The Psychological “Social Identity Theory” (SIT) is a suggested model which aims to provide a structure as to how individuals build up their own identities in relation to other people. At the core of this theory is the concept of grouping: placing others into a group, of which there are two types. The first kind of group is an in-group, and this is a group in which the individual who is performing the categorisation (the grouper) is also a part of. The opposite is an out-group, which is any group in which the grouper is not part of themselves. We group people based on everything, and every person we meet will be part of some of our in-groups and some of our out-groups. These groups play a role in determining our attitudes towards other people, and the staple finding associated with SIT is that even in situations of minor importance individuals are more likely to favour members of their in-groups and out rightly discriminate and move against those in their out=-groups. Additionally, the nature of groups mean that some play a more important role in determining our attitudes and considerations of our own identity than others. For example, if two individuals both have the same favourite colour, they would be considered to be within an in-group. Though this is true, this group is unlikely to influence their behaviour incredibly. Conversely, groups based on subjects such as religion, race or personal philosophies are far more likely to influence behaviour.
So, having said that, what I want to call to our attention is the fact that, certainly from what I have seen, that there are many divides in our modern-day cultures which can easily be seen to have their roots in a grouping system. It is clear to see that people are discriminating against those who are not the same as they are. People are actively moving against those who are not within their in-groups. Clear examples of this are racism (which is still a big problem for us today) and civil rights cases, across the globe. Some people might simply shrug their shoulders and say that this is nothing new, but I think that this is part of the problem.
What we really need to do, what was desperately need to do is remind ourselves of a very basic fact: We are all the same. Yes, there are so many wonderful variations of people on our planet, a grand array of cultures and philosophies and points of view. But when it boils down to it, we are all flesh and blood, all human and every single one of us is a person. It is this that I wish for us to focus on. We need to actively remember that no matter who we meet, they are the same as we are. Once we do that, we have begun to pave the way to creating a better world for everyone.
This entry was not meant to be a lengthy examination of anything in a philosophical manner, but simply meant to carry a message. It is not a particularly original message and I am sure that I am not the first person to share it or think about it, but it is evident that we need more people to stop and think about it for themselves. People need to remember that every human being is a person and that they are equal to us, no matter who they are. We are all one people and therefore we should all stand by one another and stop trying to break our world apart any further with this plague of categorisation. Simply, what I am saying is that we should stop focusing on how we are different, on how one person is of another race or another culture or another religion and instead we need to remind ourselves that we are all the same.
Just a thought.
I’ll leave you with some words by Plato (I am aware that the source of this quote is disputed):
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”