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Ethnocentrism and Cultural RelativismDespite how much humans have in common, cultural differences are far more prevalent than culturaluniversals. For example, while all cultures have language, analysis of particular language structures andconversational etiquette reveal tremendous differences. In some Middle Eastern cultures, it is commonto stand close to others in conversation. North Americans keep more distance, maintaining a large“personal space.” Even something as simple as eating and drinking varies greatly from culture toculture. If your professor comes into an early morning class holding a mug of liquid, what do youassume she is drinking? In the United States, it’s most likely filled with coffee, not Earl Grey tea, afavorite in England, or Yak Butter tea, a staple in Tibet.The way cuisines vary across cultures fascinates many people. Some travelers pride themselves ontheir willingness to try unfamiliar foods, like celebrated food writer Anthony Bourdain, while othersreturn home expressing gratitude for their native culture’s fare. Often, Americans express disgust atother cultures’ cuisine, thinking it’s gross to eat meat from a dog or guinea pig, for example, while theydon’t question their own habit of eating cows or pigs. Such attitudes are an example of ethnocentrism,or evaluating and judging another culture based on how it compares to one’s own cultural norms.Ethnocentrism, as sociologist William Graham Sumner (1906) described the term, involves a belief orattitude that one’s own culture is better than all others. Almost everyone is a little bit ethnocentric. Forexample, Americans tend to say that people from England drive on the “wrong” side of the road, rather