thoughts on #NoUsNoThem

New Unity's theme for January to March 2015 was #NoUsNoThem. We focused on "othering" - the view that another person or group is fundamentally different. The step beyond othering can be the belief that someone or some group is not only different, but less than human. 

Othering happens all the time and even nice people do it. It’s easier than trying to make sense of differing beliefs and perspectives. It’s easier than trying to understand actions that don’t fit into our understanding of ourselves. Although othering may come naturally and quickly to human beings, and although it makes life easier in some ways, it hurts. Othering hurts individuals. If you have ever had the feeling of being excluded because you are not cool enough, sporty enough, tall enough, able enough, macho enough, feminine enough, white enough, or any other attribute - you know it hurts.

And othering hurts societies. It means we have an alternative to trying to really understand someone. It means we can believe that people are different enough to be “scroungers” or intrinsically prone to crime, or intrinsically selfish. Othering takes us away from the recognition that - at our essence - we have more in common than we differ. Othering makes us forget that we are siblings of all people.

There are days that feel hopeless
When it seems as though compassion is absent and hatred thrives on the fear that spreads like a virus through human hearts
The hope for our world is in our hands
We can create the understanding we long for
We can build the compassion we need
We can bring to life the love that can hold us together
Let it begin in each of our hearts
Spread amongst us
And flow beyond our seeing and knowing
To every place where there is need
And toward a bright and peaceful future
— Andy Pakula