Is there any credible model on earth of a non-racist society, institution, culture, etc.? Or all we all (i.e., those who are working to become non-racist) struggling to create something new, something never before seen?
It seems to me that the "other-phobia" which underlies racism (as well as other oppressions) comes from the knowledge of difference; it is the fear of not having enough to survive if "others" take it from us, the fear of "others'" different appearance? The will to survive keeps us alive and keeps us alert to threat of deprivation and extinction. It also puts us on the defensive and offensive, to protect our lives, our families, our possessions. This appears to be an inborn human trait, regardless of culture or other marker. But this drive to survive does create fear in us, fear which often goes to the extreme of oppression, not acceptance.
How do we survive adequately without taking from others or fearing others to the point where we mistreat them? And if this is an inborn human trait, is it reasonable to approach it from a different direction, rather than from the accusatory model?
A commenter on an earlier post challenged my use of the word "homophobia" as a word of prejudice toward those with different values. But if you break down the word into its parts (correct me if I'm wrong, LinguistFriend), it is a combination of "homo", meaning same or like, and "phobia", meaning unrealistic fear. It was coined as a word to mean antipathy toward homosexuals. Much fear and contempt toward homosexuals arises from the ancient Jewish purity laws, which were enacted, according to my seminary professors, to preserve the cultural purity and religious distinction of the Hebrew people from the polytheistic non-Hebrews in whose lands they lived.
This coincides with my thoughts about fear being an outgrowth of the drive to survive. Fear was used in the purity laws, as well as I can tell, to enforce the separation of the Hebrew people from the non-Hebrews around them. The fact that modern day religious doctrines use these ancient laws to justify antipathy toward homosexuals takes it out of the realm of reasonable fear and into the realm of unrealistic fear.
I don't want to veer off into a discussion of purity laws and homosexuality. My point is that our human drive to survive has fostered fear of The Other. And we struggle to keep our fear realistic, needing to protect our lives and our safety but not at the expense of mistreating others. How do we do this? Is there some illustration out there somewhere that we can look to for a model or are we all trying to do this without any outside help and managing to step on each other's toes every step of the way?