Human beings are social by nature whereby interaction takes an integral part in socialization. Although it is natural for human beings to interact, this act does not just happen without plentiful impediments. Cultural diversity is viewed as a major obstruction to interaction because our perceptions of other people are greatly influenced by the culture under which we have grown. Cultural differences must be checked by reason otherwise its influence on individuals can create a negative perception of others (Liu, 2006).
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Despite the negative implication of cultural diversity on interaction, humanistic theory considers cultural diversity not as a source of conflict between different ethnicities, but as a feature that enriches human growth. This paper, therefore, seeks to explain how the interaction between culturally diverse groups is affected by their ethnocentric perspectives of each other according to humanistic theory.
Humanistic psychology acknowledges the fact that ethnicity is a reality that cannot be denied and its effects are massive on the people’s perspectives of others. Cordell (2009) noted that “ethnic conflict is a term loaded with often legitimate negative associations and entirely unnecessary confusions” (p. 4). However, these negative connotations can be replaced with more positive ones in that ethnicity is viewed as beauty in diversity. This approach triggers people to cultural openness and respect for other people’s cultures.
Negative ethnicity confines people to their ethnic thinking hence limiting their experience to only their culture. This lack of exposure limits their knowledge of the existence of other cultures. Thus, in such a situation, individual growth is slow and at times very narrow. Humanistic theory confronts this condition by discouraging negative ethnic practices and calling people to embrace the treasures found in other cultures which will increase their experience thus realizing their full potential (Adebowale, Alao, & Kobiowu, 2010).
Ethnocentrism encourages people to look at themselves as special than those of a different ethnicity a view that is greatly opposed by humanistic theory. The humanistic theory does not just focus on one particular ethnicity but the individual’s experiences and actions towards ultimate self-actualization (Brian, 2002). Therefore, people should not perceive other ethnicities as inferior but should approach them with openness to learn any value underline them.
The proponents of the humanistic theory hold that cultural diversity is not a justification for conflict but a chance to learn how to appreciate other people’s culture so that if all different cultural experiences are put together, one universally accepted culture is created. Therefore, different cultures bring about value.
Unconstructive ethnicity poses a great threat to humanistic theory and especially on the view that upholding human dignity is essential for individual development and growth. Therefore, negative ethnicity brings about the conflict which hinders interaction between people of different cultures due to already formed perspectives against other ethnicities. Humanistic theory cultivates respect for all despite the differences in individual cultural orientations.
For example, if people are working in a company where cultural differences are a reality, then respect among all workers is essential if they are to be productive. Ethnic differences can be a source of power in such a company because if people respect each other, it is most likely that they will open up to share their cultural values which might be of great use in the growth not only of the company but individuals as well.
Alao, K. A., Kobiowu, S. V., & Adebowale, O. F. (2010). Fundamentals of Educational and Counseling Psychology. West Sussex: Strategic Insight Publishing.
Brain, C. (2002). Advanced Psychology: Application, Issues and Perspectives. UK: Nelson Thornes.
Cordell, K. (2009). Ethnic conflicts: Causes, Consequences, and Responses. UK: Polity.
Liu, T. (2006). Tourism Management: New research (Eds.). NY: Nova Science Publisher, Inc.