Most of us humans are social creatures who tend to form groups and cliques with others who share similar interests. Perhaps this tendency is wired into our DNA at birth, or perhaps it is due to the fact that most of us are born into families populated with people who look like we do. As we grow up in our respective families, we subconsciously absorb our parents’ values (good and bad) because at that stage of our lives, most of us are still too young to independently make up our own minds. In the first few years of our lives, many of us grow up seeing everyone in our biological family as part of “us”, and everyone outside the biological family as “them”. As such, we can be drawn into an “us-them” mindset from near the very beginning. Perhaps this subtle mental shift in the way we perceive the world becomes even more pronounced when we make the transition to the more socially diverse setting of early school. All of a sudden, there are all sorts of people who neither think the way we were raised to think, nor share the same values that we do. When we are confronted with this reality, most of us usually react in one of two ways. Some of us become intrigued by the fact that there are actually people who aren’t like us and become eager to learn from them. For others, the ingrained fear of the unknown kicks in, prompting a bit of defensiveness. Continue reading The silliness of racial bigotry
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