks and the Whites would have equal access to the countries resources (Gil-White, 2001).  During this time and indeed even today, most of the Black and Latino communities have remained barred from accessing major resources such as parks and even employments.  Removal of such barriers therefore requires a high profile intervention both at the local and national level.  The government has under this consideration strongly come in to create a platform for removal of such barriers.  Legislations such as No Child Left Behind have sought to give all the children an equal platform in access to better education for all (Andersen and Howard, 2005). Other legislations such as Americans with Disability Act of 1990 seek to ensure that people from all social groups are able to not only integrate with others effectively, but incorporate their ideals in at the management level.  

Facilitate effective skills acquisition by the minority groups
Cognitive development in an individual as Gil-White (2001) indicates is progressive and cumulative at different levels.  Ethnocentrism and dominance of specific cultures has been linked to poor capacity of the minority groups in addressing the different societal issues.  As a result, Albert Bandura in his theory of cognitive development concluded that the people must be presented with the correct environment that can facilitate their in-depth understanding of the community.  At the younger ages, children should be subjected to effective and highly relevant education system that prepares them not only to work with diverse cultures, but generate effective platforms for performing even the tasks at higher management levels (Gross, 2004). This consideration would create the necessary quest to work at the high offices by people from all cultures.

To further facilitate effective acquisition of critical skills in the society, Mark (2000) argues that the minority groups should be aided through legislation in checking possible resistance of the dominant culture while economic empowerment would give them the needed force to push for such skills.  However, this application should be designed with great care to invoke the need for improvement by the minority group while creating a welcoming note for the dominant group (Andersen and Howard, 2005 Gil-White, 2001).

Creating awareness and capacity building in the society
While the problem of ethnocentrism appears to be deeply rooted in peoples operating systems, it no doubt that majority of them are brought up with strong rigidity that does not allow effective comparison for various cultures.   Creating awareness therefore brings to cognizance the existence of other cultures and their particular considerations.  Gifford (2003) argues that once people are made cognizant of other cultures existence, they are encouraged to further extrapolate their ideals for enrichment.  However, Andersen and Howard (2005), indicate that most of the dominant cultures seek to learn about others as a platform for increasing their supremacy.

Through awareness creation either through the media or other means in the society, some fears previously held by different cultural group members are eliminated.  To begin with, most dominant cultures disregard the minority cultures under the consideration that their characteristics poorly fit and operate in areas such as leadership.  Gifford (2003) adds that awareness creating that portrays both culture members working together creates a different image and establishes a new perception to those at the lower levels.  The media at this point is charged with the responsibility of reminding and persuading the community on the need for tolerance for other peoples ideals.

Awareness creation as Diana (2007) view it, should seek to infer the need for a stronger outline at the community level where cultural diversity is encouraged.  Therefore, people should be made to appreciate their cultures which indeed harbors unique characteristics not present to others.  According to pluralism theories of Nathan Glazer and Daniel Moynihan, the ability of different cultures to cohere together must be based on their diversity as opposed to creation of a new hybrid consideration (Victor, 2005).  Under this consideration therefore, people must be constantly made to appreciate their own ideals while factoring the demands of others.  As it happens in the professional realms, where people work together in achieving common goals despite their cultural affiliation, similar awareness must be established at the community level too.  While seconding the same outlook, Gross (2004) indicates that a diverse culture facilitate varying viewpoints towards establishing major alternatives to solutions of societal and organizational issues.

Economic empowerment
While critically evaluating the problem of ethnocentrism, Gross (2004) argued that addressing it should largely be considered from an economic outset.  The very reference of minority cultures or groups invokes a sense of poor social economic overtone that restricts their ability to move up the social economic hierarchy towards the top.  Therefore, the manifestation and outlay of ethnocentrism is a paradox in that demanding the people at the top to reflect their own cultures and those of the minority groups is indeed hard.  Kornblum (2007) argues that through economic empowerment, the minority groups and their representative cultures become easily represented in important developments and societal demands.  The passing into law of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act largely sought to protect possible bias towards people of a given group or culture in employment.  Such laws are critical in that they reduce possible sense of inferiority for the minority groups and their cultures.  Though some analysts indicate that such laws may present possible crashes between the dominant and the minority cultures, the same consideration is not always true.  Gifford (2003) indicates that the local administration creates effective checks and balances that require strict adherence and sets up major penalties if faulted.   Though it often takes place involuntarily, the resulting orientation depicts key tolerance and eventual acceptance based on mutual respect.  
Emphasizing on societal values and role modeling
While indicating the special capacity that human beings hold in contrast to other organisms, Andersen and Howard (2005) explain that it is the duty of every man to seek the best for their neighbors and the entire human generation.  Though this consideration appear to be absent in the highly ethnocentric society, it is perhaps the only sure way to reduce and perhaps eliminate the problem of ethnocentrism.  As Diana (2007) explains, ethnocentrism develops as part of an individuals societal orientation, a factor that determines the make up of every person.  As a result, reducing ethnocentrism should be viewed from a positive note and directed towards improvement of the general societal outlook.  From an ethical point of view, human beings should ensure that they relate with others to achieve the maximum possible good in all of their actions.

Leaders at this point must come out to present the communities and their cultures with effective role models that can easily be reflected at the lower level.  During his administration, President George Bush incorporated people from all cultures in the top leadership to reduce the sense of ethnocentrism in his management.  People like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were of African American origin and they effectively performed their duties (Kornblum, 2007).

From a religious point of view, Diana (2007) argues that there is needed emphasis on adherence to their sacred doctrines that presents key examples to the people.  For example the bible considers respect for the different people and their cultures as a sacred demand from God.  Therefore, people must be encouraged to take similar examples and therefore live harmoniously with others.

It is from this consideration that this paper concludes by supporting the thesis statement, the ability of a community or individual to minimize ethnocentrism and its impacts is one of the key platforms towards greater cooperation, adherence to the existing laws, holistic contribution by all and eventual economic growth and development in a country. Ethnocentrism came out as a highly intrinsic factor that mainly develops as people grow to assimilate the trends that shape their upbringing.  Minimizing it was therefore presented as an important consideration to create cohesion and harmony among the people at all levels of the society.  Addressing it cannot be addressed from an individuals perspective alone, but on an expanded societal outlook.  It is therefore crucial that all people get involved in reducing the problem both at the top of the management and leadership and even at the community level.  Leaders should particularly create the needed environment towards greater understanding of the need for harmonious coexistence from the top and projected to the lower societal levels. The communities on the other hand should on the other hand create a receptive culture that seeks continued improvement of their cultural delineations through enrichment from others.


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