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loonyguitarist (1)
Saturday, August 21, 2010

Out Groups

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We all remember as children when some kid (hopefully not ourselves) was just a worthless, waste of space, butt of every joke, trash, etc.

Most of us have probably been that kid.

That behavior, whatever its origins, is expressed in adults, too. I think it would be safe to say that in certain areas Latinos, especially Mexicans, are seen as 'job-stealing', 'uneducated', 'immigration law-breaking' criminals, regardless of their immigration status and/or actual citizenship.

Muslims in many places, not just Manhattan, are seen as a 'terrorist' culture that, it seems, meet in the dark - I suppose in Mosques, right? - to conspire their "jihad" against the US and kill all Americans. They are 'devils', 'Satan worshippers', and so on.

What's scary is those sorts of ideas are commonplace in mass media. "Respectable" members of the broader culture - those who get a lot of attention - repeat and reinforce such beliefs with little or no veneer of "political correctness."

Instances of blatant racism are not difficult to find on Conservative radio and Fox News.

Moments of questionable speech - easily arguable as Hate Speech - are almost constantly propagated as 'Conservative Values', 'Patriotism', or 'Christianity.'

Doing so is not only disrespectful to actual Conservative beliefs and values, un-American, but also directly opposed to the actual teachings of Jesus Christ.

What's more, homosexuals, 'gays', or whatever you want to call these human beings, are seen as a 'threat' to 'family values' and again "Christian" beliefs.

In all these examples there is a clear distinction of "Us," being the flag-waving, God-fearing "true Conservatives" of Jesus Christ's Promised Land of the U-nited States, and "Them" - which is a loosely cast net intended, and very effective at, capturing just about everyone else.

Are you a Catholic priest who feels that gay Catholics have a right to take communion at Mass?

YER' A TERRORIST!!!

This nonsense is nothing more than simple "Out Group" behavior in Western culture, a grown-up, suit-and-tie wearing version of the same bullying and collective abuse of human beings with differences that we all experienced and likely participated in as children.

The difference is that some of us grew out of it. I know that my participation in the abuse of some of my classmates was stupid, weak, and cruel, and I regret every second of it. I also fell victim to it. In it's grown up form there is a fine line between picketing that 'evil Mosque' being built wherever - screw Ground Zero - and building Concentration Camps to wipe them all out.

Very fine line.

The similarities between ourselves and the Nazis of the 1930s are horrifying: banks failed, unemployment through the roof, houses foreclosed on... sound familiar?

If we're not careful we could easily fall into the same pattern and become an abomination.
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