Humanity is one

There is so much hate and violence in the world. Recent times have given us horrific news like the Sydney Siege with two dead hostages and the Peshawar school attack, which resulted in well over one hundred dead, most of whom were innocent children. It's about time we stop thinking in terms of us and them; humanity is one.

There's so much in our world that inspires hate: ethnicity, nationality, religion, ideology, and anything that has something to say about the world or can be used as a category. All this both gives and takes hate. Black people are not seldom discriminated against for the simple fact that they are black, and Mexicans seem to be viewed as little more than filth by many conservative Americans, which has a lot to do with nationalism, too. Conservative Americans have complained about Mexicans not being "real Americans", as if that means their lives have less value. A human being is a human being; I don't care where they are from or what color their skin is.

It also goes both ways. I see plenty of racism toward whites, too. While it isn't as big a societal problem as what many ignorant liberals think of as "real" racism (I am a liberal myself), racism is racism and can never be condoned. White people are not a group of people; we do not all think the same, we are not all racists who think we are entitled to things because we're white, and we're not all to blame for the actions of other people who died long ago and happened to be white. Ethnicity and nationality makes us proud to belong to a group and accept the group's accomplishments as our own, while also pushing down other groups. But we're all individuals responsible for the good and bad we do ourselves, not what others have done.

It doesn't make sense to speak of the accomplishments of different colors of people. One can speak of humanity's accomplishments and what humanity is capable of, because no matter what colors we are, we are all people. What makes the most sense, though, is to speak of us as individuals: I am a human being; I am not humanity as a whole.

Religions and ideologies also cause plenty of hate and violence. Richard Dawkins tweeted, "Very few faith-heads are as evil as Taliban or IS. Yet what else but faith is CAPABLE of making people do such evil?" I mostly agree with this, but should just add that any extreme ideology born from ignorance and indoctrination that views people who disagree as "enemies" is capable of making people do evil. Maybe greed, too, although you'd have to be pretty sick in the head to kill children for power and money. Religion may just be the most capable kind of worldview, when it comes to making people do evil.

As I said, religion is all too often wicked and inspires many to do wicked things. But that does NOT mean all believers are wicked. Persecution of Muslims (or people from the Middle East, not all of whom are even believers) is NEVER acceptable, definitely not after a terror attack. One can speak of ideologies and worldviews as bad on multiple levels, but one cannot equate all subscribers of said worldview to evil.

In fact, while I believe religion is a major factor in causing Islamic terrorism, I do not believe it is enough to just say "religion" and leave it at that. There are many causes, including individual beliefs (not all Muslims believe the exact same things), socioeconomic status, mental status, and so on. That said, religion is a major cause and I agree with the likes of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins on much of what they say.

My point is, we are all human beings, regardless of beliefs and skin color. Thinking in terms of us and them, as often is the case with nationalism and religion, will not help anyone. Blaming everyone in a group for the actions of others is heinous. If anything, remember that we live in a free society of democracy and law: it is permissible to criticize beliefs and ideologies; all peoples are equal; every person is innocent until proven guilty and no one is guilty by association.

My thoughts go out to everyone and anyone affected by horrific acts of hate and violence, like Sydney Siege and the Peshawar school attack. Let's not let acts of terror and violence be a justification for bigots to openly harass innocent people; let's not use our grief to perpetuate hate. Let's come together as human beings in our hour of need and work toward a brighter future. For the love of all the gods humans have invented thus far, stop all the violence and hate. Humanity is ONE.