Protecting people "like us" from people "like them"

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by S.A.M., Jan 12, 2011.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Having had a variety of discussions on issues of race, colonisation, immigration and politics on sciforums, one of the things that struck me is the general pattern of treatment of "other people" in various societies around the world. Being familiar with segregated societies myself and the utter debasement of human beings by human beings, I am nevertheless fascinated by the justifications used to create segregation in the name of both conflict resolution and social stability - for example, the forced transfer and relocation of unwanted peoples, be they adivasis in India in the Narmada controversy, the rounding up of Jews by the Nazis, the creation of discrete reservations for native Americans and First Nation peoples, the transfers at whim of aboriginal peoples by Australians, the dumping of Palestinians into Gaza as Israel strives to create "facts on the ground" by replacing Arab homes with Jewish apartments and the establishment of Communication Management Units for devout Muslims by Americans.

    In all these cases, the desire seems to be to remove unwanted peoples from the community which may then be repopulated with "people like us" or at least, the "dangers" of being "overwhelmed" by undesirable peoples is minimised.

    I'm wondering if there is any literature on what drives such group behaviour. Has anyone carried out a study of what seems to me to be a form of xenophobia or racism? What drives such sentiments? Why are (some) people so afraid of mixed populations?
     
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  3. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    There is an obvious evolutionary mechanism. Those that resemble you superficially, and especially those who identify with your particular culture are far more likely to share a larger percentage of your genes. So, it pays, in terms of the gene, to help those like you and reject those unlike you.
     
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I'd think that any person who has serious mental problems whereby they threaten others, hurt others or themselves or are a threat as to what they might do because of their mental instability should be helped in a controlled environment for their self protected as well as others in any society. Lets say that a deranged man thought that children were something to kill, for the fun of it, would you want him anywhere in public where he could do damage to others?
     
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  7. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Does it? Does genetic evolution support ethnocentrism over diversity? Do people survive better as isolated communities or as a multiracial group?

    I'm actually looking for evolutionary or anthropological literature discussing this. Any suggestions?
     
  8. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    While not addressing your specific concerns, you might find Pierre Clastres' work of interest and Society Against the State, in particular--here's a brief excerpt.

    And I'm sure you're familiar with Khaldhun's Muqqadimmah. More proto-anthropological than anthropological, but I think he kinda touches upon these themes in his discussion of the Bedouins.

    Of course, both of these works (and authors) also address concerns more particular to my own agenda, which you've likely surmised.
     
  9. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    If it's a matter of immediate competition, yes. In the long term, genetic diversity is beneficial, but evolutionary traits don't think ahead like that. It's Dawkins' selfish gene theory.
     
  10. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    I think the most honest opinion on this kind of thing comes from the man:

     
  11. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks. I was able to locate Clastres' work at the open library [will probably run it through OCR rather than strain my eyes reading the image files

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    ]
     
  12. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Really? I wasn't aware of that--I'll go there now.

    I just got a Kindle yesterday and am quite busy dumping hundreds of PDF books into it. Admittedly, most are pirated texts (avax.com has an amazing collection of philosophy and critical theory texts), but in my defense I have owned hard copies of most of these books over the years. Just don't feel like scanning them myself.
     
  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I find the PDF format on the kindle to be almost unreadable. I use Calibre to convert them to MOBI.
     
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I would suggest a book that isn't in the category you are looking for, but one that may conceptually very nicely shed light on such tribal separatism ("tribal" to be taken in a broad sense):

    Caroline Myss: Why People Don't Heal and How They Can
    http://www.amazon.com/Why-People-Dont-Heal-They/dp/0609802240
    It is a fairly popular book, any library and bookstore in the US should have it, it was also translated into many languages.

    She speaks about the three levels of consciousness, namely, tribal, individual and symbolic.
    She goes very much into various cultural and psychological aspects of the three, and how they relate.
    A brief intro: http://www.marriageofsexandspirit.com/MMS_1Myss.pdf

    I find her approach conceptually useful.
     
  15. superstring01 Moderator

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    All species are programmed to pass on their genes.

    We instinctively prefer those who are "like us" because we know them, and that which we don't know is potentially dangerous. That which is potentially dangerous is automatically assumed to be dangerous by default (better to not risk it and get killed).

    Biology doesn't plan for millennia ahead, just for today, and the best way to make sure my genes get passed on is through xenophobia. It allowed us to live longer.

    Now we're just reprogramming. That we are even able to ponder such things and actually achieve such things (mixing with dissimilar people) is a sign of just how powerful our brains are! We can actually override our genes and biology and do what we want, and not what they do.

    ~String
     
  16. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, I'm noticing that. Thank you for the tip!
     
  17. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry it was just a sample!

    I use online converter.

    http://www.online-convert.com/
     
  18. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Now on the face value "locking a loon up" will seem the best discourse, however there is a potential chance (albeit debatable on how large a chance) that the "loon" is themselves being manipulated by a third-party to commit atrocities. While locking them up stops them being a problem, it doesn't solve the issue of the third-party and their agenda, as they would evidentially just pick up a new "mark" outside of incarceration to continue their nefarious evil deeds.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Remember that humans are a species of pack-social predators so we have the psychology that goes with the life of pack-social predators. Any hunting range (defined by the distance a species can travel during the breeding and/or migratory cycle of its prey) can only support a specific number of predators in any niche, so we have the instinct to treat intruders from other packs with hostility. They are competitors for scarce resources.

