Examples of racial and religious prejudice have existed since the beginning of recorded history.
Often the holy texts of any given culture denounced and advocated the enslavement or eradication of another culture in a landscape not unlike modern marketing. While the seemingly sudden rise of media interest in any given extremist group’s activities or behaviors might very well be captivating and infuriating we do well to remember the whole truth.
Every group has extremists.
There has yet to come of age a single culture that doesn’t have some kind of xenophobia. The reason for it is rooted in the survival mindedness of all people. An unconscious system exists by which we evaluate the safety of what we are experiencing. At a very early age we start categorizing what we can believe about any given group of people or places, even objects.
We learn by the time we are 5 that hot can mean the stove, or the cup, or the food. We might also quickly learn that a stranger can mean a wide variety of things. We tend to reinforce our beliefs about our own cultures as though they are somewhat preferable to the cultures of others because we want to be proud of who we are, and who we know.
In a strange way we can’t help it. Finding reasons to prefer our own culture almost demands that we find fault in other cultures, or races, or religions. We have selective reasoning that is so decisively quick that we can list the attributes we believe about those other cultures (etc) even when we literally know nothing about them.
Natural prejudice is a bad way to sort data, it leads to false conclusions.
A great example might be people who prefer dogs versus people who prefer cats. There are as many problems with having a strong preference either way but it’s natural. It’s normal to find more and more problems to support our beliefs about such things.
If you are very fortunate you meet a very charming animal against which you held this prejudice and your belief simply vanishes. Or you might just make some exception for one to reinforce your belief about the rest.
Only when you realize that it was your own foolish reinforcement of a given belief do you recognize that really cats and dogs are just cats and dogs. The rest is your own data biasing behavior.
Among the religions of the world there is thinking still present from thousands of years ago, thinking that is somehow made more tangible by a sense of tradition, antiquity, novelty. And in many cases there is a belief within people that to be adequate for the approval of their creator they must somehow be an adherent to old bad advice.
Yes I’m saying that most religions offer, “bad data sorting and prejudiced marketing.”
When we are evaluating what we are shown about people, pay close attention to whether there are justifications being offered to believe a thing. Often we forget that what we intend to justify is already wrong. You don’t hear people trying to justify being considerate, unless it is to someone who no longer deserves it. You don’t hear people trying to justify being honest, unless they use that honesty to hurt people.
Good actions require no justification.
As for people believing terrible things to justify horrendous actions… Some method of incorporating them into society must be found that doesn’t endanger anyone.
Because barring them from society is segregation, and allowing them to do as they please is irresponsible. What do we do to correct such behaviors?
Well no matter what we do, we need to do it ourselves, and we need to do it soon.
No matter what race, creed, or religion you are, defeat prejudice in your homes and in your families. Stand up in your churches, synogogues, temples, and mosques and decry any prejudice.
If what you hear is justification for prejudice then go find another place of worship. Your beliefs can be good enough to not require justifications of bad advice.
Likewise if you are not religious, bear such thinking to it’s conclusions. Lest we all leave room for the next extremists in our midsts. At my age I could never adopt a belief system that didn’t incorporate the understanding that “being nice to people until they left you no choice but to be otherwise” was probably good.
Anything else is just uncivilized.