My topic is Ethnocentrism. According to Drever, ethnocentrism is an exaggerated tendency to think the characteristics of one’s own group or race is superior to those of other groups or races. What I will specifically address is the belief that the United States has superior culture, medicine, and does not have the same issues as the rest of the world. (Drever)
Ethnocentrism starts early in the life of Americans. Even calling ourselves Americans excludes the fact that Americans also include those who live in North and South America. Indoctrination starts very young in the United States with the pledge of allegiance. Some might say that this normal, and countries should always do this to ensure the support of their citizens. I however would argue that this is indoctrination.
We can look at another narrative this time from back in World War II. Japan bombed the United States at Pearl Harbor, forcing them into the war. The United States proceeded to beat the hell out of the Germans and Japanese. Or so you have been told. While this is partially true, it is often skewed as shortly after World War II the United States and the Soviet Union were propelled into the Cold War. What really happened is that Germany made several errors, but one of the biggest was pushing into the Soviet Union. From August 1942 to February 1943 the Soviets and the Germans would amass nearly 2 million causalities at the Battle of Stalingrad. Eventually, the soviets would push the German lines back, resulting in victory. (Klein)
The narrative on the front against the Japanese goes like this. After the bloody battle of Iwo Jima, and on August 6th, 1945 the United States deployed an atomic bomb hitting Hiroshima. Three Days later they hit Nagasaki with another atomic bomb. The Japanese promptly surrendered. This happened, sort of. The Japanese surrendered on August 15th, 1945. The was propelled by not only the atomic bombs, but also the Soviet Union declaring war on Japan on August 9th, 1945. (Klein)
As the United States goes through a period of civil turmoil and unrest, where people are demanding for equal rights and for history to reflect the atrocities that have occurred maybe we need to take a second look on how we educate. The ethnocentric narrative that the United States is the best country to ever exist and has not committed atrocities to natives or people of color needs to stop. History should not only be written by the victors.
Klein, C. (2020, August 11). 5 Events That Led to the End of World War II. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from https://www.history.com/news/world-war-ii-end-events
Drever, H. E. (1952). A dictionary of psychology. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin.