Anthropology Term Paper
Ethnocentrism is a trend to consider the world mainly from the perspective of one’s own culture. It often includes the beliefs that one’s own race or ethnic group is the most crucial and valuable or that some of the elements of its culture are more fundamental than those of other groups (Ethnocentrism 1).
The participation in a discussion forum on various topics in anthropology gave me a broader understanding of what ethnocentrism means at the local and global levels, and what consequences this tendency might bring to people’ society. By comparing my personal viewpoints on diverse anthropological issues to those of other students, I mentioned ethnocentrism to be an ordinary practice of many people, who even do not notice that. For example, during the forum discussion of the situation described in the book “Into the Heart” by K. Good, I shared my position of supporting universal moral principles and values, no matter in which country you live, when it concerns injustice and violation of people rights for life. Based on the book’s story, in which a woman became a victim of the gang rape, I believe that one has to act as a human being respecting universal moral values and protecting those in need despite cultural biases and differences in cultural identity and social status. My post was questioned by some opponents, who evaluated it on a basis of my Azerbaijani nationality and ethnicity. For many people, being a Muslim means, to some extent, to relate to terroristic organizations, perform emotionally and aggressively, and treat others violently and with no respect.
Therefore, my viewpoint on what would my behavior be under the similar circumstances was seriously criticized in term of my position’s truthfulness and sincerity. Such people’s attitude toward humans of other national and religious backgrounds illustrates a real-world evidence of the issue of ethnocentrism. Ethnocentric individuals view other cultures not only as different, but also as inferior by behaving in an adverse way that is damaging to those from other cultures. However, as the process of globalization results in integrating various cultures, personalities are getting knowledge of how to fight their self-centered thinking, eliminate discriminating practices, and consider human community from a wider perspective (Dozier 3). In the second example, the discussion of behavior of Richard Lee, the first anthropologist, investigating Ju/’hoansi ethnicity led to changes in my personal evaluation of the below considered situation.
The conversation related to Lee’s decision to refuse from interfering into the ethnicity’s lives while exploring Ju/’hoansi’s originality, habits and lifestyles. The posed question of whether Lee acted ethnocentrically towards Ju/’hoansi or not engendered some variations in my personal thinking. Specifically, there is a requirement for an anthropologist to perform in an unbiased way by learning about some ethnicity as an observer, without actual involvement in it. However, Lee overlooked the fact that Ju/’hoansi strongly supports a value of sharing everything and would view his decision to live independently, without sharing food as hostile and irrelevant. My initial thought was that although it …