I have often wondered why and what makes people afraid of others who are not like them. It is almost universal in nature that people are afraid of the unknown and fear others who are not like them. The African Americans were particularly singled out by the white people whom they loathed and were mortally afraid of but they were by no means the only people the whites were afraid of.
They also were afraid of the “yellow horde “ of Chinese and other Asians invading their country of America who were alien to them in their customs, their behavior, their clothes, their food and eating habits and their strange languages but to top it off their strange religions or lack of Christian beliefs that rattled the whites the most.
They strongly believed in their racial superiority to others, their self righteous beliefs in their Christian religion and their innate fear of “heathens “who were not Christians therefore candidates for the hell fire and brimstone.
But being Christians was not enough to escape their hatred and fear based racial prejudices because most of the African American slaves were baptized and practiced their religion albeit with their African flair like mixing voodoo with the Christian faith. The whites did not understand the black Christians and routinely burned out their churches and persecuted them using a burning cross as a symbol of their hatred.
Let us therefore try to understand why there was this fear that still persists today and what we as a civilized society of this century can do to overcome it to make the people more tolerant towards each other and reduce the unwarranted animosity that fuels hatred and prejudice against all people of different races.
If we study the evolution of the human race that the scientists believe started when homo sapiens stood up on two legs in the Rift Valley of Africa millions of years ago and took the first step towards evolving into what we are today, we come to the conclusion that it was a very long process to evolve from the primitive man to the modern age but we learned many things as we evolved. We learned to make tools that were necessary to hunt and gather food, we learned to make clothes from animal hides at first and graduated to fancy silk and cotton later, we learned to cook food and make fire to cook food with, we learned to make primitive shelters at first but later graduated to fancy skyscrapers of this day and age.
In the process of evolution we as humans learned many things and shed many early practices like wearing clothes made of animal hides and eating raw meat and living in caves although some people in the rain forests of Amazon or in Nicobar Isles still prefer the old ways and wander around naked. Their numbers are dwindling because of the onslaught of the pressing humanity all around them so they too will succumb to this pressure eventually and make some missionaries happy.
But man has always been afraid of what he did not understand. He was afraid of the tremendous power of nature that caused thunder and lightning and burned down vast swaths of forest where people lived. He was afraid of the ground trembling due to earth quakes and did not understand why it was happening. He was afraid of the sudden tsunami that came and swept away everything. He wondered looking up and seeing the zillions of stars that twinkled and wondered why there were comets that perhaps bode ill.
This fear gave rise to the religion and a belief in the supernatural being up there in heaven even among the first humans and was passed on to the next generation albeit with some modifications and additions that later morphed into what we know today as the religious beliefs of the humankind.
It was easy for the primitive man to attribute to a supernatural being called God anything they could not understand and said that the thunder was nothing but the rumblings of an angry God that must be propitiated somehow.
He found many excuses to propitiate a vengeful God and sacrificed chickens and even humans like the Aztecs and Mayas who made it a part of their ritual that perhaps the later day padres of inquisition took their cue from.
So as the human race starting out from the Rift Valley so long ago spread out to various parts of the world for whatever reasons , they evolved into various races that we know today that are differentiated by skin color, hair and other features.
As people lived in different parts of the world, there came an isolation between them leaving them to develop into their unique identity as we know now and developed their own languages and customs, their rituals and even various versions of the same religion of Christianity or Islam causing a rift among them for the first time in a massive scale. This led to persecution based on their beliefs that continues even today.
I had written in my earlier blogs that fear usually leads to apprehension and a misunderstanding of other people who are not like them which in turn leads to prejudice and hate. I think the whole concept of racial superiority as claimed by the whites is a product of fear based prejudices that were perpetuated and made into laws by their predecessors and passed on to the next generation as the gospel truth. The apartheid in South Africa was based on the fear of blacks and colored people so the Dutch settlers made laws to protect their advantages and denigrated the natives. The missionaries were their tools when threat did not work. They always accompanied the rabble army everywhere where threat did work to pave way for the emancipation of the heathen souls.
