I'm writing this as I sit in Orlando, a few hours away from coming back to g-town, missing my old familiarities and friends. It's really hard moving to a new place where you know noone, but I guess it's the cycle of life. Everything operates in a fashion of growth then comfort, and then death and dormancy. Growth in spring, comfort in the production and bounty of summer, death in fall, and finally dormancy in winter all building up to do it all over again with the next spring.
What I find most interesting is since I am coming from Florida to Texas, is that I'm using Florida values to analyze my new Texas home. Let me explain. In Florida I worked at a night club. There was a certain dress code that was acceptable, certain drinks that were the norm, and certain songs that were considered appropriate. Now in Texas when I go to a night club, I use those factors familiar to me and decide whether I deem that club worthy or not worthy. Now is that fair to judge a Texas club by Florida standards? No, probably not. That is what we refer to as ethnocentrism, or believing that your own culture is superior to all other or judging other cultures by your owns cultures standards.
My previous example is to illustrate how, throughout history, we have made many mistakes when encountering other cultures by being ethnocentric. The Mayans were considered savages by the Spaniards because they used stone tools and wore loin cloths, even though they had an advanced understanding of astronomy and extensive written records. They used their values to judge the Mayans, deemed them savage, and then wiped them off the map. This scenario, with differing levels of severity, plays itself out over and over again from the past and into the present.
So how do we prevent ethnocentric bias? I really don't think we ever fully can. I mean in order for a culture to succeed, the people need to have a certain 'espirit de corps' so that they can propel themselves further, and that being said they will believe they do things the proper way. That is where the bias begins and thats how the everything starts.
It's kind of an unfortunate inevitbality, but as we become more educated about the other cultures and the social dynamics of people we can prevent it from happening on such a large scale. I also envision that at some point we will become so educated that we can all coexist together without those social injustices. But then one day, we will be visited by a race of space aliens and it will all disappear. We will hate their food, their clothes, and their ways. We will judge everything about those slimy bug people by using our values and standards. It will be a death of our tolerance, followed by a period of dislike and then hopefully a rebirth of acceptance, and a period of comfort, all too be repeated again. So we are right back to our basic cycle of life.