On Racism, the Holocaust Museum Shooting, and the Other

alex01thumbI’ve been struggling all day to write this post, but I haven’t been able to find the proper words. I just don’t understand people and their fear of the Other, which, as a wise Muppet once noted, leads to anger, leads to hate, leads to suffering.

Anthropologically, it makes sense. We fear the Other because it is not like us – we recoil from things that are different. Doubtless it saved our collective human skins when we were growing our brains in the wilderness. “That thing doesn’t look like us, and it just ate Jack. Okay, everyone: Avoid that furry thing with the big teeth.” But not in today’s society. We’re supposed to be evolved, more sentient, ‘higher’ beings, and thus be able to ignore our crocodile brains, the ones that tell us, “Danger! Danger! This person is different – this person is enemy! Crush! Kill! Destroy!”

Apparently not. The fear and vitriolic hatred of the Other is alive and well in human society, and it’s even taken on new and exciting forms. Continue reading