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SARAH BENTON CULTURAL DIVERSITY FINAL 1. In America, ethnocentrism and race play very large parts in our culture and diversity. Ethnocentrism is the view that one culture is better or stronger than another due to it’s members and their accomplishments. Race is a separate idea that classifies humans based on several factors, including skin color, genetic traits and cultural identification. These cultural ideas are crucial in understanding the cultural and racial differences in America. Stone Mountain Park and the holiday Kwanzaa were both covered in the telecourse, and both have interesting ties to the ideas of ethnocentrism and race. Kwanzaa, for all intents and purposes, is a made up holiday. During the black power movement, Ron Karenga developed this holiday, dedicated solely to cultural and ethnic support of Africans. The holiday had no bearings in religion, but was celebrated around the time of Christmas and Hanukah. Karenga stated he started this holiday in order to celebrate what he called the “seven principles of Kwanzaa”, including unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. These principles, and effectively, the holiday, allowed blacks to celebrate and take pride in their heritage, which was a form of ethnocentrism. Unlike the history of Stone Mountain Park, however, this ethnocentrism was good in that it allowed blacks to transcend the social unrest of the time and be proud of their history. Stone Mountain Park is a large, exposed rock in Georgia. It is best known for it’s large relief carving of leaders of the Confederacy, and as a meeting place for the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan used this mountain as a meeting spot due to it’s high visibility. According to the video, when on the mountain on a clear day, one could see for almost 200 miles. This could allow the KKK to see things such as burning crosses. The
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Mountain is representative of a negative form of ethnocentrism. This version is hurtful to other ethnicities and cultures, but similarly to Kwanzaa, discriminates by race. This mountain is an embarrassing vestige of a time when negative ethnocentrism was a perfectly accepted practice, so much so that the owner of the mountain gladly gave
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2010 for the course HIS 207 taught by Professor Lee during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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