Saturday, January 06, 2007
Cultural differences we do not see
Ethnocentricism blinds us to differences. It is to some extent obvious that Americans are different from Chinese or Indians, though we often fail to see them accurately, or the similarities. However, we are particularly poor at recognizing differences between nations and cultures with much in common. For example, while the majority of people in the US believe in God and practise a religion (usually Chirstianity), in the UK, a Guardian poll a month ago showed that 82% believe that religion does more harm than good, and 63% describe themselves as not religious. This has a huge impact on many of the activities of daily life. So much in politics, education and business reflects implicit beliefs, that a culturally different underpinning will change how people live.