Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism are extremely contrasting ideas

Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism are extremely contrasting ideas. Determining which to practice in everyday life is extremely challenging because they are such conflicting ideas. On one hand practicing ethnocentrism resembles a narcissistic and pompous attitude. The idea that one’s own culture is the main standard by which other cultures may be measured shows a parochial mentality. Although ethnocentrism may be a self-centered way of thinking, it is most likely how people automatically think. Conformity creates a bias towards one’s own cultural standards. We are so used to the way that we live and the practices and traditions of our culture that we tend to forget that other cultures exist, and that in other places people live in a completely different way from ourselves. On the other hand, Cultural relativism leaves no room for judgement. Ideally, I would like to successfully practice cultural relativism in my everyday life.
One reason practicing cultural relativism would be ideal for me in that it is important be tolerant of other beliefs. Tolerance is defined as a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward other opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins. If you claim morality is absolute, then you are being intolerant of other people’s beliefs. This leads to imperialism, conflict and in the worst cases genocide. Tolerance is about how you treat other people even if you disagree with them, not about whether you agree with their beliefs.
To practice cultural relativism it would be crucial to understand that different people in different places need different moral codes. Each so society has different demands, expectations, histories, symbols, and problems to overcome. So to expect every culture to look at morality through the same eyes as yourself would be ignorant. To practice cultural relativism is respecting others ideas and traditions universally. Realistically speaking ethnocentrism is the root of most hate crimes, wars and genocides. Culture isn’t just born out of a society’s wants, it derives from what a society needs to function. Form follows function, and a society isn’t built out of culture, a culture is the outcome of a society.
Lastly, many times culturally traditional things change in order to appease the world view of a culture. With cultural relativism, these traditions can stay in place. Tradition, of course, is the root of many cultures. Cultural relativism allows acceptance, and diversity around the world. Diversity brings productivity by bringing together people of various backgrounds with different life experiences who may be able to generate ideas or perspectives that others may not have ever considered or been aware of. Promoting diversity is the first step to not just tolerance, which I discussed, but true acceptance. Diversity allows exposure to, and communication between new people with unique ideas, individuals may see that they may have more in common than they thought. Or, they may still be remarkably different. Increasing familiarity with these differences can change perspectives, promote acceptance, and diminish misunderstanding and prejudices that cause discrimination.
In conclusion, Cultural relativism is an ideal to practice in your everyday life even though it may not be realistic. Ethnocentrism is a way of life for most people who haven’t been exposed to other cultures. Even though we may feel our way of life is the norm, it doesn’t mean it is the only way of life. As discussed, cultural relativism promotes diversity, acceptance, productivity and tolerance. I’d like to believe that if everyone practiced cultural relativism that the number of hate crimes, genocides, and wars would diminish. After research different views on this topic and fully understanding the differences between the two ideas, I am willing to take the first steps to work towards practicing cultural relativism in my everyday life.