Hatred of the “Other” in Religion

Dave Chappelle offered a comedy skit years ago which is the best illustration of the lack of “self” awareness.  He portrays a black man who is a white supremacist who has been kept from awareness of this “problem” by a KKK hood for decades.  But when the hood comes off, and he has to admit that he is a “n…..r”, he still cannot lay aside his racism.  (See hilarious clip at end.)

Disregard, hatred, and contempt of “the other” is deep-seated.  It reveals itself in so many dimensions of life, usually without notice unless one has a very astutely discriminating eye.  For example, I have become very aware how that in my spiritual tradition the insistence of drawing the distinction between “Christian” and “unchristian” is often just an effort to maintain the unconscious “us vs them” paradigm.

Sometimes I like to parody this phenomena with the following spiel:  “I just hate people who are intolerant.  I want to line ‘em up and shoot ‘em!  I wanta humiliate them and then kill em!”  This is relevant to present day with people who have an inordinate emphasis of setting boundaries with immigrants, wanting to deport them when at times it goes beyond the pale of basic human decency.  Certainly immigration laws, boundaries, need to be present and need to be enforced.  But it appears to be that the immigration issue has taken on a larger-than-life emphasis, has become a “cause celebre,” allowing people to vent their existential “us vs them” venom to be focused on this one issue.  And, “us vs them” is an essential dimension of identity.  But when one’s core identity is tenuous to begin with, he/she cannot tolerate the ambiguity of reality to recognize that the distinction between “us/them,” or “me/thee” is often not as clear as we would like to think.

This is a spiritual issue.  But Protestant Christianity has emphasized “us vs them”, i.e. “saved vs unsaved” and failed to realize the inclusiveness/forgiveness that Christ brought into the world.  This is best illustrated when Jesus chose not to stone the Samaritan prostitute at Jacob’s well, which the “Republicans” of the day were encouraging, instead telling her to “go and sin no more.”

Dave Chappelle clip:  — http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3a3f0f

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