Behind The Veil Essay

1553 words - 7 pages

The United States of America was founded on July 4, 1776. Seeking a life free of the British Government, a host of immigrants founded a new nation. Because the United States was created by the migration of people from various parts of the world, it is sometimes described as a “melting pot.” Along with their personal possessions, these immigrants brought their respective cultures and traditions as they meshed together into a new society. Despite being categorized together as citizens of the same country, the independent traditions and lifestyles of humankind have created challenges throughout history. It is important for Americans to share a sense of pride, patriotism and loyalty. Equally important, however, is the need for respect regarding differences and individualism. Ethnocentrism is a barrier between understanding culture and diversity.
Ethnocentrism is defined as, “having or based on the idea that your own group or culture is better or more important than others.” Society is impacted by everything from media exposure to political agendas. A good example of this can be found in America’s recent history with countries in the Middle East. Issues ranging from energy and oil to a campaign against terrorism have created strained relationships between the United States and countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, it is nearly impossible to watch an evening news program on American television that does not contain a story related to current events in the Middle East. Similarly, the leaders of American government have incorporated resolutions regarding Middle Eastern situations into their campaigns when seeking election. Subsequently, some American citizens have adopted negative opinions regarding the citizens of these Middle Eastern countries. Many times, these opinions are unfounded. They are the culmination of mass media influence coupled with fear. Ethnocentrism between American culture and that of the Arabic communities is becoming more commonplace, but can be resolved through education, thereby creating understanding, respect and harmony between the differing cultures.
In an outreach campaign designed to foster cultural diversity, the United States Government has published a guide to better understanding the Arabic culture. It points out, “Not all Arabs are Semites. An Arab can be as dark as any African or as white as any Caucasian.” Arabs are qualified by those who speak the Arabic language and practice Arabic cultures, not by a particular race or lineage. One common theme in the Arabic community is that culture and the Islamic faith are deeply intertwined. Islamic religion teaches that everyone should believe in God and practice religious customs. There is little room for differing, individual beliefs, such as agnostics. Unlike America, Arabic countries do not practice separation of church and state. Religion is taught in schools and promoted by the government. Bordering on religious fatalism, Islamic faith teaches “what will...

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