Three: Session Two
- Egocentrism, Ethnocentrism, and Sociocentrism
This can be grouped together as "mine is better thinking." My school
is better, my car is better, my neighborhood is better, my way of thinking is
- Egocentrism is to focus on one's own self, needs, interests,
and so forth. The egocentric person fails to consider others.
- Ethnocentrism (or Sociocentrism) is to focus on one's group. "My
group is better than your group." "The group I belong
to is right (because it's my group)."
- One's race, religion, ethnic group, culture, family, political
group, is considered superior to all others. This can be as benign
as believing the '49ers are the greatest team simply because
one lives in the Bay Area. It can be as deadly as believing one
should drink poisoned Cool Aid because the leader of your group
tells you to. "Mine is better" thinking of any kind
can cut you off from other perspectives. It can cause you to
make poor decisions about political candidates, and so on.
- Example: "Justice Thomas isn't really black because he
doesn't think like a black person." This kind of foolish
thinking assumes that African Americans are a monolithic group
which should think all the same way.
- Example: "I know that mine is the one true church." Now
it is possible that it is the one true church. But most people
who say this "know" it not because they have carefully
researched all the relevant information on all sides. Rather,
people usually come to believe these things because of emotional
reasons, family ties, or just familiarity. Now before you "nonbelievers" start
feeling smug, there is nothing different about you. Most people
who reject religion are no more thoughtful about it than a religious
person. People tend to arrive at their beliefs irrationally,
no matter what the belief is.
- Example: "I believe you Anita." This is a bumper
sticker which showed up after the Thomas Hill confirmation hearings.
Anita Hill stole the show with her allegation that she was sexually
harassed by [then] Judge Thomas. People's acceptance or rejection
of Ms. Hill's charges was generally not based on evidence, because
the evidence was of the "he said - she said" type.
There was no hard evidence. Instead, people who were conservative
(as Justice Thomas is) tended not to believe Ms. Hill. People
who were liberal tended to believe her.
- Example: "I believe you Paula." Current bumper sticker
regarding Paula Jones and her charges against President Clinton.
Everything about the case is exactly the opposite as the one