What Are Examples of Ethnocentrism?

Ethnocentrism occurs when a specific culture judges all other cultures against their own values, such as in language, customs and religion. The feminist movement is an example of ethnocentrism. Proponents of the movement believe the superiority of the movement represents the feelings of all women.

At the heart of ethnocentrism is the failure to think using different references or to assume certain opinions. For example, an industrial nation may think that the lifestyle of the Aboriginal natives of Australia is stress-free when, in fact, their stresses come in the form of starvation, the threat of animal attack or serious injuries suffered far away from camp and help. Ethnocentrism’s central problem is misunderstanding.

Societal cultures make false assumptions about other cultures based on what is expected from their point of view, rather than the context in which these differences exist. Many cultures view Americans as violent when they hear of the mass shootings, and they assume this behavior represents the average American’s behavior. Based on this assumption, fear may influence feelings about America’s involvement in their behalf, especially in warfare.

People of all cultures experience life in varying ways. Putting aside ethnocentrism may never occur, but learning about diversities in other cultures is the first step in understanding and controlling ethnocentric reactions.