According to Bizumic (2018), ethnocentrism is the belief that an individual’s ethnic group is inherently better than all others. Ethnocentric people are inclined to think that the ideas, beliefs, practices, and values of their own culture are superior to those of other cultural groups, and they judge those of different cultural groups according to the criteria that are prevalent in their own culture. Besides, because of the commonalities that individuals have with the majority of members of their cultural group, the ethnocentric method makes it possible for individuals to cultivate a good self-image with a reduced likelihood of encountering conflict or rigidity.
However, ethnocentrism is the leading cause of divisions among people from different races, ethnicities, and religious groups. Also, ethnocentrism can cause certain intergroup emotions, such as contempt and fear. Besides, it can fuel ethnic cleansing, ethnic wars, and even genocide (Bizumic, 2018). For example, ethnocentrisms lead to conflicts between Western Native Americans. Since the white people were ethnocentric about their own culture, they desired the Native Americans to adopt many aspects of white culture, such as their religion and educational system. The Native Americans, however, turned down the proposal and instead began developing their own culture in the hope that it would be more superior. This enraged the whites, thereby sparking conflicts between the two groups.
While many individuals are aware that ethnocentrism is a harmful phenomenon, they may not be aware that it happens everywhere, at both the political and local levels. While it is simple to point the finger at colonial women and men responsible for the oppression of enslaved people, ethnocentrism is still practiced in today’s American society. For example, Americans are convinced that their culture is more valuable than all other people’s. For example, the growth of technology and industry, as well as the amassing of riches, are often highly valued in American culture. Another kind of ethnocentrism is shown when individuals in the United States of America believe that immigrants are stealing employment from native-born Americans and that immigrants should not be stealing jobs from Americans. The idea that only those with American citizenship should be allowed to hold employment in the United States is an example of the kind of thought known as ethnocentrism. In addition, the Americans are ethnocentric about their religion, and prejudice and discrimination exist against the U.S. Muslims (Oskooii et al., 2021).
Ethnocentrism has led to a negative impact on the America’s international relations. For example, according to Wylie (2018), owing to the culture of the United States, in many cases, U.S. foreign policy lacked an understanding of the cultures of the countries it engaged with. Americas have always felt that their cultures are always superior to other nations. Besides, due to ethnocentrism America only permits local companies to safeguard their markets and prohibits other companies from accessing the market from outside. Besides, if the host nation displays a high ethnocentrism, it will be difficult for an American corporation to establish a presence there.
Bizumic, B. (2018). Ethnocentrism: integrated perspectives. Routledge.
Oskooii, K. A., Dana, K., & Barreto, M. A. (2021). Beyond generalized ethnocentrism: Islam-specific beliefs and prejudice toward Muslim Americans. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 9(3), 538-565.
Wylie, L. (2018). Assessing Howard J. Wiarda’s Contributions to Our Understanding of U.S. Foreign Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Polity, 50(4), 684-696.