"How can they eat rats? Those people are crazy!" Ethnocentrism is the belief that one race, religion, or belief system is better than another is. It can also be defined as judging another culture by our own standard instead of forming new standards. Though we are beginning to understand more and more cultures: we are judging these cultures by the standard we live by. Ethnocentrism keeps us from learning more about other cultures as well as learning more about ourselves. .
We as humans are ethnocentric. We make false assumptions based on our limited experience. If our own experience is the only "reality" we have, then it is normal to assume it is the "natural" basis or reality as we believe our own ways work for us. Our perceptions of colors, our time frames, our social roles, our beliefs about life and the Universe all help us to organize life experience and provide important meanings and functions as we move through daily activities. It is normal to assume that these provide a meaningful and functional basis for life in general. .
It is impossible to rid ourselves entirely of our values that make us ethnocentric. We use our own culture as the basis for the comparison to compare other cultures" customs and behaviors based on our own. For example, while traveling in a foreign country, one might look at customary traditions as "wrong" or "unethical". This is only because we look at this custom as different from what we are used to. Being ethnocentric in a foreign setting leads you to make false assumptions about the other people.
Ethnocentrism leads us to misunderstand others. We distort what is meaningful and functional to other peoples through our own tinted glasses. We see their ways in terms of our life experience, not theirs. We do not understand that their ways have their own meanings and functions in life, just as our ways have for us. .
At the best, we can continue in our unawareness.