Racism in this world may have its roots in the most basic parts of our human nature. To some extent all species prefer their own kind. It is totally understandable that humans in primitive societies would naturally prefer their own tribe/group and their perception of the universe would be based upon the bias of their tribe. Observing nature we see that animals use a system of what we might call stereo typing to distinguish between safe or dangerous species, a lamb encountering a predatory lion will stereo type the lion as unsafe. This is a basic system of survival for groups to identify each other. So our aptitude to stereo type by race, tribe, clan or culture may be deeply imbedded within our DNA. This basic understanding of human nature is an important starting point, or premise for me if I want to understand the issues of real racism.
If we accept this premise about human nature then maybe we should look closer at what we call racism for a more clear definition. If it is natural to see the world and other people from the bias of my own group what is racism? Racism is distortion of the universal natural preference for one’s group, making one’s own group superior to other groups, to oppress or cause them harm by any means. This definition is broad enough to encompass all groups, majority or minority, who use their bias to harm or oppress others.
However, some people may use the premise above as a reason to justify racism, saying that survival of the fittest is the normal course of nature. This leads us to consider a serious difference between animals and human animals. Humans have a dilemma because we have to make choices that other animals may not be required to make. Regardless of your stance on evolution or creation humans are held to a higher standard of conduct. A social evolutionist may conclude that mankind has learned that for true survival our species needs to learn cooperation and the creationist may conclude that the creator of all humans expects cooperation between the human groups; anti-racism. Choice is another essential aspect of human nature as we consider the problem of racism.
My theory for overcoming racism is not based on denying the differences between the human groups, but we overcome racism by a choice to respect. Denial of differences may actually be way of forcing assimilation into a dominant group. Acknowledging our differences does give us the difficult task of not considering one group superior, which in our human history has been a problem. Acknowledging our differences also means that we realize that stereo types in humans are never 100% true. Stereo types are built on partial truths and exaggerated. So as humans we have the choice to look beyond a stereo type and risk getting to know and trust the individuals. As humans we may prefer the friendship our group, seek the wellbeing of our group, see life from the perspective of our group, but never at the cost of oppressing or harming another group. This is the responsibility that our common Creator gives us. Or if you prefer to ignore our Creator, it is still the only viable path for the survival of our species.
Common Ground 2012
Some people are misunderstanding me. I do not support racism. I am careful to define racism as a negative distortion or perversion of what I think is a natural preference for our own group; social or ethnic group.