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Eurocentrism

What is proper to a culture is to not be identical to itself. Not to not have an identity, but not
to be able to identify itself, to be able to say me or we. (Jacques Derrida)
It is strange that today we can speak of Eurocentrism and European culture since less than
70 years ago the European societies were in war with one another. hey were neigh!ours
and li"ed in continuous conflict which was the cause of the two #orld #ars.
oday most of the peoples in Europe li"e in peace and ha"e founded a union$ the European
%nion. he goal of this union is to esta!lish a common market with a single currency
(Euro)$ and the possi!ility of the free mo"ement of people$ goods and ser"ices among the
E%&s states.
'ut what makes a person Eurocentric( )iewing the world from a European point of "iew(
'ut what is a European point of "iew( 'eing white$ *hristian and European makes people
superior to the rest of the world. hese are hard words !ut this is they Eurocentric people&s
way of thinking.
+or me !eing ,ungarian means much more than !eing European. I do not share my
language$ culture$ traditions and religion with the other people li"ing in Europe. #e li"e in
the same continent !ut apart from economy we ha"e do not ha"e much in common.
I can imagine Europe as a huge country that has many minorities and no ma-ority. It is a
multicultural .society& which is not identical to itself as Derrida said. here are so many
peoples li"ing in Europe / 0ermans$ 1omanians$ English people$ 2paniards$ 2er!ians and
so on / and they share different languages$ cultures$ religions$ traditions. It is difficult to
talk a!out European culture. here is +rench culture$ English culture$ 3olish culture$ !ut for
me European culture is the totality of different nations& cultures.
'ut why Eurocentric people think that Europe is the most important part of the world( It is
true that European people were always considered as ci"ili4ed$ cle"er and gifted.
+urthermore$ the European culture is "ery "aried$ rich$ "alua!le and famous. 5any people
identify Europe with solidarity$ peace$ freedom$ tolerance and democracy. his is true !ut I
do not think that !eing Europeans we are superior to any other nations.
6n the other hand there is also difference !etween #estern Europeans and Eastern
Europeans. 2ome #estern European people know "ery little a!out the way we li"e. I ha"e
e7perienced such a mentality when a #estern European asked me if here in 1omania people
had tap8water and la"atory in their house. 2ome of them -ust could not !elie"e that we are
as ci"ili4ed as they are and we do not li"e like people in some places in 9frica or 9sia.
5any Eurocentric thinkers tend to ignore$ under"alue$ or condemn non8European societies
and Eastern European societies as well$ howe"er today&s world power is not in Europe$ !ut
in 9merica and other non8European societies are more powerful from an economic point of
"iew than any European state$ for e7ample *hina and Japan.
here is hypocrisy e"erywhere. E"eryone is speaking a!out equality !etween races$ nations$
cultures and languages. :o one is superior !ecause we were !orn equals. 9ll the same$ for a
Eurocentric person in order to !ecome superior to other people -ust must !e white$ *hristian
and European. 2o much for equality and tolerance.
3eople should not gi"e up struggling against racism$ imperialism$ and the European
.cultural arrogance&. Just !ecause someone was !orn in Europe does not mean the he or she
is superior to others. :o one should !e respected -ust !ecause he;she was !orn European$
9merican$ 9sian etc. 1espect is something that people must deser"e.
It would !e "ery important to deconstruct Eurocentrism. In the world of multiculturalism
and tolerance there is no place for such way of thinking. 3eople should take ad"antage of
multiculturalism. #e could learn a lot from other people and make our planet a !etter place
to lea"e. 3eople are selfish and ego8centric that is why there are still wars and conflicts in
many places of the world.
:ot only the Europeans can critici4e the non8European societies !ut the European society
can !e critici4ed as well. Europe&s history can !e seen as contro"ersial since a there were
"ery many wars and conflicts !etween different European nations.
9s a conclusion I can say that Eurocentrism is not a good thing$ I am definitely against it. I
can agree with Jacques Derrida&s statement that .What is proper to a culture is to not be
identical to itself. Not to not have an identity, but not to be able to identify itself, to be able
to say me or we. his is especially true for Europe. he European culture is so "aried
that it is impossi!le to say .me& or .we&. 9nd I do not think that planning Europe&s
unification is a good idea. Europe&s culture is "alua!le in this form$ in its di"ersity.