We live in one world and share things, ways, thoughts, habits, ideas and assume things about other people’s ways. Ethnocentrism is an expression and word in circles where inter-ethnic relations refer to people’s views, social issues, beliefs and the differences among group of people according to the tendency for each society to place its own culture at the Centre of things. In other words, it is closely related to the concepts of cultural relativity, “right” and “wrong” depending on the view of all beliefs, customs, and ethics are considered to the individual within his own social context. For example, what is considered moral in one society may be immoral in another so, ethnocentrism gives us an idea that no one has the right to judge another society’s behavior or customs because the things that may right for you, may wrong for me. In this post, I will write about the following questions which are related to ethnocentrism concept.
First: Find 3 things about a different culture that you didn’t know before.
1. Food and Eating Customs Differ Around the World
People eat different types of food in different countries. The way they eat is also different. Some countries have their meal at certain times whereas in some countries people eat anytime. In Nebal, the most common foods that have to be in every meal are rice, lentils, curry, and pickles. There are different types of lentils and they are salty in taste. Curry could be made out of potatoes, green vegetables, or beans. Pickles are always spicy.
In addition, Chinese food in Western countries, being surrounded by much loud talking and laughing is a typical ambience at a Chinese restaurant. Chinese people like a noisy and upbeat atmosphere when having a gathering and meals are no exception. People regard it as a rule of thumb that if the dishes of a restaurant are good and tasty then the restaurant will be noisy and busy.
Furthermore, In Korea, the staple food comprises rice, pickled fish and pickled vegetables. Fermented recipes are a popular part of their cuisine. They also savor noodles, which is a delicacy all over the world now. South Korean food is rich in spices and is cooked in sesame oil called “doenjang”, soy sauce and “gochujang” (red chili paste). Koreans swear by garlic and it is a must-have in all households; in fact, South Korea is the largest consumer of garlic.
2. Different culture greeting
A Chinese greeting features the right fist placed in the palm of the left hand and both shaken back and forth two or three times, it may be accompanied by a head nod or bow. The gesture may be used on meeting and parting, and when offering thanks or apologies While in India, it is common to see the Namaste greeting (or “Sat Sri Akal” for Sikhs) where the palms of the hands are pressed together and held near the heart with the head gently bowed.
Another example, Indonesia, a nation with a huge variety of cultures and religions, many greetings are expressed, from the formalized greeting of the highly stratified and hierarchical Javanese to the more egalitarian and practical greetings of outer islands.
3. What hand gestures mean in different countries
Thumbs up, this widely recognized sign of approval or agreement is actually used as an insult in Bangladesh. In certain parts of the Middle East, thumbs-up is definitely a highly offensive thumbs-down.
The horn fingers, in USA “the horn fingers” is adopted by rockers and it is a sign of approval, rock on! Hook ’em Horns is the slogan and hand signal of the University of Texas at Austin. But in many Mediterranean and Latin countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, Italy and Portugal, to make this sign at someone is to tell them that their spouse is cheating on them.
The “V” Sign, this sign has two formats: one with the palm faced outwards, and another with the palm inwards. In the US, both ways refer to “victory” and peace: protesters against the Vietnam War and activists adopted the gesture as a sign of peace. In other places, such as in the UK, Australia and South Africa, the same gesture with the back of the hand facing the other person is considered to be an extremely insulting.
Second: What are some problems with ethnocentrism in the UAE?
Firstly, in my opinion I see that UAE society has an ethnocentrism in not being on time is not necessary. Many Emirates believe is not important to come on time, for example, during family gathering, college classes, meetings and sometime being late at work. So, they see it is not a problem or wrong behavior because they have an inter-ethnic relations that being on time is not very important and it is right for them. However, in many Europe countries like Australia, Germany and UK, they are very serious with time and respect it and it is very important to do things on time for them. As a result, they see that not being on time is problem and it is a wrong moral while in the UAE is quite not wrong.
Another problem, the connections or “Wasta” is very common problem and it has a high ethnocentrism in UAE society. I lot of people follow this style. They exploit their work’s positions, family’s names and fame to finish their interests and forget others needs or rights. As a result, it affects in social classes and creates differentiation among people. Sometime it can be good for helping poor people or humanitarian situations such as disabilities and special needs, but using “Wasta” for personal interests or just to help who I know and give them preferences just because they are my friends or relatives and forget others who need as well help, it become justice and bring negative results to community.
Third: How could these problems be overcome?
Time problem in the UAE can improve by providing an effective awareness for people about the importance of respect the time by organizing campaigns by managers, give rewards, promotions and incentives for people who concern to attend on time, make public encouragement speeches leading by UAE’s leaders and arrange activities or workshop about time.
UAE started to solve Connections “Wasta” problem since 2011. For example, a federal anti-corruption law has been drafted and is expected to be ratified soon. This law is expected to call for the establishment of a Federal Authority for Combating Corruption and for measures to protect whistle-blowers.- See more at: http://www.nardelloandco.com/wasta-connections-corruption-arab-world/#sthash.1kltK9iF.dpuf