Ethnocentrism

Nicole - posted on 01/14/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )

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We have been discussing Chinese parenting recently, and the story of the I Phone suicides has brought out some harsh criticisms of the Chinese culture.

I would like to remind people of the concept of ethnocentrism, which is defined by wikipedia as:

Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe that one's ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one's own. The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behavior, customs, and religion. These ethnic distinctions and sub-divisions serve to define each ethnicity's unique cultural identity.[1]

The term ethnocentrism was coined by William G. Sumner, upon observing the tendency for people to differentiate between the ingroup and others. He described it as often leading to pride, vanity, beliefs of one's own group's superiority, and contempt of outsiders.[2]


The American style of parenting has its flaws too, and in North America we are dealing with sucides as well, brought on by bullying. We are also facing the horror of school shootings.

No culture is perfect

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Nicole - posted on 01/15/2011

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The I Phone suicides are tragic. Our world has a lot of tragedy in it.



I just think we should judge these events and their causes with care.



Is the Chinese culture superior? Inferior?

No, no.

It is different.

Does it have flaws that sometimes bring about tragic consequences?

Very much so but name one culture that doesn't

Tara - posted on 01/15/2011

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I agree with Jenn. Reality is subjective. Each person is a product of not just our experiences in life but also how we felt about them, thereby creating our own realities. So even when two people experience the same incident or situation, both will remember different things about it, their memories of the event might be close but they will not match 100%, because reality is subjective

Jenn - posted on 01/15/2011

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I think most of us base our opinions on what we know to be "normal". For example, the way we are raised by our parents tends to be the basis for how we will then raise our own children, as that is what is "normal" to us. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. ;)

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Katherine - posted on 01/15/2011

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I have a minor in Anthropology so this term is all too familiar. It is very hard to be ethnocentric sometimes especially in this case. I can appreciate different cultures and beliefs, but this suicide is beyond my comprehension.

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