Aspectsof Social Interaction
Makarova(2014) states that for people to successfully interact, they need togain knowledge and understanding about each other. Cultural awarenessand tolerance allow people to understand the differences between eachother and to determine how to adapt to each other’s practices.Ethnocentrism refers to developing an analysis of the world by usingone’s perspective. Such judgments are based on a person’s cultureand what they have been taught to accept as right, wrong orreasonable. As such, people find themselves developing a view of thecultural practices of others that is in most instances wrong. Thesewrong conclusions are what lead to the development of stereotypes andprejudice (Bizumic and Duckitt, 2012).
Further,ethnocentrism gives an individual the perception that their cultureis better than that of others wholly or partially. The movie that Ihave chosen for this essay is Nairobi Half Life. Nairobi Half Life(2012) is a film directed by David Gitonga that focuses on the lifeof the main character Mwas (Josh Wairimu) who hustles his way out ofpoverty in the village before heading to Kenya’s capital, Nairobiin search of a better life. The movie focuses on the difficultiesthat Mwas faces as he tries to achieve his ultimate dream of being anactor (Nairobi Half Life). His experiences take the viewer through ajourney of what life in the village and in the city of Nairobi feelslike.
Inone the early scenes in Nairobi Half Life, Mwas’s mother cautionshim against going to the city. His uncle says the same thing. Theylive a simple life in the village, in a small wooden house (NairobiHalf Life). Mwas’s mother has become used to the simple villagelife to the point that she has an unfavorable view of change andmodernity. In my opinion, such a life is short of many amenities thatI have gotten used to such as electricity and water in a tap, yetMwas’s mother appears content. Looking at her situation from myperspective makes me unable to understand her preference.
Ialso think that Mwas’s life in the village has made him ignorantand naïve. When Mwas intends to join the Vultures theater, he isextorted by a person who claims to be an agent. Mwas has no idea whoor what an agent is or how to join a theater. As a result of hisgullibility, he pays the conman. Similarly, when in Nairobi, Mwas’svillage naivety fails him because he ends up joining a gang whilethinking that the guys in the group had his best interest at heart(Nairobi Half Life). My ethnocentric view shows me that Mwas isignorant and naïve, but a holistic perspective shows me that hisbackground made him who he was. In the village, people lived as acommunity, and they watched over each other. However, in the city,people looked out for their interests.
Furthermore,in the movie, crime and corruption seem to be the quickest way ofmaking it in life, in Kenya. Before Mwas left for the city, he wastaunted by his peers and his cousin for selling cheap DVDs, yet hecould be making a lot of money in crime. Also, in the first play,while Mwas was still in the village, the actors depicted a corruptpolitician who had become wealthy because of corruption. Corruptionis also seen when Mwas bribes an artist to allow him to join atheater (Nairobi Half Life). Thus, it seems corruption is a shortcutto success within that society. However, because of ethnocentricism,it is easy to forget that in my community, the same happens eventhough the circumstances vary.
NairobiHalf Life provides the viewer with a glimpse of two aspects of Kenyanlife namely the village life and the city life. Mwas’s experiencestake the audience on a journey of various cultural settings andsituations within Kenyan society. An ethnocentric approach limits myperspective and prevents me from developing a deeper understanding ofwhy people are the way they are.
Bizumic,Boris and John Duckitt. "What Is And Is Not Ethnocentrism? AConceptual Analysis And Political Implications". PoliticalPsychology33.6 (2012): 887-909. Print.
Makarova,E. A., & Makarova, E. L. (January 01, 2014). Culturally-Based andCulturally-Biased Aspects of Knowing the Other. UniversalJournal of Educational Research, 2, 2,181-187. Retrieved 13 December 2016, fromhttp://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1053921.pdf
NairobiHalf Life.Kenya: David Gitonga, 2012. DVD.