Importance of Removing “Ethnocentrism” from the Minds of Children
Some eat food materials after cooking them and some like to eat them raw. Because of cultural variations, some want to impose their ideas on others. War is started when they do not succeed in this misconceived desire.
Thus variations in culture may lead to tension, misunderstanding and enmity, because the followers of one culture regard the cultures of others of a lower category and consider their own as superior.
It is because of tolerance that some regard others’ cultures as good. Even then, they happen to judge others’ cultures on the criteria of their own cultures. Perhaps, the psychological reason for this attitude is that they regard their own behavior as superior and that of others of a lower order.
Secondly, each culture has certain elements which emphasize the superiority of that culture. For example, the feeling of patriotism regards one own culture as perfect without any flaw. The participants of a church missionary movement regard only their religion as correct and others’ as wrong. Therefore they want to pull others towards their own group.
How to remove the wrong notion about one’s own culture is a difficult problem for education. Formerly, this wrong notion was limited to a particular group, region or nation. But to-day this has become an international problem.
Because of this undesirable notion a sense of co-operation appears to be lacking in various children of a school, and as a result, obstructions are felt in the process of education. When we have to teach the lesson of self-sacrifice for one’s own society this ‘lack’ may be somewhat beneficial to the particular group concerned. But it is better if the wrong spirit of ethnocentrism is removed from the minds of children.
Those who regard their culture as superior are generally given wrong notion about their culture and they develop a narrow outlook. Education may certainly help in removing this misconceived outlook.
Infarct it is a responsibility of education to wipe off this wrong notion. For this, it is necessary to acquaint the students about others’ cultures correctly and they should also be encouraged to study the same with a correct perspective.
The students should be told that showing tolerance to other cultures does not imply disrespect to one’s own culture. It must be impressed on them that the permanence of democracy depends upon the co-operation of others and that differences in opinions and outlooks should not be shunned, rather they should be respected, because differences deny enrichment of life.