A Look at the World around Us

Contributing Writer

It’s hard to sum this topic up with a single symbol or in just one word. But, if I had to use just one word, I would use the word ethnocentricity.

Ethnocentricity is the belief that our own values and norms are better than everyone else’s. I’ve always wondered why we gossip and talk about our teammates, peers, coworkers and even our so-called friends. Why do we ostracize certain people? How do different races of people develop a hatred for another? What makes us believe that we are better than others? Because, after all, most of us do at least one of these things.

Is it because it makes us feel better about ourselves? Do people having a dislike for the same person bring them together because it’s an easy way to connect? Sometimes there’s no malice involved. Perhaps we just talk about and put down others for pure entertainment. Kind of like what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.” Maybe some of us just have nothing better to talk about.

However, no matter what the case may be, I was introduced to the practice of seeking first to understand then to be understood in Stephen R. Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Seeking first to understand is the idea of listening and trying to understand the views and opinions of others before offering our own. Thus, if we all were to put in the effort to really try and understand others instead of judging them, we might realize that we’re really all the same.

We might find that we’re all just sensitive people with similar struggles, trying to find happiness and a sense of purpose in this life. Maybe, then, Rodney King could finally get his wish. Maybe, then, we could all just get along.