People say that the religious persecution has caused more grief in the world since Jesus, Buddha and Mohamed walked the earth than any natural calamity and there is no sign that it has abated. Just look at the ISIS and the mayhem they are causing in the name of Mohamed but this has been going on since man invented religion out of fear. The hell fire and brimstone for the heathens and 75 virgin houris for the suicide bombers in heaven is just some of the attractions of the religion that pits man against man and creates divisions, hatred, prejudice and a feeling of self righteous superiority complex among people based on ignorance and lack of understanding of others who are not like them.
I hear the melting pot theory all the time from the Americans but America is still struggling with race issues today that the politicians are using as an excuse to get votes. The uneducated whites or ones with low education are furious that they are still poor and can’t get good jobs and decent pay to raise their families properly so they blame it on blacks, Asians, Latinos and others who take their jobs and get better education. They resent that these “inferior “ people get better jobs , live in better homes and enjoy a better quality of life than them and even get welfare checks when not working. They wrongly believe that these” inferior” people are voting in large numbers to make a black person like Obama the president of the country ignoring the fact the Obama was also widely supported by the whites albeit educated ones.
So America has never been a melting pot and is not about to become one in the near future. You only have to ask a Filipino living in one of the segregated Filipino communities anywhere just how many whites and others they know and invite to their homes and their answer will be none or very few. They are mortally afraid of whites whom they call Puti . Probably they had bad experience in the hands of a white policeman who gave them hefty fines for some violations but they in general are afraid of “puti”. This fear comes from not speaking good English and not knowing any white and their culture. The Chinese and Koreans or Indians do not fare any better but they try to get along as best as they can with their neighbors who may be white and mistrustful of them.
So people from Asia live in segregated communities and seek their own kind for various reasons. The Latinos do the same although there is some social mixing of races where the education level is high which translates to higher paying jobs and better living standards. Still the melting pot theory does not hold water yet.
It will take a lot of understanding between races to remove the prejudice and fear to bring people closer together. When fear is irrational, it continues no matter what and breeds more fear and prejudice in the next generation. Why do you think people today behave the way they do by shouting insults at non whites, attacking them in public places, writing hate graffiti on their walls, slashing tires of expensive cars owned by the blacks or Asians? They do not know anything about the civil war and how the slaves were beaten and persecuted but they continue the trend just because their parents did the same and their grandparents and great grandparents probably worse.
The fear factor is paramount that guides their actions. All it needs is a foul mouth politician who stokes the fire of fear to gain votes and become the president. Now he has the power to do anything he wants like building the wall to keep out all those wetbacks who are rapists and murderers and who are coming illegally, who do not pay taxes and who will be deported.
The white voters of the American heartland have always voted for the candidates who promise them jobs, higher pay, fewer taxes, more federal aid, removing all the non whites who are taking over the country and daring to date their daughters. They elect people who will do their bidding in Washington so these congressmen and senators enact laws to make it harder for the Asians and other immigrants to enter the United States, get jobs and become citizens.
They did this to keep out the Chinese and the Filipinos in the 1950s or even earlier. The made laws that said that these people are ineligible to become citizens because of their race. It just goes to show that the white fearful voters can still exert pressure on their elected congressmen and senators to make such racially biased laws. Now they have a president who they hope will do their bidding.
Now various hate groups are sprouting like mushrooms in Europe as well as a reaction to the flood of refugees and hate crimes are on the rise there. It does not help if some moron Islamic jihadist kills a few people in Paris or Munich. Germany wants now to deport 100000 Moslem refugees whom they perceive as threat to their identity.
The haters then take it as a cue to come out in large numbers and shout Heil Hitler and wear Swastika bands just like in the US where the KKK people are openly active again . Some politicians see this hate as a means to channel the energy of the unwashed into votes for them so they promise tougher immigration laws, mass deportation and severe vetting if they are elected.
These are all reactions due to fear of the strangers and their religion that incites jihad and suicide bombing. No one wants to live in fear. But fear is a very powerful motive for people to act the way they do so until that fear is gone, people will reject assimilation, reject love of neighbors who are not like them and keep on hating.
So if you are white and live in the American heartland and are afraid of African Americans, Mexicans, Asians and others and believe that they are not good people, I urge you to get to know some of them. You will be surprised how nice they are and how friendly they can be given half a chance. Are you willing to give them half a chance? America will be a great country if you take that simple step forward. Just remember that knowledge with understanding is a powerful tool to fight hate and prejudice.