Ethnocentricity: ONE

I have talked about ethnocentricity (where one believes one’s culture is superior to those of others) in my classes repeatedly, maybe ad nauseam. Having witnessed the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi last night, I realized that I could talk until I am blue in the face, but some “people” (and especially Americans) will NEVER learn.

I thought the opening ceremony was great, excellent, and IMHO the best of all Winter Olympics (I believe the honor for Summer Olympics goes to China and I cannot imagine any country surpassing the opening in Beijing a few years ago). There was, however, a snafu as one snowflake did not transform into one of the Olympic rings. Opening ceremonies at previous Olympics have experienced problems too. The one in Sydney, which was rectified after a significant amount of time, comes to mind. So does the one in Vancouver (I believe?) where one pillar did not surface. And, it was not the end of the world

But what happened after the opening last night? All one could read in the US was the mishap with the snowflakes. In fact, one entrepreneur went so far as to print t-shirts.

All of this made me think about the horrendous Games that were staged in  Atlanta (1996). It was so bad that the President of the IOC did not say in his closing address (as the custom is) that it was the best games ever. It was so bad that any US city will never be awarded the Summer Olympics again (look what happened to Chicago’s bid a few years ago). Yet, nowhere did I read in the media about all the screw-ups, too many to mention (one that stands out was the bus drivers that were recruited from outside Atlanta to transport spectators to the various venues, who did not know the city and could not get the spectators there on time).

We, as Americans, suffer from such superiority complexes that ONLY we can do anything right. No other country in this world can succeed. It’s us and only us who knows what to do. And y’all still want to know why people don’t like us? Look at the incident in Sochi where an American athlete was stuck in his bathroom after having taken a shower. He had to break down the door as he could not bide his time and yell for help. What a powerful nation we are! … more to come …

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