Public Speakers and Ethnocentrism

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Ethnocentrism is a belief that an individual’s culture, ideologies, and their way of life are better than everyone else. Ethnocentric people are of the opinion that their cultures should be the benchmark of what other people should follow. However, most of the assumptions on superiority are flawed as they are based on individuals’ limited experience and exposure to cultures outside their own. As a result, individuals with such assumptions may end up making false judgments. For instance, people from the western world may have the opinion that individuals from developing countries subscribe to primitive cultures while those from developing countries believe that western nations are against their traditional identity. According to the person who coined the term ethnocentrism every individual and community is ethnocentric as they show pride and demonstrate contempt for outsiders (Sumner 15). To avoid the adverse consequences associated with ethnocentrism public speakers should avoid ethnocentrism when addressing audiences with diverse cultural, racial, or ethnic backgrounds.

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Ethnocentric individuals can be arrogant and may ignore knowledge from other cultures that might be right and even superior. With such an attitude the audience may despise the speaker’s message as they will feel undermined. Also, ethnocentrism breeds self-righteousness putting the speaker at risk of clashing with their audience. Because of ethnocentrism, a speaker may wrongly believe that their audience universally accepts the message they are passing resulting in confusion and misunderstandings. The speaker will also miss the opportunity to learn from the audience if they disregard other peoples’ views.

Additionally, Public speakers should avoid ethnocentrism because it can polarize and divide the audience. A diverse audience may not have the same views hence creating conflicts among the groups in attendance. Ethnocentrism may promote negative stereotypes where those that share the same beliefs with the speaker will consider people from other culture as inferior escalating conflict between the different groups. The speaker together with those who subscribe to their beliefs will view their opinion as ‘right’ while everyone else including those that are in the audience as ‘wrong’ resulting in isolation.

Finally, ethnocentrism hinders effective communication as it creates barriers with those that have a different culture to that of the speaker (Neuliep 11). The audience may turn hostile or completely disregard the speaker’s message. The audience might even resent the speaker as they may feel disrespected and undermined which may result in an unhealthy debate.

In conclusion, public speakers should refrain from being ethnocentric as it will inhibit their ability to engage with their audience effectively. Some of the adverse consequences of ethnocentrism include arrogance and limited perspective. Other disadvantages of ethnocentrism include creating rifts among the audience that has diverse cultural, racial, or ethnic backgrounds together with ineffective communication. Therefore, public speakers can avoid ethnocentrism by recognizing the difference and embracing the diversity of their audience. They should also learn and appreciate other people’s cultures so that they can see value in their views. 

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Public Speakers And Ethnocentrism. (2021, Apr 07). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from

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