Ethnocentrism is described as a situation whereby one lacks tolerance to other cultural groups. It is also associated with people not accepting cultural diversity. Ethnocentrism brings about negative behaviors, negative prejudice and negative stereotypes towards other ethnic practices. Although ethnocentrism has an advantage in that an individual can sacrifice for his or her ethnic group, the advantage has resulted in different opinions from various scholars. Some argue that it reduces one’s intellectual willingness to communicate, and this brings misunderstanding.
There are several ways of overcoming ethnocentrism. The first one is the idea of accepting multiculturalism. This mainly involves accepting cultural diversity and developing a positive attitude towards immigrants or people from other ethnic groups. However, multiculturalism is perceived differently by different groups in the society. For example, people from the minority groups promote multiculturalism because they believe that it protects their identities and cultures. On the other hand, the majority has a mixed view of multiculturalism; on the positive side, they believe that it brings about strong economic forces. On the negative side, they see it as an attempt to challenge the superiority (Zikargae, 2013).
The other means of overcoming the problem is through understanding the culture of other people. This is applied by appreciating other people’s culture. There are many advantages associated with that because the cultures of other people provide ideas and the possibility of doing things differently. Different cultures present different ideas as they try to explain the meaning of life.
In conclusion, to avoid ethnocentrism a leader should avoid judging others. That means that when one sees other people acting in a different way, they should not rush to conclude that they are rude to them. Acknowledging differences also reduces ethnocentrism. The leader should never take for granted the difference between the cultures of other people and theirs. Finally, a leader should avoid assumptions, which involves assuming that other people will think and act in the same way they are doing.
As the saying goes, the best way of teaching ethics is by teaching ethically, meaning that the relationship between the teacher and the student should be a trusting and faithfully relationship. As Patrick Awaur says in his talk, students are smart; they only need to be taught about the issues concerning their society and being imparted with skills to come up with solutions. Taking an example of techniques through which students can learn better on the ethical practices, the first step is to hold a trial for the students to research (Wankel & Stachowicz, 2012). After holding the trial, the students will come with their research ready, not only ready to defend their trial but also ready to oppose what the other team will argue.
The other way of teaching ethics is by holding debates. The difference between debates and trial is that in debate everyone has the right to argue as opposed to holding trials. As Awaur says, it provides a chance for the students to discuss major issues affecting the society and thus creativity will be enhanced when finding the proper solutions. The third method is ‘Lead the Class’ assignments. It occurs when students in groups are given the freedom to choose a topic and lead the class for one full hour. The professor will grade according to the ability of the students working in a team and relevance of the content on the topic. Some challenges come across with the teaching of ethics (Carroll & Shaw, 2012). For example, teachers lack the necessary foundation of ethics and it is assumed that they should know about ethics thus not teaching ethically. For the ethics curriculum in higher education, every institution should have at least one course on ethics and be compulsory for every student before graduating. In every organization, a set of moral ethics should be introduced, and transparent activities encouraged. For those found guilty of corruption acts, strict measures should be taken upon them.
Carroll, M., & Shaw, E. (2012). Ethical maturity in the helping professions: Making difficult life
and work decisions. London: Jessica Kingsley.
Wankel, C., & Stachowicz-Stanusch, A. (2012). Handbook of research on teaching ethics in
business and management education. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Zikargae, M. H. (2013). The Impacts of Ethnocentrism and Stereotype on Inter-Cultural
Relations of Ethiopian Higher Education Students. Online Journal of Communication
and Media Technologies, 3(4), 126.