They argue that it has many major flaws, but they acknowledge that parts of theory have some truth to it. Throughout this essay, cultural relativism will be questioned, but also supported in some ways. The idea of cultural relativism reminds me of a sociological term--ethnocentrism--that essentially means the opposite. Ethnocentrism is essentially a bias about your own culture against other cultures. One can only see their culture (usually as dominant to the others), rather than attempting to see the perspective of whatever culture is in question.
Yet, I did expect a basic manner that I would expect in fast food restaurants in Korea. In fact, back in Korea two years ago, I saw a Burger King worker getting fired for being rude to a customer. Back then it was a small ritual for my friend and I to go to Burger King after our Wednesday soccer practice. As a result, we knew almost every worker in that fast food restaurant. Most of them greeted us in a perfect manner, but one worker had a particular attitude issue.
To add with, cultural relativists also believe that there do not exists a universal evaluative grading standard to measure the value of culture due to the differences among them; therefore, no culture can be judged by the standard of other groups. Customs and behaviors of different societies are rational and reasonable in their own terms. All cultures should be viewed as equally able to fulfill the needs of their members. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2010, p. 876) According to cultural relativism, a custom or a thought within a certain society cannot be simply judged as right or wrong, superior or inferior. For instance, a great number of Inuit groups leave their aging parents who are too old to shoulder their share of the workload out
(cheadle, et al., 2005) Some might not agree with them, but yet they should respect others beliefs and way of thinking. An example of cultural relativism would be homosexual. For instance we know that homosexuality have gotten out of the shelves, for them it is right what they are doing, men and men as well as women and women. However, for others that is totally wrong, they dislike to see it, especially in their society. For some cultures it is sin, for others it just not right, yet they need to respect others belief and ideas.
Cultural bias highlights differences among viewpoints, persons and groups that preference one culture over all. We can describe cultural bias as discriminative because it introduces one group's accepted behavior as valued and distinguishable from another lesser valued societal group. Cultural bias was found to be the major determinant of where certain people live, what their opportunities in education and health care. Bias is a tendency to favor of one person, group, a thing or point of view over another, often, in an unfair way. Bias can be a personal opinion or a more public opinion, such as a news story, that only presents facts that support one point of view.
Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism are opposite viewpoints of one subject, culture. When a culture tries to evaluate another culture based on a singular viewpoint it is known as ethnocentrism. But cultures can be evaluated using individual standards since there is not one set of standards that culture fits into. I realize that most people agree with the concept of cultural relativism but there are some problems. According to an article by Henry H. Bagish entitled Confessions of a Former Cultural Relativist, states that cultural relativism can cause people to justify immoral and unjustifiable actions.
When looking at other cultures and trying to decipher what they are all about, it is important we take into consideration the fact that just because a culture may be different from our own, does not necessarily mean it is inferior or dysfunctional. Throughout each of the pasos in this investigation we looked at how cultural insensitivity could offend people, create stereotypes resulting in blatantly false images of other people and cultures, the affect expansion has had on other people in different cultures in the past, and what it means to either assimilate, melt together, or become a mosaic of diversity. Every culture has its own set of rules and guidelines, it’s the matter of whether or not people respect and try to understand cultural
The theory of cultural relativism is criticized and questioned by many; it is considered as one of the weakest arguments pertaining to human rights. This is because it is established that human rights are needed not for life but for a life of dignity. Furthermore, human rights should be universal, fundamental, and inalienable, and thus they cannot and should not be overridden by cultural relativism. Arguments presented by cultural relativism against human rights tend to be contradictory in nature. This is attributed to the fact that cultures first and foremost need human rights to even exist.
Cultural Appropriation allows for the robberies of cultures. It has nothing to do with one’s exposure or familiarity of different cultures. Instead it encourages the dominant culture to borrow and exploit elements from the culture of the minority groups, with no understanding of the cultural meanings, traditions and history of these other characteristics and products. Therefore, it can lead to the creation of false and negative stereotypes over certain ethnic groups, as well as, highlight society’s power imbalance, which has been created through Karl Marx’s ideas of separating the ruling class from the less privileged classes. Cultural appropriation is the biggest instigator of stereotypes and oppression in todays society.
Cultural relativism as a justification for harmful practices is no longer valid when individuals unwillingly and involuntarily suffer loss of “life, liberty and security” (Article 3, UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights) as a result of conforming to harmful traditions. Furthermore, cultural relativism is often used as justification for crimes against humanity by the modern state. The universality of individual human rights thus serves as a check on the potential excesses and abuse of cultural relativism (Donnelly, 1984, p.