Anyone and everyone can be a minority. It depends where you are.
Well, this is interesting, the British psychological society has a really interesting article on 10 findings that reveal the worst of human nature.
We may not want to really look at these things for what they are, but…
…oh my gosh, is this mindblowing.
The article starts off talking about how human beings throughout history have demonstrated a quote-unquote sickening willingness to be cruel to each other. I mean, you can think about all the genocides. Look up the history of genocides. It’s amazing how many millions and millions of people have been killed because they were seen as less than human.
And that’s what this study says.
The tendency to dehumanize others who are not part of our tribe, if you will, seems to be baked into the cake from a very early age. Children as young as five years old tend to dehumanize faces they don’t recognize, maybe faces from a different city or who are of a different gender than the child. Whereas, those who are more similar to them or in their group or tribe, they don’t dehumanize.
And they’ve researched this with brain scans. When students think about or see pictures of the homeless or drug addicts compared with higher status people, those students tend to dehumanize the vulnerable, the drug addicts, the homeless people, they tend to see them with less of their humanizing brain lighting up, according to fMRI scans. We tend to see those less fortunate than us as less evolved than we are.
Younger people even tend to dehumanize older people.
Is it a choice?
When you consider that all of this begins really early, like around the age of five or younger, you have to ask yourself whether or not it’s a choice. Now at some point, you definitely want it to be a choice. When I look at someone less fortunate than I am, I don’t want to dehumanize them.
I don’t want to say to myself or they brought it on themselves or they deserve it somehow, or they’re just less evolved than I am. That’s ridiculous. What I want to do is have compassion – not pity – but compassion… and whether or not I can do anything to help them.
I don’t want to portray a smug attitude that somehow I’m better.
This is sort of one of those insidious infections that we have to evolve beyond. And that’s really what we’re hoping for, isn’t it?
Call to action: Notice when you’re seeing others as less than. Notice how you feel toward them in those moments. Reevaluate.