Home > culture, ministry, missions > Ethnocentric thinking about Haiti

Ethnocentric thinking about Haiti


In an article, Theyr’e Not Us, Roberto Carlo expands our understanding about the disastrous attempt of well-meaning Christians who tried to rescue 100 Haitain orphans and bring them back to America.  Sigh!!!  He goes on to describe other ill-fated attempts of missionaries to help.  His conclusion for success in mission endeavors: “That requires doing something that most Americans are terrible at: seeing ourselves and our history as the rest of the world sees it, never mind taking it seriously.”

What Carlo describes in this article is ethnocentric thinking–an assumption that our way is better, resulting in a lack of respect for people in their own context and an inability to see how God is already at work.  I understand that people “just want do do something to help” but in too many cases, that help makes things worse in the long run.

Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe that one’s ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one’s own.

Ethnocentric: characterized by or based on the attitude that one’s own group is superior.

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