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is ethnocentrism really bad ?


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Round 1
Hi there, sorry for the grammar and punctuation cause I don't really have time to write these days, the real goal of this debate would be an exchange for me, about what we consider as absolute truth, so the basic idea behind ethnocentrism is to consider that the way things are done in your culture is the best one, contrarily to xenocentrism which would be defined as considering the way things are done in another culture than your native one best.
when responding, I wish you take into consideration the fact that the debate is nothing related to classical racism with basically stupid people giving bananas to black people or assuming the latter would automatically be guilty if there is theft or trying to make slanting eyes to imitate Asian people when talking, all this is a big no sense for me and I would not say for another debate for it because its absurdity can be simply proven.
Among the courses I studied for my CS bachelor, there was a cultural management topic that I was very interested in, I basically did a cultural comparison between Germany and Denmark in a professional framework,  and there were several cultural theories I encountered while doing research for my academic paper, I understood from the course and these theories that it would be absurd to retrieve individual concepts and judge them without understanding the general context and how this is related to other values in a certain culture.
To exemplify, in general, southern cultures tend to agree that arriving late to a programmed meeting is more convenient, because the relational side is way more important than this type of formalities, while for northern ones time is money, and this would be a lake of professionalism. 
so the goal of the course was to explain why some culture would tend to do things differently, and most importantly, that that is important to know these differences before arriving in another country so that would prevent unfounded judgments like " these people are not serious in this project, this breaks our trust in them, how would we collaborate with them fi they can't even arrive at time' ...
 I don't doubt the kindness of such a construction, sometimes there are some things that are just too absurd to be discussed because if there is, for example, a typical dance of a world region, we don't need to do anything but tolerate it because it doesn't change anything in our lives, it's just an artistic expression, the same way we could like or dislike an Italian painting or an old Chinese vase, the same would apply for food, we could easily like or dislike any typical dish of a country, if for example insects are eaten there but not in your country, you don't have to automatically judge their food as disgusting, it's just too insignificant to be discussed because it just concerns the individual's life, this is called cultural relativism.
so until now, I think I have a common opinion, what bothers me in our modern society, especially with progressist people is that they strongly misuse the concept of cultural relativism to just defend whatever minority and to explain to you that you're just intolerant, I'm not alone with this opinion, most of the defenders of the multiculturality say that it indeed represents a danger for criticism. 
The examples I presented until now are innocent and insignificant in our lives, but here where it becomes absurd: some cultures have dangerous practices, like female circumcision in some African countries, homophobia in the Muslim world, dancing around unearthed corpses in Madagascar, Corrida in spain etc, guess what they answer when you criticize their methods: I respect the way you are doing things in your culture, you should respect mine back.
Well while this argument would appear fair enough, it is actually polemic, because it contradicts the reason for which cultures exist.
there are several definitions for the word culture, but they're just slightly different, in my own words it could be defined as the collection of norms and 
values that define the conduct and moral code of a society, the fascinating thing that there is always a historical or an environmental reason for people doing things in a certain way, for example, most of the Scandinavian culture is inspired by Jante laws from a fiction book, german culture is strongly influenced  by the protestant reformation and the " Bildung " concept that came after WWII, there were concepts that helped these societies to socially and economically advance given some circumstances, and it applies for ALL countries, the thing is if you observe western cultures, they are pretty recent, they existed before, but they were strongly reformed during the last centuries, so their efficiency basically comes from a recent questioning about the continuity of the validity of their previous values thanks to science, while other cultures seem to be stuck in the time making out basic thinking frames holly even if they're outdated and mostly scientifically contradicted.
As we say today, our world has become a small village, would shouldn't these cultures just accept to question their values instead of asking for respect and consideration under the pretext that they're doing the same ( even if they internally think theirs are actually best) ? 
A1. Ethnocentrism Defined

CON does not give a definition of ethnocentrism, so I am forced to supply one:

Ethnocentrism: the attitude that one's own group, ethnicity, or nationality is superior to others [1]

