Us Versus Them
India versus Pakistan, Black versus White, Muslim versus Jew, the Allies versus the Axis, North versus South, America versus Britain, Men versus Women, Shirts versus Skins, Bears versus Packers, Pepsi versus Coke …
Comparing and contrasting is a normal, even a necessary, part of being human. It allows us to learn about everything and everyone in our world. Dividing the world into categories allows us to manage the vast amount of information we must process in order to survive. But we are not computers, sorting facts into categories with complete objectivity. Because we are human, our categories are heavily laden with biases and so we sometimes move beyond the normal and necessary use of comparative thought and into the dangerous arena of “us versus them” thinking. In this chapter we will examine when and how we cross that lineand learn how such thought patterns can enable, even encourage, hatred.
For most of my early years, I cherished my best friend, Brian. Then, suddenly, we despised each other. It turned out that my best friend in the