Friday, October 14, 2016

Ethnic Conflicts and Actual Respect

There are many places in the world where neighbors do not like one another. Sometimes they go to war with each other. Do you know what this looks like to the rest of the world?

I'll tell you what it looks like to the rest of the world. “These stupid Africans are again killing one another.”

Now I am all for places such as Africa improving and getting greater respect. But you will not get respect if you treat one another like dirt. I am in no way a racist. I want African people to do well. But for that to happen, they need to improve their habits, and that means especially doing away with fratricide.

China and Japan hate one another as well. Japan conquered China during the Second World War and killed 20 million people. However that was 75 years ago. Most of the people who were a part of it are now dead. Contemporary Japanese did not invade China, and it is wrong that the Chinese treat them as if they had.

Whatever your history, you do not have to repeat it. Most of the people who've wronged your ancestors are now dead, as are most of your ancestors. Contemporary members of the next ethnicity have done nothing to cause the problem, and it is wrong to inflict upon them something that is in no way their fault.

I am Jewish, and of course Jews have seen vicious persecution from all sorts of people. I have no interest at all in practicing ethnic hate against these people's descendants. I am not against Germany; I am against Nazism. I am not against Russia; I am against Russian anti-semitism and its outgrowths such as a forgery known as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” I bear no ill will toward either population, even though I very well have a right to such ill will.

In the West, we also see all sorts of conflicts. As someone who's lived for a long time in America, and lived extensively in other places as well, I have encountered all sorts of negative views of Americans. People think that Americans are violent. People think that Americans are scammers. People think that all Americans care about is money. People think that Americans are bigots. People think that Americans are stupid and uncultured. I've had to tell people such things as that America is a big country, and if all you know of America is movies about gangsters you have an incorrect view of America.

Some of these stereotypes are in fact true. America has a very weak primary education system; and while its higher education system is excellent, few people get to that level, resulting in most people having little knowledge of science or the arts. There are any number of influences in America, from the Southern belle culture to political correctness, that teach people to be insincere. Many Americans are in fact very money-driven, but I do not necessarily see that as a bad thing. It can be bad and it can be good. Making money by making computers is a good thing. Making money by running scams or selling people things that are bad for them is not a good thing at all.

When I was attending a Buddhist retreat, the Lama talked about any number of people from the West telling him that, while they are not themselves Buddhist, they support the struggle of Buddhists against Chinese aggressors. His response was that Buddhism does not need anyone's help. This is a very mistaken approach. Buddhism may not need anyone's help; Buddhists however do. Such an approach alienates potential allies. We see the same even to a greater extent with feminism. Feminism teaches women to be nasty and mean; and that alienates all sorts of people – both women and men – who otherwise would be sympathetic to feminism.

Conflict between nations and cultures is inevitable. What actually speaks for – or against – the character of the participants is how they choose to handle the conflict. If they handle the conflict by killing each other, that speaks against them. If they handle the conflict by negotiating workable solutions, then it speaks for them. The more people do the latter, the more respect they are going to get. This is the case in the West; this is the case in Asia; and this also is the case in Africa.

The same is the case with interpersonal conflict, especially in relationships. Such a thing is inevitable. What matters is how the partners go about solving it. If they do stupid things to each other, it speaks against them. If they manage their differences respectfully, it works in their favor.

So if you want your people to have respect, earn it. Treat one another better and handle your conflicts in wiser ways. If it is possible for all sorts of ethnicities to live together peacefully in New York, it should be possible for neighbors to do the same in Africa or anywhere else. Forget what someone's granddaddy did to your granddaddy. Look at them for who they are individually and treat them for what they actually are.


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