Mindless Primal Prejudice

 

Every living thing is inherently racist and chauvinistic. “Birds of a feather…” and all that. Most things in nature concern themselves almost entirely with the success of their own kind, totally disregarding the welfare of any others, unless the others have a direct benefit to their own survival. Solitary forms of life concern themselves with the welfare of themselves only. This ensures the best possibility of propagating their own genes, which seems to be what all living things are primarily about. Those who live in groups, tend to consider themselves first, but their group comes in a close second. That way, still thinking of their own welfare, if their group succeeds, chances are that each member of the group will also, plus each member has the support of the whole group.

Of course, the term, “all living things” includes plants as well as animals. Most plant life tends to spread out and take over the surrounding areas as much as they are able. Survival of the strongest in this case. Dandelions and plantain will take over a lawn in quick order, for instance, unless humans intervene with extreme prejudice. Forests begin with a few windblown or animal distributed seeds. Coniferous trees exude acids, so their dropped needles and detritus acidify the earth around them and other types of plant life can’t take hold to choke them out.

Now back to the human element. Why should we be so benevolent when nothing else is? Well, we’re not! We’re still tribal people with the cave-man mentality, although we do have better tools. We act chauvinistically toward our family first, then our neighbourhood, town and so on until we reach all of humanity. If Mars were to attack us, the whole human race would be a brotherhood regardless of colour race, creed or geography.

Our first reaction to “other” is almost always negative, and is a result of fear of the unknown. When we get to know “other”, the fear fades and “other” becomes “one of us”. You’ll find this in all ages and all groups. (Incidentally, there is no such thing as reverse racism. Racism is racism, plain and simple.)

How do we raise ourselves above such base behaviours? It’s quite simple really. Just reserve judgement. Don’t assume what each person’s character is based on the group of derivation. Hint: all Americans aren’t noisy and abrasive; all Canadians aren’t polite; all First Nations people don’t have abandoned cars in their front yard and all Orientals aren’t really good at math. Make your evaluations based on personal knowledge and not on hearsay. That’s how you deal with your inherent bigotry in a civilized and socially evolved manner. It’s not so hard.

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