Monday, April 4, 2011


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Racism, Ethnocentrism and Multiculturalism

Racism, discrimination and prejudice are extensive in America. Although, racism and discrimination are not accepted as it was in the 40’s and the 60’s, but it still subsists in our society and its being used socially today. Racism is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. In addition to racism, Americans also tend to be ethnocentric. They tend to believe that their ethnicity is superior to any others and tend to judge other ethnicities from the perspective of their ethnicity. On the other hand, multiculturalism can be a possible solution to problems like ethnocentrism and racism.

Cultural minorities experience racism as a part of their everyday life. They experience verbal abuse and slander from people of majorities. Racism and discrimination go hand in hand as racism leads to discrimination. Discrimination is the treatment given based on the class, race, religion etc. of a person. Even if racism and discrimination are not legal anymore, they still haven’t been eradicated from our society. For example, a few decades ago blacks weren’t allowed to go to the same school as whites, they had to sit in the back of the bus and so on. These are some instances of the ways the government discriminated against blacks. Racism in those days was exploited to such an extent that only whites were treated in a respectable manner. The Italians, Irish, Jews were also victims of racism and discrimination to some extent. Thus, so much racism is unhealthy for a nation’s progress as it creates tension in a society and a nation; and keeps us from maintaining unity, keeping peace and helping each other.

Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s culture is superior to that of others thus judging other cultures as substandard compared to theirs. Americans tend to cocoon themselves with their own culture so that no other culture can penetrate it and open their eyes to a new dimension. This makes them less accepting of others and their culture and ethnicity. Narrow mindedness on our side could create confusion and misunderstanding and thus leading to conflicts in the future. If one could look at other cultures from a different perspective and a broad standpoint there would be more understanding amongst us as a nation.

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Multiculturalism is the solution and the bright side to be focused on. If all the negative aspects like racism and ethnocentrism were to be overlooked, American culture can be enriched by adding the best of other cultures. American culture is so diverse and consists of so many cultures and ethnicities all over the world. Multiculturalism is bound to eliminate racism and making one more accepting of others and their culture. This would welcome more immigrants, which not only contributes to cultural enrichment but also technological progress. Learning about other cultures and accepting them is bound to broaden our horizons and makes us more open-minded. Thus, for the reasons mentioned above multiculturalism can help eliminate racism and ethnocentrism.

In conclusion, there is an evident need for us to come out of our shells and look at the bigger picture and cease being judgmental. This could advocate many positive beliefs in future and get rid of the negative tenets like racism and ethnocentricity. Therefore, multiculturalism should be promoted which eventually will abolish all the cultural negativity in America. Alongside, we shouldn’t judge people by their skin color or religion but accept them from what kind of person they are.

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