Unethical Self-Focused Discrimination, No. 68
People have done horrendous acts to each other according to a hierarchy based on culture, religion and skin colour. The shame of this is measured in the archives, but so much of it is hidden and the rest will never be known. Massacrers, slavery, torture, rape, hangings and mutilations present a sad picture of civilisation. Humanity will never fully flourish while thoughts of superiority simmer in stubborn minds. Cultures have always valued kings, queens, leaders and warriors; that system of noble to pauper is imbedded in collective story telling. Ethical leadership is needed, but corruption and discrimination shows a systemic weakness within. Favouring one people above all others has never ended well. Making fun of people because they look different or don’t hold the same beliefs as you is no reason to project personal hatred. Minorities groups are quickly branded in derogatory terms because they search for more – an improvement in circumstances.
The foundation of modern racism stems from an essay by an American natural scientist that categorised humans into five groups a few decades before the American civil war. The division held racial and religious tones putting white people (Caucasians) at the top of the list, followed East Asians (Mongolian), Southeast Asians, Native Americans and black people (Ethiopians) last. Though completely false and prejudiced, this paper was used to justify the continuation of slavery. This unethical self-focused discrimination was used to keep southern states in free labour. The North found a different view on the value of individual human lives and called for an end to slavery. This superiority myth is perpetuated to control populations. Few countries can say they have a history free of slaves, the written record dates back to 3500 BCE.
Xenophobia surged in times of exploration, missionary exploits and early trade. Tumultuous conflicts developed when these travellers dealt with the culture shock of different nations. In these situations explorers had the opportunity to learn from these meetings, unfortunately domination and exploitation was often the motive. Arrogance flares when rulers decide to take advantage of other nations because they feel superior. The darker side of religion or cultural norms is that it teaches a superiority that lessens those not inducted. All nations created their home grown cultures and beliefs, but many adjust to fit with social morality. Purist groups that do not alter with modern times create a blight of separation and secrecy that trigger conflict. It is not just a question of black and white; many nations treat others people as lesser beings.
Judgement on skin colour is out of place in a rapidly changing world. Those that perpetuate thoughts of diminishing others because of their differences need help to explore these falsehoods. In order to grow we have to look at what is taught, what is passed down and what is believed without any research. When bigoted factions rise through ignorance; racial discrimination still breathes. It will take a united conversation to stamp it out. Calling out racial slurs and violent acts towards individuals in your own community is a starting point. Wars tell us to hate whole groups of people. Hatful conflict perpetuates revenge. Where does it stop, how many have to die before the mirror is turned? Can we stop the pecking order in workplaces, clubs, schools and families? Can we begin to heal? Choosing equality gives everyone hope. See the person first.
Sharon D Bush
Writer Historian Artisan Sage