Otherism: You are Not Like Me.

I’m probably going over familiar ground here, but I thought I might add my two-cents.

See, when and where I grew up, about 99% of the people around me were like me. They looked like me, they talked like me, they did the same things I did. At school there were kids who didn’t look like me, but that was okay. It was school, so we all had to learn. After school, well, that was a different story. Once you left the school grounds, all was fair game. And at least a couple of the Other kids got picked on, beat up or bullied in some way.  And yes, I admit to having a hand in some of the bullying.

As a young adult I left the comforts of my home neighborhood and moved to a place far away, where I was the Other. I sort of looked like the people around me, but I certainly didn’t talk like them and I didn’t do the same things they did. For the first time, I was the Other, and yes, I got picked on, and bullied.

In the years since I have lived in places where I am part of the Other group, and part of the Okay group. These days I live in a place where, on my own street, pretty much everyone is the same. But if I go to the shopping centers, I encounter Others. Do I care? No. They are there to purchase needed items, just as I am.

The United States has devolved into divided groups, but I am sure I needn’t go over that. We want to live in areas where everyone thinks, talks and does things alike. We want to work in places where everyone talks, thinks and does things alike. We want to keep Others out of our lives, out of our sights, out of our experiences.

It’s getting less and less possible to do that in many areas. And we are getting more and more paranoid, frightened, upset, angry over it.

Enter a president and a movement that says “we can keep the Others out” and “we can build a Wall to do so”.

Anyone here remember what happened to The Maginot Line?

Anyway, Walls are not the answer. We need to fight Otherism. Don’t retreat into your comfortable enclaves. Stop and see Others as people, as Americans, as Human, just like you. It’s going to take time, lots of time. But if we don’t stop Otherism, we are setting ourselves up for even more Maginot Lines.

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