Rabbit: Don’t let ethnocentrism sour you on other cultures

By Robert Smith

One word describes all of the intolerance, bigotry and prejudice in our world and that word is “ethnocentrism.”  It’s the belief that your group is superior to all others religious, cultural and racial reasons.
While I was in the Army in Germany, I went to an English restaurant in London. It was a fairly fancy place. I forget what I ate, but I noticed a couple in Indian attire at a table near me. When I finished eating, I decided to go over and talk since I’d never met anyone from India.
I introduced myself and asked if I could join them. They asked me to sit down and explained they were tea growers from Ceylon, not India.
Pretty soon a little Englishman who looked like someone you’d see in an old movie walked over to our table. He said to me in a stern voice, “We don’t talk to their kind.”  I was surprised but I said to him, “I am an American and I will talk to anyone I want to”. He gave out a “hrrumph” and walked back to his table.
That was one of my first experiences with out-and-out bigotry. I thought that it was strange for him to be so rude to someone who provides the English people with their favorite beverage. Ethnocentrism.

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