The de facto definition of ethnocentrism has nothing at all to do with CON's opening argument. CON is describing nationalism, which is defined as:

Nationalism: loyalty and devotion to a nation

especially : a sense of national consciousness (see CONSCIOUSNESS sense 1c) exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups [2]

This is most clearly exhibited when CON states:

the basic idea behind ethnocentrism is to consider that the way things are done in your culture is the best one

Since this debate lacks a description, I am not really told whether I am PRO or CON ethnocentrism. Going in, I it made rational sense I was against it, since the debate topic is titled "Is ethnocentrism really bad?" And I was PRO, meaning that I do think it is "really bad."

Bad, according to Merriam Webster:

failing to reach an acceptable standard : POOR [3]
So I need to argue that ethnocentrism really fails to reach an acceptable standard.

The standard I shall choose is the rules for taxonomy in Biology.

A2 - Ethnocentrism Fails The Standards For Taxonomic Qualifications

As per Science Oxygen:

classification, in biology, the establishment of a hierarchical system of categories on the basis of presumed natural relationships among organisms. The science of biological classification is commonly called taxonomy [4]

Biology Dictionary defines Taxonomy as:

the branch of biology that classifies all living things. [5]

How are different species classified? The Textbook Biodiversity: The Variety Of Life On Earth explains:

To create a new classification group, characteristics must be identified which are found in every member of that group. The size or colour of an animal may vary quite a lot but the skeleton or the teeth always have the same characteristics. As a result it would not be a good idea to group together all animals which are of a certain colour. [6]

So, to confirm members of the same species, they must hold common characteristics past skin color, like anatomical and physiological structure being the same.

Now let's return to ethnocentrism's definition again: 

the attitude that one's own group, ethnicity, or nationality is superior to others

So for ethnocentrism to be bad, it must fail to confirm members of the same species.

By it's inherent definition it fails, since members of the same species cannot be inferior, they are all the same species.

Using superiority fails to distinguish anything from something else in an anatomical and physiological way that would confirm members of the same species.

Therefore, ethnocentrism is really bad because it fails an acceptable standard, the standard of taxonomy. Proving this is necessary to meet the definition. Therefore, it is proven that ethnocentrism is really bad.


Round 2
Thanks for your counter-point, I have to admit that I had completely forgotten to supply some important informations about the context, so for this debate, ethnocentricism is the anthropological concept and not the biological one, just as defined here : 

Ethnocentrism is a term applied to the cultural or ethnic bias—whether conscious or unconscious—in which an individual views the world from the perspective of his or her own group, establishing the in-group as archetypal and rating all other groups with reference to this ideal. This form of tunnel vision often results in: (1) an inability to adequately understand cultures that are different from one’s own and (2) value judgments that preference the in-group and assert its inherent superiority, thus linking the concept of ethnocentrism to multiple forms of chauvinism and prejudice, including nationalism, tribalism, racism, and even sexism and disability discrimination. [1]
I apologize again because I assumed everyone was interested in the domain and perfectly understood these concepts.
For your position, your assumption is right, you should defend the idea that ethnocentrism is actually bad, with bad being as defined by your given source.
It is clear that in this context, it is a large concept that could include several parameters including nationalism, nationalism could itself have several definitions, but the most social and anthropological I could find is : 

Nationalism is the desire for political independence of people who feel they are historically or culturally a separate group within a country. [2]
this definition is the most relevant in the context of ethnocentrism because it just implies that a group of people would be strongly attached to their uniqueness as independent cultural and historical groups, ex: Catalans in Spain. This is indeed a strong parameter since being willing to be independent based on this reflects the fact that you consider yourself too good to stay in the same country as other groups you consider inferior, but there are several others that could cause ethnocentrism as you could see.

The first argument I gave was also a deep introduction of my position and a large explanation of the problem, sorry but I feel that it wasn't attentively read, it emphasizes several times that the main problem is the wish to have mutual and absolute respect for cultural differences even though there is evidence one way of functioning is just not good enough. i,e, an equality that would come at any price.

