My Biggest Complaint: Othering

What do you complain about the most?

Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today I want to talk about complaining. Just like everyone else, I find myself complaining about things in life. Truth be told, I probably complain about things in life more than other people do. My list of complaints is rather long and complex. When I was given this writing prompt I found that I am finding it rather hard to determine which is my biggest complaint.

In the end, I find that a good portion of the things that I complain about come back to the idea of Othering. Because of that, I’ve decided that Othering is probably my biggest complaint and that everything that I generally complain about is a manifestation of this one singular complaint. Can we, please, stop Othering each other?

Othering is when you view or treat a person or group of people as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself. When we view someone as being different and alien to ourselves we become capable of creating emotional distance between ourselves and them. This then allows us to view them as lesser than ourselves or as evil or as an enemy. Othering allows us to create an outsider group where there are individuals that don’t carry the same inherent value and importance as the insider group. It creates an Us vs Them situation.

But all of this is an illusion. Othering is based upon arbitrary lines being drawn in an ever shifting social landscape. We group ourselves based upon gender identity, race, where we were born, ability to walk, language spoken and other such nonsense. None of this has any meaning and has changed over time as societies have changed. There is no category into which you can place a person that is truly meaningful and which has not changed over time. Even the categories of living and dead has changed over time as our understanding of the human body has changed and expanded.

The DNA of any two people on Earth is 99.9 percent identical, meaning we have far more in common with each other then any perceived differences we might imagine up. All of the diversity within humanity represents a meager 0.1 percent of what makes us human. Science tells us that it is our genetic code that decided that we are born as a human rather then a cat. That science also tells us that we are more alike with any random person on this planet then we are different from them on a biological level.

Humanity, as a species, shares a remarkable amount of genetic sameness when compared to other species. Groups of chimpanzees that live in proximity of each other have more differences in their DNA then all of the differences found in the entirety of the human species. If you pick any 2 random humans on the planet, those 2 people will have nearly identical DNA. In fact, they will only differ by about 1 out of 1,000 base pairs. This is because Humanity is a young species that is derived from a fairly small population of individuals. In fact, our DNA research suggests that every human alive today shares a single ancestor that was alive only 3,000 years ago. This means that our families are all interconnected and not that far removed from each other genetically speaking.

Science and history continue to teach us that we are more alike then we are different. Yet, we insist on creating categories of humans in which we can stuff each other into and then can discriminate against each other based upon those arbitrary categories. We are a single group: Humanity. Every other category is one that holds little meaning and is being used for social purposes. These categories are the methods that we used to justify all the horrible things that we do to each other and how we ignore the terrible conditions that some groups of people suffer in.

When we view humanity as nothing but a single group, there is no basis upon which to justify the horrible things that are happening in our society today. The sole purpose of Othering is to maintain the power of those who are in power and to allow for a narrative that justifies their holding of that power. So, please, stop Othering each other.

Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

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