Necessary distinctions or arbitrary discrimination?
We, the human race, seem to be obsessed with defining and giving names to things. We divide and define to help us grasp the nature of that thing which we are examining, such as “this is an apple, distinct from other fruit, such as an orange”. Although definition can be the foundation for understanding, it can equally be the foundation for discrimination and bigotry. Where does the line get drawn? Why, over all, do some people feel the need to say “you are this type of person, and all people of this type are…?” What makes it seem logical to divide people by one trait, whether religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or language, into groups, but then assume that within those groups, all people are the same, and so divide no further? I am not trying to claim that all people do so. Indeed, many people go out of their way to judge individuals individually, rather than as a member of a larger group. However, many others are content with the former method of using one, or a few traits, to place individuals into a general category; is this not bigotry?
To say “you are a woman, women are emotional, therefore you are emotional” or “you have this religion, that religion is opposed to my religion, there for you are opposed to me” makes no logical sense. Ockham’s razor tells us there should be no plurality without necessity. In other words, to divide things into the smallest logical point, or the largest group based on justified cause. So why, in the face of the individuality of persons, or the plurality of humanity, do we see arbitrary lines drawn, and opposing factions on both sides? Are humans not all one Species? Or else, if not, are we not all of us then, by necessities, single and distinct entities? Furthering this, then, is a white person from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Norway the same as a white person from Denmark, or a Black person from Haiti the same as a Black person from the Congo? This, then, brings up the difference between a Black person from LA and a white person from LA. What makes them different? Overall, they are the same, on a basic, biological level. Education, upbringing, race, nationality and social background are essentially random factors, a child having no say into what background they will be born, in what nation, and at what time. So what necessitates that distinction be made on those lines? And if distinction be required, is it not required at a deeper level, as my education will vary widely from someone who took the same courses as me, at the same time, simply because we process the information differently, my upbringing differs from that of my next-door neighbour, because of my having different parents and differing experiences. So why is there still such wide-spread division, on such trivial lines? Do we look at the mosaic that is humanity, or the individual tiles out of which it is made?