I don't feed the neel to respond to the second part related to biology since it just refers to what we commonly call pure racism based only on race and ethnicity, i,e. some physical attributes you inherited from your ancestors, but I  believe neither that these parameters have something to do with your ability to be a good human being as someone from whatever other race.
used sources: 
R1 - CON Is Asking For Special Pleading Over His Definitions

CON had all of round one and the description to supply definitions for this debate and he failed to do so. This forced PRO to supply one.

When PRO supplied a definition from one of the most trusted dictionaries in the world, run by Britannica Group, a company that is known as a de facto source of knowledge and runs the most rigorous encyclopedia in the world, [1] he scurries away and comes up with his own source which is... a recent graduate from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. [2]

Moreover, her degree is not even in linguistics, social psychology, or any relevant field toward the debate topic in question. She is a medical anthropologist. [2] So PRO wants us to trust the opinion of a relatively unknown medical anthropologist over a premier dictionary run by the most rigorous knowledge company in the world, that was written and compiled by linguists and etymologists with a heavy emphasis in objectively determining how a word is used in its proper context. [3]

As Merriam-Webster themselves explain:
To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it's used. They carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them.

Each day most Merriam-Webster editors devote an hour or two to reading a cross section of published material, including books, newspapers, magazines, and electronic publications; in our office this activity is called "reading and marking." The editors scour the texts in search of new words, new usages of existing words, variant spellings, and inflected forms–in short, anything that might help in deciding if a word belongs in the dictionary, understanding what it means, and determining typical usage. Any word of interest is marked, along with surrounding context that offers insight into its form and use. [3]

So, it is apparent that CON's reliance on a relatively unknown recent graduate from a mid-tier university whose degree does not even specialize in any remotely associated field of study's definition is a blatant case of special pleading to try to steer the debate into his direction rather than debate the topic at hand, as defined by Merriam Webster since CON failed to supply any sort of definitions at all.

R2 - CON Agrees That I Defended My Position

In his rebuttal, CON openly admitted I defended my position and even used the right definition of "bad" when he wrote:
For your position, your assumption is right, you should defend the idea that ethnocentrism is actually bad, with bad being as defined by your given source.

Now, why is it that CON accepts the Merriam Webster definition of bad and not the definition of ethnocentrism? Clearly he believes Merriam Webster is a reputable dictionary if he agreed with it.

But, regardless, CON has admitted I have successfully defended my position. He also admitted he needed to provide definitions himself sooner, like when he stated:
I apologize again because I assumed everyone was interested in the domain and perfectly understood these concepts.

But I would argue CON is calling everyone who votes, reads, and debates this topic uninterested and ignorant of ethnocentrism. This shows bad conduct and may reveal a superiority complex on CON's part. By assuming I do not understand what ethnocentrism means, he assumes I am an ignorant buffoon debating on a topic I know nothing about. 

However, it is clear to everyone reading that I supplied a definition. I competently interpreted the definition, and I even applied it to a standard that is perfectly within the scope of what Ethnocentrism is about, the differences between people groups, literally human biology, and conclusively proved that it fails that standard.

R3 - CON Admits He Did Not Give An Argument In Round 1

In his Round 2 rebuttal, CON states:
The first argument I gave was also a deep introduction of my position and a large explanation of the problem,

So CON, here, admits that all he gave was an introduction and explanation of the problem. He admits he did not even argue for his own position. This is in stark contrast to what PRO did, where I gave a complete argument, with definitions, citations to respected authorities of biology, etymology, and English definitions, and constructed my case.

Where CON admits his argument is not even a complete argument, PRO has supplied an entire argument that is complete and successfully defends his position.

