When you look more closely at who you are and where you’ve come from – meaning your ancestry – chances are you’ll find those people you think are ‘different’ are probably your cousins. This is one of the results of the recent upsurge in DNA testing for ancestry.
Don’t particularly like those immigrant types from _____? Well guess what – you have plenty in common with them, genetically speaking. And culturally speaking, the distance is probably also not as great as you once thought.
People with a ‘tolerance and inclusion’ agenda will see this as supporting their case. Those with a ‘circle the wagons and load the guns’ mentality will by unmoved. They know you can’t trust ‘them foreigners.’
But as much as some might embrace it, xenophobia (i.e. the fear of ‘the other’) is an outmoded and unhelpful instinct. In this day and age, it simply doesn’t work. It’s worth noting it is an instinct with deepest roots in human experience. Our ancestors for millennia were attuned to it as a way of looking after their own; you hate and fear the sub-humans from over the hill. It is absurd that we still think this way, although ‘thinking’ doesn’t have a lot to do with it. It’s instinctive. All the intellectual justification for it proceeds from the gut instinct.
Tolerance, inclusion, multiculturalism – these are radical and very new concepts. They’re the proverbial ‘sheen of civilization’ we’ve painted over our tribal instincts. Such is the world we live in.
‘Why can’t we all just get along?’ is the question often asked. One reason is we’re locked into instinctive behaviour that’s as old as the hills.
Can we ever get over this and create something better? It’s a work in progress and it’ll likely never end.