Ubuntu Festival, Cape Town, South Africa – 2009 (Photo by JJM)
Ethnocentrism is inherent in all human beings. It has advantages and disadvantages. Since it cannot be removed or reduced without negative side effects, it would be better to find ways to work with it positively.
Positive ethnocentrism would allow for the natural maintenance and preservation of a person’s original culture and identity while also allowing and motivating for an appreciation of other cultures that live within the same environment. Unity in Diversity could be the perfect example of positive ethnocentrism in that it is very likely to deliver consistent positive results, if fostered, cultivated and maintained on a continuous basis.
Implementing Unity in Diversity would depend on both will and goodwill of all parties involved. Unity in Diversity has a weak point in that it is a relatively fragile concept that is vulnerable to being disrupted by intrusive forms of negative ethnocentrism such as identity politics and nationalism.
South Africa as a case study:
By JJ Montagnier
JJ Montagnier is a writer based in South America. He has a personal interest in conflict resolution, democracy and social coehsion. He has lived in South Africa and Northern Ireland (among other places.) The views and opinions expressed in this essay are those of the author.