Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism

This assignment focuses on the concept of ethnocentrism, the idea that others can be judged through the lens of one’s own cultural group, which is superior to another (Sherrill, 2003). Ethnocentric beliefs are often the foundation for many diversity-related arguments in political, religious, and racial discussions. Ethnocentrism can often be seen at the center of arguments about the moral foundations of our society, with each side arguing based on their own long-held cultural beliefs. Others, however, argue that morality is culturally relative and accordingly, so are our beliefs. As such, rules regarding right and wrong, what is moral or just, would be based on our cultural backgrounds.

For this assignment, think about your longest held cultural beliefs, considering how your personal background has influenced who you are today. Consider all of the cultural associations you may have now and in the past including your customs and traditions such as dress, music, dance, family stories, holidays, and celebrations.

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Write about how ethnocentrism and cultural relativism affect how you see yourself and others.

Specifically address:

1.) Definitions (can be in your introductory paragraphs):

a.) What do you mean by “culture”?

b.) What is ethnocentrism?

c.) What is cultural relativism?


2.) What cultural group(s) do you belong to?

Colombian and American female, Roman Catholic

a.) Who or what has influenced you? Parents, friends, church, school, work

b.) What are the cultural norms associated with your cultural groups?

c.) What customs and traditions are associated with your culture?

Such as dress, music, dance, family stories, holidays, and celebrations

Dress (La Pollera Colora, Ruana, Quinceanera, White Wedding dress)

Music & Dance (Colombian Folklore, Vallenatos, Cumbias, Salsa, Merengue, Boleros, Colombian Rock, Cuban, Reggaeton, Hip-Hop, Pop, R&B, Soul, House, Techno, Rock-n-Roll, Jazz)

Family stories,

Holidays (same American and Colombian holidays including Dia de los Reyes Magos on Jan. 6, Colombian Independence Day on July 20, Dia de las Velitas – Dec 7), and

Celebrations (Barranquilla Carnival, Festival de las Flores)


3.) Analyze your perspectives.

a.) What of your perspectives are rooted in ethnocentric beliefs?

b.) What of your perspectives are based on cultural relativism?

c.) Give at least one example of when you have been involved with someone judging you in an ethnocentric manner.


Kahn, A. (2015). The ecology of diversity. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.

Ch. 1, 2, 3


Piper, A. (2015). A focus on people. Internal Auditor 72(3), 47-51. [MasterFilePremier]


Davis, W. (2015). Thco research training institute. [Video file]. Retrieved fromWade Davis TEDx


Hockett, D. (2017, September). We all have biases. So what can we do about it? [Video file]. Retrieved from We all have implicit biases. So what can we do about it? | Dushaw Hockett | TEDxMidAtlanticSalon .


Tritch, C. (2015, July). Let’s talk diversity and inclusion. [Video file]. Retrieved fromLet’s Talk Diversity and Inclusion | Courtney Tritch | TEDxFortWayne

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