How to beat division.

Division ultimately stems from the categorising of people into opposing groups. Whether you do it on class, racial, religious, national or gendered lines. Once you start saying that a particular group are oppressing you, you remove all individual identity from within that group and craft them into a fictional faceless mass. It then becomes us (the oppressed) vs them (the oppressors). The truth is likely to be more complicated, because the political and social environment in nations with giant populations are often complex.

The outlook of the victim assumes that oppressor groups, often of the victims own subjective specification, either consciously or sub-consciously work together to subtly alter the political environment to their benefit. There are a few issues with this. The first is that if you categorise all people into groups with a common aim, you destroy the role of individuality and the possibility for individual divergence within the group. Europe culturally has been quite individualistic as an acknowledged broad generalisation and so the notion of groups based on shared physical characteristics or aims is tenuous anyway.

The role of the individual is important because, if one makes a sweeping statement such as, “all whites are intrinsically racist”, or “all Muslims are terrorists” you will inevitably anger and alienate those people within the group, that you have defined, that the statement doesn’t apply to. This is because they are an individual with their own thought processes and value systems not anchored to an abstract group. The affect is for all of those people within that grouping, that then feel aggrieved because you have pointed the finger at them wrongly, to pull together into a group as a show of solidarity and because there is safety in consensus and numbers. What you in fact do by making generalisations based on groups is create groups, that otherwise didn’t exist, of resentful people bound together through their shared tribal resentment. You in essence manufacture division.

Enough people do this and you get opposing groups characterised by race, gender etc who believe they are under siege from outwards attackers. This is how we are in a country now where extremism and division is so prevalent politically and socially. The thing that motivates extremists is the idea that what they are doing is protective of “their” community, not outward hatred.

The second issue is the validity of the claims themselves. If you point the finger at a group and say they are oppressing us, you will be hard pressed to prove it, because of immeasurable, untold number of variations in action within that group, by individuals that affect society.  What you then essentially end up doing is not being able to pin point where the oppression actually comes from and so you find yourself in a scenario where the enemy is a shadowy spectre that haunts society but can’t quite be pinned down. This is what I find the argument of systemic racism to be built upon. It appears to be taken as a given that whites as a group hinder other groups from making their way up the ladder and it’s all a shadowy process built into the system.

Show me which organisations are the ones that are racist, which individuals within those organisations that are propagating racism. Pin point the problem, find evidence to back it up and then we can do something about it. Making generalisations about groups based on an assumption doesn’t get us anywhere, other than to further false political narratives that alienate and divide the wider community.

To beat division within our society we have to stop seeing everything through the lens of the group and analyse the individual as much as possible. We need to make sure we don’t make sweeping, baseless generalisations that cannot be backed up by hard evidence and we need to stop searching for markers of division that separate us, instead find common themes that unite individuals within the nation. The alternative is a country that pulls itself apart into tribal, divided communities and then probably violence.

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