This is a short activity I like to do with students at the beginning of each year to open dialogue about ethnocentrism and to lay down rules for respectful discussion of world cultures. Do not disclose the purpose of this activity to students before distributing. Simply tell them that this is the first culture they're going to learn about.
Photo of Oodle Man
Ask students by a show of hands if they were surprised to see that this is what a typical Oodles man looks like.
Ethnocentrism or “Where do you get off…?”
Ethnocentrism is when someone judges someone else’s culture as inferior (less than theirs). It also involves the idea that one’s own culture is the standard by which all other cultures are judged.
Congratulations! You just went through what is known as a “reality check”. The correct answer to the series of questions that were just put before you (yes, there was a correct answer!) was to simply DO NOTHING. You looked at these people and judged them to be “inferior” because you see your culture as superior. It has happened throughout history~ the Native Americans, The Latin American Indians, Africans, Indians, Asians, etc. As we go through our culture units, THINK before you JUDGE.
Have you personally ever been in a situation where the ideas, values, customs or beliefs were very different from your own cultural lifestyle? Explain:
What if I had shown you a photo of these "Oodles" first? Would you have judged them differently?