Ethnocentrism and Australia

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Ethnocentrism refers to the judgment of another culture based solely on the standards of ones own culture. It is an ideology “commonly used where matters of ethnicity, inter-ethnic relations, and social issues are of any concern” (Barger, 2014). Issues involving ethnocentric behavior generally arise where individuals or groups believe their on culture is superior to others. An example of Ethnocentrism within Australia is after the arrival of European settlers in 1788 (Burgmann, 2003). I believe the Aboriginal culture was made weak during the evolution of Australia and due to the oppression of the Australian Government Australian citizens turned a blind eye to those they were sharing their habitat and home with.
“We all grow up with too little knowledge of the Aboriginal Story. With a few myths for comfort we have turned from the pain which Aborigines have borne, seeing little of the silent erosion of independence and the surrender of character-forming institutions of great antiquity” (Spalding, 1965)

This addresses the main issues involved with ethnocentric behavior where individuals or groups are not open minded or tolerant of other cultures. According to Ken Barger some people aren’t aware they are being ethnocentric … “we don’t understand that we don’t understand”. For example the English language can be “attributed to the growth of Australian Nationalism within the umbrella of the British Empire” (Kell and Vogl, 2006), as it was compulsory for schools to teach with the English language causing the indigenous language to become almost “extinct”.

The Australian culture has changed its past ways in today’s 21st century with the power of multiculturalism. Australians began to realize that knowledge of Indigenous culture is a fundamental right to improving both Aboriginal well-being and persevering heritage, and also the improvement of socioeconomic development. I believe Australia turned it’s Ethnocentric behavior around when the “International Convention to Eradicate all forms of Racial Discrimination” (, 2015) was sign allowing Aboriginal policy to proceed towards self government which in turn lead towards multiculturalism. Today Indigenous culture is taught within schools across the globe in order to evenly educate all citizens in the history that was once ignored. Aboriginals are now also offered the same opportunities as all Australians and compensated for the wrong doings of the original European settlers. I believe Australians are being well educated in the multiculturalism of Indigenous people and this is broadening the horizons of education of other cultures being merged into the great country we live in.

Barger, K. 2014. What is it? Why are people ethnocentric? What is the problem? What can we do about it? . [ONLINE] Available at: <>. [Accessed 25 August 15].

Beswick, D.G, et al, 1972. Ethnocentrism . A Survey of Ethnocentrism in Australia, [Online]. 24/2, 153-155. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 August 2015].
Burgmann,V. The Aboriginal movement in power, profit and protest: Australian social movements and globilisation, Allen & Unwin, 2003, Chapter 2, pp.44-97 [ISBN 1741140161]

Parliament of Australia. 2015. Multiculturalism: a review of Australian policy statements and recent debates in Australia and overseas. [ONLINE] Available at: <>. [Accessed 25 August 15].

Spalding, I. (1965) No Genteel Silence. Crux, 63, p. 2-3. The Journal of the Australian Student Christian Movement


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