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Featured Religion, Racial Harmony and Racism

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Over the twentieth century humanity increasingly moved towards greater levels of international cooperation. Associated with this change was the need for the diverse peoples of the world to work together towards common goals. There were several outstanding examples where humanity was reaching for real, lasting peace, although always falling short.

    First was the establishment of the League of Nations, an organization intended by its founders to secure peace at an international level. It was the means by which, for the first time in history, a system of collective security was seriously envisaged, discussed and enacted. Ultimately the peace agreement that concluded the first war world war was fatally flawed, and the League was not able to prevent the second World War,

    WWII has been judged by many historians to be the deadliest conflict in human history. After this period of unprecedented horrors finally concluded, the United Nations Organization was formed along with a system of international economic institutions being established. Historic advances were made relating to human rights and international law. Many territories under colonial rule became independent nations, and arrangements for regional cooperation proliferated greatly.

    The post-war decades, however, were characterized by an atmosphere of simmering tensions and often open hostility between the world’s two major power blocs. Known familiarly as the Cold War, it spilled over into actual wars in various regions of the world, and brought humanity perilously close to a conflict involving nuclear weapons. Its peaceful termination, towards the end of the twentieth century, was an occasion for relief, giving rise to explicit calls for the establishment of a new global order. Efforts to put in place new systems for international cooperation and to strengthen existing ones received great impetus, as a series of world conferences on themes of importance to humanity’s future were convened by the United Nations. New opportunities for consensus emerged, and the spirit of collaboration propelling progress found expression in certain international institutions charged with administering justice.

    These various advances, despite their many limitations and imperfections and the horrifying conflicts that continued to unfold during this time, stood as signs of a widespread rise in global consciousness on the part of the earth’s peoples and their embracing universal justice, solidarity, collaboration, compassion, and equality.

    Amidst the tumult of the twentieth century and the profound and far reaching changes, there have been formidable barriers to progress. Chief amongst them as racism and nationalism. Both appear to be on the rise again as the forces which would divide humanity rather than unite gain ascendancy.

    It is racism I wish to address in this thread. To what extent has racism become a barrier towards lasting peace between people? If you feel racism remains a significant issue, to what extent has your religion or worldview brought peoples of all races together as brothers and sisters? Are you able to acknowledge times where you world view has fallen far from these ideals and instead fuelled division and promoted racism?

    (Acknowledgement - Some of my text has been adapted from a letter from the head of my faith, the Universal House of Justice - 18 January 2019 – To the Bahá’ís of the World | Bahá’í Reference Library)
     
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  2. AT-AT

    AT-AT Well-Known Member

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    I finally figured out what direction I should go, when I studied the revelations of the Baha'i faith
    Racism is a real issue. However, blacks are no longer the biggest and most discriminated against minority. They still don't get equal treatment, but LGBTQ+'s are the minority.
     
  3. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Adrian, I think human behavior satisfies unconscious needs. The behavior we call 'drinking' satisfies our unconscious need for water, for example.

    I think the behavior we call 'racism' satisfies the unconscious need to feel superior to others (arrogance, narcissism, vanity, superiority complex). Nationalism, religious intolerance and tribalism also satisfy that need.

    You are probably wrong that racism is on the rise. It may seem so because the media focuses on bad news. But we humans are making moral progress overall and it's unlikely that racism is an exception.
     
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  4. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I agree discrimination based on sexual orientation is a significant issue but its not the specific topic I'm focusing on for the purposes of this thread.
     
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  5. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I agree humans have made incredible progress in regards racism. However, talk to anyone who is an ethnic minority and it will be clear there is much progress yet to be made.

    I don't know what part of the world you live in. I live in a country in the South Pacific called New Zealand. When a white supremacist shot dead 51 Muslims gathered peacefully for worship in their Mosques a few months back, it was clear racism remains a significant issue. Then our indigeneous peoples, the Maori said "What's new!?".
     
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  6. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    I'd forgotten about the Maori..
     
  7. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    The most formidable barrier to progress is human nature, and unfortunately this won't be going anywhere. There isn't such a thing as Humanity, just different people with differing, and often incompatible, interests.

    Solutions that look at the level of 'Humanity' are bound to fail as they operate on the wrong scale.

    It's not uncommon for someone to say something like 'I don't like Arabs, well except my neighbour Ahmad, he's alright'. People are prejudiced far more against abstractions than they are people. The local is not the global.

