Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Friday, November 19, 2004



Defintion: characterized by or based on the attitude that one's own group is superior

A visitor to my blog asked me what I thought about ethnocentricsm. I don’t know Xolo. All I know is that he’s a soon to be psychologist. I decided to begin by looking up the official definition of ethnocentric. I officially memorized the definition of this word in h.s., but didn’t really see it in practice until I got to college. My college classmates would throw around words like ethnocentric, nationalist, patriarchy, militant, eurocentric, and other colorful words. I’m sure I was called most of these at one point in time.

So, what do I think about ethnocentrism? I think many people are mislabeled as being ethnocentric because they are proud of their culture. I am proud of whom I am and I am proud of where I come from, but that doesn’t mean that my way of doing things is better than yours. I think it’s good to be proud of who you are. We should encourage people to teach others about their culture, customs, language, and tradition. I think that’s a positive thing. In college, somebody told me that they didn’t look at the color of my skin, or my culture, or that I was a Chicano. I told them they should because I want them to know who I am. I don’t believe in being color blind. I believe that people should acknowledge each other and work together because of their differences, not in spite of their differences. In my opinion, it’s the only way to learn about each other.

Ethnocentricsm and Eurocentrism do exist. Unthinking Eurocentrism is a great book that talks about stereotyping and media images shaping the way we think. It teaches us to be critical of everyone including ourselves.

Are there ethnocentric people out there? Yes. They’re called pendejos. I dunno, I guess there are other definitions for ethnocentricsm. That’s just my take.


Blogger Sylvia said...

I'd be a bit more careful about the name-calling. The term "ethnocentrism" has somewhat of a derogatory denotation (certainly a strong connnotative one), but consider my thoughts on this term. The majority of us are "ethnocentric" without knowing it, mainly because we are so use to our own social structures that the thought of alternatives (politics, lifestyles, etc.) doesn't even occur to us. The negativity of this "superior attitute" must come from someplace, yes? Failure to be aware of our own beliefs, how they are developed, what they are, is an open door to those negative attitudes. Ethnocentric is something like "I stand in the center and look out at the rest without really knowing what's there." Ethnocentrism manifests in our speech and actions. It's hard work not to "commit" ethnocentrism, but there's a start: Being more cognizant of our vulnerability to ethnocentrism makes us less likely to develop that dreaded superiority. There's no real point in simply chastising the label.

4:33 PM

Blogger Aleksu said...

Interesting post.

You ever heard the song "Esos Locos Bajitos" by Joan Manuel Serrat?

That song holds the key to ethnocentrism.

We are all raised as ethnocentrics, because it is our parents who show us the way, we replicate what they do, and since they are integrated to the cultural settings of the society that they belong to, they pass unto us their genetic composite, their culture, their values, their language.

But it comes the time when we get acquainted with other cultures, other nationalities, other languages. If we embrace them, if we respect them, if we interiorize them for what they are, without thinking that our own ethnic and/or cultural background is superior or inferior to the rest, then we are just representives of our background to the eyes of other people of the world.

If we fail to do so, if we think we are better or worst than other people because of our etnic and/or cultural background, then we become ethnocentric.

Eurocentrism is very pervasive weight in modern culture, we could discuss that forever.

8:48 AM

Blogger cindylu said...

not being colorblind makes me think of critical race theory, which reminds me that i need to prepare and study for my classes and not read blogs.

10:31 PM

Blogger Frederick's Mom said...

The ethnocentricity of the people here in the valley is what annoys me the most. They criticize change and do not accept anything other than what they believe is right.

3:31 PM


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