Ethnocentrism and Racism

Ethnocentrism has permeated “Western” society in all its spheres for centuries. When the world was divided between Portugal and Spain, when other ethnicities were “allowed” to enter mostly white countries, that is, the so-called apogee of the beginning of globalization as we know it today, when peoples were “converted”, “developed” or “improved their lifestyles”, depending on the standards of the white man, it was because there was a very clear idea that everything that is different is inferior.

Ethnocentrism is the ability to look at another ethnicity and say: you are different from me but you have to be like me, because you are not empowered, you are inferior. This is the social basis of racism in the world, in any part of the world, in any society that deals with different ethnicities. Ethnocentrism is about imposing your privilege by taking away the rights of the other to be who you are, as you are, with your culture and way of being.

Ethnocentrism has many faces: racism, xenophobia, police violence, violence from people to people, state violence, segregation in schools, segregation at work, lack of respect for the religions and spiritualities of others, lack of respect for culture and cultural diversity on the other, cultural appropriation, tendency to want to usurp ideologies for the sake of your own, to want to impose your own ideology in favor of the destruction of others’ ideologies, and a lot more…

This problem has already reached such a porportion that it is understood that after the first black president in the history of the “West”, Trump is elected. It is understandable that after many decades of striving for a just and egalitarian world, another imposes itself with its ideologies of privilege and sovereignty. And this also involves imposing ideologies that are subversive to the idea of ​​mutual respect between ideologies. That is, if in your right to be different and defend freedom, you call into question the freedom of belief of the other, freedom of free sharing of ideologies, you are exercising your ethnocentrism culturally instituted, just because you think that somehow a certain belief, ideology or way of being is wrong, just because it is different from yours, for lack of knowledge on the subject or for a more taboo issue: the exercise of your privilege.

When Europe was recently “opened to Muslim culture” there was an echo that resonated everywhere: they must adapt to our European culture. But what culture ?! The same is done for gypsies, refugees wherever they go because the category “refugee” has become a single ethnic group.

The same can be said of those who disrespect Christianity or Buddhism or any other religion, based on the presumption that religious institutions are oppressive. If you are not part of that institution, and there are others who are because they believe in that institution in some way, you are exercising a lack of respect for the ideology of others, period. You are exercising your privilege to say that you are superior and that the other must be like you, because they are different.

This is how ethnocentrism permeates today’s society. Because: the Chinese are inhuman. Black people are violent. The manipulated Christians. Misogynist Muslims. And so on. The other it’s always bad, and you’re always good. The other is always wrong, and you are always right. The other is different, and you are the one who is “pure”. The other is the other, and you have sovereignty over your “home”, which is you, and your sphere of influence. The other is the other and will always be inferior to you. Even if the others vary, and this because, through the lens of ethnocentrism, the other being themself is not acceptable to your idea of ​​normal, of course, of what has to be.

Even worse. You are considered Westerner, you are around 25 to 40 years old: you have your cell phone made in China, with materials mined in Africa, resold in Spain, exported to your country, bought in a German company, as well as your computer, or your television, and so forth… You do Yoga, Meditation and listen to Reggae. You have an African object in your house. You believe in love for your neighbor, you believe that the world needs peace and community. You also believe that power must be mostly local, with sufficient openness to the rest of the global community. You believe that there must be peace between all countries. You also believe that there must be communities of people who operate in some way independent of the state to function on a work ability. You believe in work. You believe in the scientific method. You believe in agriculture, in the free use of the internet, in free will, in being able to be in your peaceful home and have your own space. You believe that in some way there can be no theft, death, or harassment of any kind. You have DNA. So, in light of this: you are globalist, you are oriental, you are Caribbean, you are African, you are Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, you are Vedic and even belonging to ancient Egypt or ancient Greece, and you are also nationalist, you are European, you are a supporter of any institution that protects you from theft, murder and harassment, you also believe in parts of socialism, anarchism, communism, and even nationalism …

Congratulations, you belong to this global open and free society, and you are truly one who is manipulated by the system. Because somehow, before you, there was someone in this system who said something and defended anything you believe in currently.

How do you exercise the power of your freedom?

Do you become a xenocentric and abolish from your life all and any influence of your original culture, acquiring only content and knowledge from other cultures?
Or are you a relativist and accept everything and everyone so that there is no disharmony? Can you live completely and totally free from prejudice and judgment?

Because the system is comprised of all these ideologies in a melting pot of ideological and ethnocentric confrontations, with hints of moral relativism. Because society has a lot to evolve, because parts of society are oppressed and others are in the process of oppression. Because the world is truly divided by different ideologies (which is the number two cause of wars, the first being natural resources).

How do you live your own freedom?

Have you taken a look at how Covid-19 is affecting indigineous populations in Brazil? Have you taken a look at how Israel is dealing with the judiciary process of Benjamin Netanyahu? Have you taken a look at how the Chinese people react to their own government? Have you studied the implications of how your own priviledge affects all this?

How do you live your own freedom?



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Matilde Magro

Matilde Magro

Regenerative Designer, entrepreneur, artist, teacher.