    Well meaning as they are, attempts to 'unite' people on the macro scale are domed to failure as they only deal with abstractions. Not simply race, but, for example, someone in Alabama gets in a rage about 'NY liberals running the country'.

    People misdefine the problem we face. It is not "how do we remove prejudice and unite people to live together as brothers and sisters', it's "how do we create a world that functions peacefully despite our prejudices".

    My worldview says that the best way to do this is on the local scale. When I feel in control of where I live, and don't feel that 'outsiders' are making me dance to their drum, I don't really care about them.

    As noted above, it's much easier to remove bigotry at the local level as it relates to real people, not an abstraction. The smaller the scale, the more the ideology is confronted with reality.

    An abusive man can't hide his domestic violence from his family. The neighbours can also hear things that might make them suspicious. Family and friends might see bruises and hear implausible explanations. On the macro scale though this man could be seen as a paragon of virtue feted for his humanity. Macro level BS is easy, micro level much less so because it meets up with reality.

    Something like the European Union, a clear attempt to unite people, has fuelled the rise of the far right across Europe, and so (to some extent) runs counter to its objectives. One reason for this is the total disconnect between the people making the decisions and those being affected by them. The Eurocrats are ideologically certain in the benevolence of their mission, yet people in communities that have not benefitted from free movement of people deal with the reality, not the theory. There is only so long you can tell somebody something that contradicts their experiences before they decide it's a nonsense.

    So, as regards the OP, the best way to reduce racism is to make it about people, not abstractions. This is best achieved by making most important political decisions on the local level, not the national or international.

    Lasting peace doesn't come from striving for unity, it comes from minimising the impact divisions have on each other.
     
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  8. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    They make up about 16% of our countries population. Over the last few months I've started working in a medical centre owned and run by a local iwi (tribe). They are wanting to improve access to high quality healthcare for Maori and Pacific Islanders. Currently New Zealanders of European descent will see their GP about twice as often as Maori. Yet Maori feature poorly in health statistics and have a life expectancy significantly less than other New Zealanders.
     
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  9. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Good for them,.. What do you do in hospital?
     
  10. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I'm a genral practitioner, so currently work in a couple of medical centres. One is based in a low socioeconomic suburb with a population of about 3,000 people. A lot of time its just me and the receptionist.

    I've done my time working in hospitals and have always preferred working in the community rather than large institutions.
     
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  11. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Very cool. Have you always worked in underserved areas?
     
  12. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Scale matters :)
     
  13. Samana Johann

    Samana Johann Restricted by request

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    Only the four kinds of holly/perfect people have abound all kinds of group/self-identification (sakkayaditthi - on group-desiring-view) and it's certain un-realistic to get people at large ride of it.

    How does householder Adrian try to abound his racism tendency against what he perceive as racist? Ideas of self, own and own group, thought on humans, if taking this as one of his target. In how far does his teaching, he follows, be honest and/or know what's all about?

    What about trying by oneself to get ride of identification-views, rather to attract others with just a different racism?
     
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  14. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

    I like the phrase, think globally, act locally. The first place for any change is with ourselves first but then community and governmental institutions have an essential role to play too. I think it comes down to moving beyond our comfort zone and building connections with those who are very different from ourselves. I don't see it as being abstract at all as I think of some of my closest friends who are from diverse racial backgrounds. Creating a medical centre that consciously works at reducing barriers to healthcare is very practical. Once we are able to take concrete steps to overcome barriers in our communities, the discussion about extending our learning to international relationships becomes much easier IMHO.
     
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  15. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Indigenous peoples the world over are largely forgotten about. When the European invasions started, and the genocides attempted, they weren't considered people, but animals. Many folks have remnants of that. It continues to be a hard fight. Here in Canada the First Nations peoples lack basic rights.
     
  16. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Before working in general practice I worked in psychiatry for quite a few years. I really enjoy all areas of medicine and what I do is very dependant of secondary and tertiary health services when my patients need to see a specialist. People who gravitate towards medicine are from diverse backgrounds. Its about finding a niche that suits our personalities and skill set.
     
  17. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Really? Even in Canada?
     
  18. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    I agree. I'll bet you're a fine doctor.
     
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  19. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    I think much of racism is fueled by the fear of loss of identity.

    This too has to do with identity. Does one identify as a Jew, Christian, Muslim etc. who just happens to live in a particular country, or one who lives in a particular country and just happens to be Christian, Jew or Muslim.
     
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  20. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I wish I knew more about China, Northern Russia, South America ... in some places I suspect the indigenous are so marginalised thay can't even make the news. Many have been eliminated altogether.
     
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