Sunday, July 10, 2016

Avoiding the Cycle of Division

In my last post I discussed the possibility that by putting so much focus on red hair I may be heightening the division between redheads and non-redheads - even though my original focus on red hair began because of my frustration that redheads were being treated differently.

In the article I described it in a nutshell like this;

They called me redhead - so I then chose to see myself as a redhead.

In this article I want to further elaborate on the potential problems that can arise from this. One big potential problem for me would be the politicisation of red hair.

The idea that people may create formal groups based around the fact that its members all have red hair is something that has always concerned me. Joining or forming groups for redheads is something that I've always been very uncomfortable with - even if those groups have been formed in jest. Or have been formed to highlight the abuse and bullying that redheads sometimes suffer from.

Like organised religions, formal groups based upon things that differentiate people can be used in ways that can at times actually make things worse. Formal groups, particularly ones with political aims, should be formed only around universal ideals that are open to everyone. Even if such "interest group" organisations are formed with the best intentions, or under circumstances where such groups seem necessary, there's always the danger the groups may do harm as well as good.

A good example is feminism. Obviously the abuse and repression that women experienced and often continue to experience is very real, however the problem at its essence is that the universal human rights of these women are being transgressed. Now I'm not stating that feminist organisations haven't had lots of success in tackling these issues, they obviously have. However, there has also been an accidental downside as a consequence of their work - and that is that the focus on female has often led to further divisions between men and women, with the idea that men are somehow fundamentally bad and women fundamentally good sometimes coming to fruition. Of course, this then only serves to reinforce the views of those men that already hold misogynistic views, and then the divisions become even greater.

A focus on universal human rights, and on how the human rights of many woman aren't been respected, would be much more productive than a limited focus on women's rights alone.

It's not hard to imagine how a focus on the travails of redheads - even if that focus originally came as a response to the negativity aimed at them - could eventually lead to an attitude that redheads are better than non-redheads, or that redheads are somehow fundamentally different to non-redheads.

It's always good to bear this in mind.

Now in someways it may sound silly to talk about potential divisions between redheads and non-redheads, after all, red hair isn't really much of a problem in any real major way. However, I feel my experience with red hair, and the semi-promotion of it, has given me an insight into the reinforcement of division in general.

In my last article I mentioned the division between Jewish people and non-Jewish people that can sometimes be seen in the world.

It seems clear to me that the politicisation of Jewishness has heightened things rather than pacified them. And I think Zionism is the politicisation of Jewishness.

Now I should make it clear that I'm not saying that I don't believe in the state of Israel. Whatever the history (and it's a history I don't fully understand) the fact remains that history has happened and we can't change that. So, just as I believe that the USA has a right to exist in spite of the apparent history regarding the native Americans, or that white Australians have a right to be in Australia whatever views people may hold on the historic treatment of the Aborigines, I believe that Israelis have a right to be in Israel whatever the previous history may be.

No country on earth is without its historic failings and today's generation shouldn't be held responsible for the actions of previous generations.

However, I do believe that Israel should start focusing on becoming a truly secular country and should start separating itself from notions of race and religion. I'm sure Zionism, like women's rights and other movements created to defend the rights of maligned people, started out with the best intentions. However, the unintentional repercussion has at times been heightened division.

Now I should state that I believe that all states and countries should be secular. It's maybe unfair to focus on one country, however my focus on Israel in this article stems from my feelings that no-one is really tackling this issue in a balanced way at the moment.

From my experience it seems the dislike of Jewish people is on the rise - at least on-line anyway. However, this is in part a consequence of the unquestioned Zionism that is professed by all the major media and political organisations. This endless politicisation of Jewishness is reinforcing the idea, in both Jews and non-Jews alike, that Jewish people are somehow fundamentally different from all other people. Again, I'm sure this is an unintentional consequence on the part of most people involved ..just as I have no intention of elevating redheads above non-redheads by taking an interest in red hair.

However, these consequences need to be recognised if we're ever to escape the cycles of division we find ourselves caught up in.

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