Ethnocentrism

DEFINITION

The tendency to see one's own ethnic group as the norm and all others as marginal; a form of racism.Quote: "No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts." Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), American educator. Born into slavery, he acquired an education after emancipation and became the principal of Tuskegee Institute, which flourished under his leadership from 1881-1915. "If it is our serious purpose to understand the thoughts of a people, the whole analysis of experience must be based on their concepts, not ours." Franz Boas (1858-1942), American anthropologist, born Germany, often called the grandfather of modern anthropology and, in that science, a pioneer promoter of the idea that race is not a very meaningful concept. "Recent Anthropology," Science, 1943, volume 98, p. 314. "All good people agree, And all good people say, All nice people like Us, are We And everyone else is They; But if you cross over the sea, Instead of over the way, You may end by (think of it!) looking on We As only a sort of They." Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), English poet. The fifth and last verse of "We and They," 1926. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), American religious and civil rights leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. From a speech he delivered August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC. Also see Afrocentrism, Eurocentrism, feminism and feminist art, gender issues, isms and -ism, issue, multiculturalism, stereotype, ugly, xenophilia, and xenophobia.

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