    Nonetheless, our species does have an instinctive sexual attraction to outsiders; it's the way we keep our gene pool chlorinated. Our close cousins the gorillas do not have this instinct and they inbreed so intensively that clans separated by a large distance almost look like different species. I make no claim to research in this field but the quaternary scholarship I've come across said that Paleolithic human tribes had rituals in which they traded adolescent females. Anecdotal evidence, observation, and for many of us mere introspection strongly suggest that we ourselves have a certain lust for "exotic" people of the opposite sex who look quite different from ourselves.

    Nonetheless, when it comes to defining a "community" there is certainly a visible tendency toward maintaining homegeneity in the gene pool. Yet... this appears to be one of our many Stone Age instincts that can be overridden by our uniquely massive forebrain as we advance out of the Stone Age into a world that we have increasingly designed for ourselves.

    Civilization--our transcendence of our pack-social nature into a society of strangers living in harmony and cooperation--sometimes goes the other way and tolerates or even encourages the absorption of foreigners. Many of the classical civilizations were hotbeds of intercultural marriage and ended up with chaotically hybridized gene pools.

    I recently read a discussion of the difference between the modern British and Amerian attitudes toward immigrants. (Sorry I don't have the source citation on this computer.) It pointed out that notwithstanding our current hand-wringing over our own xenophobia in America, it is actually far worse in the U.K. It said that the British government and social institutions conspire, with immigrant community leaders who do not favor assimilation, to keep them in ghettoes--physically and or psychologically remaining foreigners. Whereas over here it's not like that. Every immigrant community has obvious reasons to stay together--language, food, customs, etc.--but in America (in contrast with the UK) the members are more-or-less welcome, even encouraged, to step outside their community and sample life among the majority.

    The reason suggested is that America is a nation of immigrants and their descendants. Everyone here, except the vastly outnumbered Native Americans, is here because their ancestors didn't stay in their original land, so we have a much different unconscious attitude toward immigration and immigrants than the British. Rather than regarding immigrants--much less their American-born children!--as foreigners to be tolerated, we regard them as future Americans, or at least the ancestors of future Americans just like ourselves.

    Sure, we put them through a rite of passage which in some cases can be very ugly. But in the not-so-long run we get used to them, they get used to us, and the communities blend. How many of us remember that the Irish immigrants were originally regarded with disgust--now that the name Kennedy belongs to one of the most beloved Presidents in our history? Or Italian immigrants, only a couple of generations ago?

    Every immigrant group that was treated with suspicion and rudeness when they first arrived has now blended into the Melting Pot: the Mexicans, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Swedes, the Czechs, the Poles, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, everyone. Only the Africans, who did not come voluntarily and have a history much different and horrifying than the other immigrants, still have a way to go, but that way has shortened dramatically in my own lifetime, as we now have a President with an African name. You younger people will surely see the end of the divide between Euro- and Afro-Americans, and most of you are unconsciously doing your part to bring that about.

    In America we still protect people "like us" from people "like them," but the definition of "like us" in America grows larger with every generation. Eventually it will span the whole globe. Everyone will be "us" and there will be no "them."

    I love civilization.
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Starting from a confusion like that, you won't get anywhere.
    That would be including the reds. They moved around as much as anyone, tribe by tribe.
     
  21. dbnp48 Q.E.D. Registered Senior Member

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    Native Americans last immigrated here via the Bering Strait land bridge 12,000 years ago. All of the non-Native Americans immigrated within the last 350 years, the vast majority within the last 200 years. I would regard that difference as significant.
     
  22. superstring01 Moderator

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    It is not. Native Americans were no less ruthless than any other human tribe in spreading their genes at the expense of other tribes. Their demise happened to occur in the last half millennium during which time we had the ability to document their downfall. That is about the only difference.

    ~String
     
  23. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    Problems between different groups of people are frequently culture clash. There is little genetic difference, even between populations of markedly different melanin content, but cultures can be very different indeed.

    Cultures can be diabolical. The problems between Israeli and Arab began with the Zionist movement, in which Jewish people wanted to return to Jerusalem. This religious and cultural need inevitably led to a clash, since Jerusalem already had a viable population with a 1500 year old claim to that city, and to the land around it.

    Other clashes come from the cultural value of tribalism. This leads to formation of gangs as tribe substitutes. Sadly, one of the cultural values of tribes is to denigrate those of another tribe - sometimes to the point where they are not regarded as properly human, and are therefore OK to treat as victims, or prey, instead of people.

    When a minority group migrates to a nation occupied by a cultural group that makes up the majority, that majority group tends to expect the immigrants to adapt to the majority culture. Often, the minority make a very brave attempt to do so. However, when their own culture is made apparent, this can lead to emotional conflict.
     

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