Ethnocentrism and patriotism are different

I am as patriotic as they get. I am obsessed with the United States. I have a huge flag above my bed and I try to match my décor to my favorite colors: red, white and blue.

I am so thankful for the freedoms this country grants me and the opportunities for a brighter future than many other nations. So many people fight so hard to step foot in this country and I am privileged to have been granted citizenship by being born in this country.

Americans are so often reminded that the U.S. is the greatest, most accomplished country in the world, but its ideologies and beliefs are not the highest and mightiest.

American ethnocentrism is often expressed abroad. Americans compare our wealthy country of impeccable infrastructure to the suffering of impoverished nations and believe it must be because their ways are wrong.

Don’t get me wrong: Some countries’ ways may be far-fetched, such as thinking diseases are caused by evil spirits rather than poor hygiene, but if we take a moment to see why the ways of other countries are the way they are, we may be able to understand these people and appreciate their customs.

We may not agree with the practices of cultures, but they are most likely not asking for your opinion  anyway.

There are 196 countries in the world with different beliefs and ideologies that are not willing to put up with the ethnocentrism of Americans.

When I traveled abroad, I came across locals who would hear my American accent and immediately change their tone to aggression. They have come in contact with arrogant Americans in the past who have spoken down to them and treated them as less than them. Not all Americans act this way, but it only takes one to ruin someones perception of all Americans.

As Americans we have to change this attitude of superiority and stop setting American culture as the standard for the rest of the world.  We have no right to be the standard.

If I’m being honest, our country’s politics at the moment aren’t doing too great, so let’s be a little slower to speak next time we think we are so high and mighty.

About Darlene Mercado

Opinion Editor

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