Arguments, at times, can be wrapped in ethnocentrism and stereotypes, particularly arguments that generalize.  Stereotyping is the assumption that all members of a group share the same set of characteristics.  Holding the belief that one’s own nationality, religion, or cultural traditions and customs are superior to others is ethnocentrism.  Being able to recognize stereotypes and ethnocentrism will allow you to better evaluate the information presented.

When evaluating arguments, remember the following:

  • We all have unconscious biases. Stay humble and recognize personal fallibilities.
  • Spending time thinking about our own unconscious biases helps us better control them when they intrude into our thoughts or decisions.
  • We all have a tendency towards groupthink. A certain amount of what we believe is based on what others say and not on what we have personally witnessed.  Increasing contact with those who are different from us both ethnically and socially improves our ability to recognize groupthink.
  • We can always improve our critical thinking skills.