R4 - CON Has Demonstrated He Has No Understanding Of His Own Topic

In His Round 2 Rebuttal, CON stated:
I don't feed the neel [sic] to respond to the second part related to biology since it just refers to what we commonly call pure racism based only on race and ethnicity

Let's recall the definition of ethnocentrism again:
Ethnocentrism: the attitude that one's own group, ethnicity, or nationality is superior to others [4] 

And now let's look at the definition of "racism:"
a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race [5]

Now let's look at the definition of "race:"
any one of the groups that humans are often divided into based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry [6] 

Now let's recall the definition of Ethnocentrism:
the attitude that one's own group, ethnicity, or nationality is superior to others [4]

And now let's define "ethnicity:"
a particular ethnic affiliation or group [7]

And finally "ethnic:"
of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background

So, an ethnic group is a group of one race, and racism is claiming your race is superior to others. But, by extension here, ethnocentrism is the belief that your ethnic group is superior to others, since ethnicity is a group of individuals of one ethnic origin, as per the dictionary definitions of these words.

Therefore, ethnocentrism, rightly, is the belief that your race is superior to others. This means racism and ethnocentrism are the same thing.

But moreover, my standard, biological determinants and classifications of species, perfectly fits with these definitions. Since ethnicity is judging one race to be superior to another, then it is apparent an objective, authoritative classification system is in order, which is what I provided. And, according to that classification system, there are not multiple races, so there are also not multiple ethnicities, and this therefore means, as CON and PRO both agree, that Ethnocentrism fails the standard and is therefore "really bad."


CON had both the description and his opening round to give a definition of ethnocentrism, which he failed to do. CON also admitted his opening round was not an argument, but rather an introduction and analysis. 

CON also stated that PRO did, in fact, give a valid argument defending his position, and even agreed with PRO on the proper standard to measure bad.

CON used sources from people who are not experts on ethnocentrism while choosing to willfully ignore a dictionary that was written by linguists and etymologists and run by Britannica Group, a de facto authoritative source of knowledge and facts.

CON presented severe misunderstandings of ethnocentrism, racism, and ethnicity according to established dictionary definitions while claiming nobody but him and his fringe source understood these topics properly.

Round 3
R1 - CON Has Dropped PRO's Round 2 Rebuttals

CON has failed to respond to any of my Round 2 Rebuttals and has instead forfeited the round.

A1 - Ethnocentrism Led To The Rise Of The NAZI Party In Germany

Let us recall the definition of Ethnocentrism again:

Ethnocentrism: the attitude that one's own group, ethnicity, or nationality is superior to others [1]

The crux of Ethnocentrism is that ones own people are better than others. Meaning, for instance, that, in 1930s Germany, being an Aryan German meant you are better than others (like the Jews). As the Holocaust Encyclopedia writes:

The Nazis pledged to restore German cultural values, reverse the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, turn back the perceived threat of a Communist uprising, put the German people back to work, and restore Germany to its "rightful position" as a world power. [2]
The Nazi's entire party platform revolved around the idea that the Germans were superior to everyone else and deserved to be its leader. It was the textbook definition of ethnocentrism. And the results of the German Nazi ethnocentrism was the death of between 8 million to 12 million Jewish people, the slaughter of the infirm, the immigrant, the war prisoner, and more. [3] 

In fact, Adolf Hitler's earliest speeches proved the ethnocentrism of the Germans caused the Nazis to so easily take power. His first ever known speech says:

For us there are only two possibilities: either we remain German or we come under the thumb of the Jews. This latter must not occur; even if we are small, we are a force. A well-organized group can conquer a strong enemy. If you stick close together and keep bringing in new people, we will be victorious over the Jews. [4]

Speaking of Germans as if they are a special people who have no relation with Jews is a textbook example of ethnocentrism. He wanted to keep Germany pure and "German," which is ethnocentric ideology at its core.


CON has dropped all my Round 2 rebuttals to his arguments. 

Ethnocentrism was directly responsible for Nazi Germany, with the idea of a superior German people and German way of life and the Germans being the "rightful owners" of the world, Nazi Germany directly exhibited the definition of ethnocentrism. The results of this ethnocentrism was the slaughter of millions of innocent lives, the bloodiest war in known human history, and the idea of white supremacy and antisemitism infecting the known world through the poison of the Neo-Nazis.

Round 4
CON has technically Full-Forfeited. Vote PRO.