Let’s Create a More Caring, Just World Where No One is THE OTHER and We All Belong
About the NOZ Campaign
— UNDER CONSTRUCTION —
What is Othering?
SHORT VERSION: Othering is judging groups of people — or individuals you believe are part of said groups — as being inherently inferior and/or threatening without knowing anything about the content of their character. Belief in The Other…belief in a denigration of “those people”…lies at the heart of most bullying — and worse. (Update: Someone wearing Nazi garb or proudly displaying swastika tattoos is showing us their beliefs and thus the content of their character. Refusing to accept hateful beliefs and worldviews is not Othering; as paradoxical as it may seem, defending inclusion requires that we not accept or tolerate those who promote Othering and dehumanization.)
Othering is discrimination against a group(s) of people who are different from the collective social norm or dominant groups in a society. The most common ways we humans tend to Other is in the form of racial, religious, gender, age, sexual orientation, class and ethnic identity differences, and being differently abled in comparison to the dominant groups. There are more ways we create The Other, but those are the most prevalent and most discussed thus far.
The Other is created via an us-vs.-them mentality, reinforced by our dominant cultural values of competition over cooperation, rugged individualism and “survival of the fittest” over recognizing our interconnectedness and interdependence.
Othering is more than simply perceiving people as different; it involves a judgment that groups of humans are inherently inferior, “less than,” and a perceived threat to the dominant group’s way of life in some way. This judgement is a degradation and denigration, often leading to bullying, demonization and dehumanization of entire groups of people. Othering creates a hierarchy of human value; genocide is the most extreme form of Othering.
Think of Othering as bullying, discrimination and oppression of both individuals and groups perceived as The Other. There is a spectrum of Othering beliefs and behaviors found in individuals, reinforced in our systems and institutions…in our culture and society. Bullying is the behavior that grows out of an ideology based on fear and Othering. Pay attention: It is all around us during this Election Season 2016.
SHORT VERSION: Create a world based on caring, justice, equity and diversity — genuine unity in diversity — not a world of fragmentation and destruction.
What would it look like if our cultural and societal values included compassion, collaboration and inclusion, in place of competition-at-any-cost, exploitation and divisiveness? How would these values manifest in we as individuals, families, communities, businesses, organizations, cities and nations?
The Coalition for Good shares a belief in our innate interconnectedness and interdependence, and a desire to integrate this awareness in all we do – as individuals, organizations, communities, and societies. We recognize the growing fragmentation all around and seek a coming together in unity and solidarity based on our shared values and visions.
We believe it’s time for a moral and spiritual awakening–a cultural transformation.
The transformation we need won’t happen without commitment to eliminate Othering. We need true inclusivity — radical inclusivity. Diversity isn’t enough. Words aren’t enough.
INTERCONNECTEDNESS * INTERDEPENDENCE * INTERSECTIONALITY
To work toward this, we must honestly face our propensity to see people as The Other; as “those people”; as less than or, worse, subhuman and of less inherent value and worth because they are different from us in some way and don’t belong to the same group(s).
We must now take a definitive stance, not only FOR inclusivity and diversity, but also being AGAINST RACISM and BIGOTRY. A clear, visible anti-racism, anti-bigotry position is vital.
We’re launching the Coalition via the No-Othering ZONE™ Campaign, reaching out to aligned cities, organizations, businesses, schools and universities to collaborate in this healing, transformative, collaborative movement, inviting them to join us as founding members of the Coalition for Good. In collaboration with founding organizational and business partners of the Coalition for Good, we shall create No-Othering ZONEs, with safe and brave spaces both online and in daily life.
READ MORE: “WHY the No-Othering ZONE?“
Are you a business or organization interested in joining the Coalition for Good? CONTACT US
short version: Create a more caring, just, inclusive world.
- Raise awareness of our individual, group, societal and cultural divisive habits of creating The Other, and initiate courageous conversations and respectful dialogue around various forms of Othering.
- Deepen relationships, catalyze genuine collaboration and partnership, and build diverse networks committed to equitable change and transformation on all levels, in all systems. It’s via these transformational networks that we shall build caring, just, inclusive and sustainable communities that work for all. We will support and create actual No-Othering ZONES.
- Nurture experience of our common humanity and Community Good so that we may learn to celebrate our diversity, not fear it.
Ultimately, the No-Othering ZONE™ Campaign’s intent and mission are reflected in these words of wisdom from Aurora Levins Morales:
Either we are committed to making a world in which all people are of value, everyone redeemable, or we surrender to the idea that some of us are truly better and more deserving of life than others, and once we open the door to that possibility, we cannot control it. … If we agree to accept limits on who is included in humanity, then we will become more and more like those we oppose.
We must learn to embrace the beauty and wisdom of diversity and inclusion – radical inclusion.
The No-Othering Zone™ Campaign supports transformation from a culture of domination and exploitation to one of partnership and harmony…of belonging.
The No-Othering ZONE Pledge
This may seem long but it’s important to create an understanding of what an inclusive movement involves — a caring network of people, organizations and places which are respectful, safe and brave, not limited to one or two issues or marginalized groups. Please read the entire Pledge before signing, but here’s the short version for those already familiar with our vision: I recognize that many insidious, dangerous forms of Othering exist, and I pledge not to demonize or dehumanize ANYONE. We can disagree and criticize without demonizing and dehumanizing.
This pledge is a commitment to be mindful of the ways we prejudge, discriminate and create The Other; to always do our best to stand up to dehumanizing, destructive Othering and bullying; to embrace a path toward creation of a more caring, diverse and inclusive world; to be a No-Othering ZONE (including on social media) and work to create No-Othering ZONEs within families, at school, work, in neighborhoods, cities, etc.
By supporting the No-Othering ZONE Campaign, we commit to do our best to never denigrate, demonize or dehumanize any group of people; we see groups of people with whom we disagree as fully human, not Those People, not “less than” and not The Other. In addition to the obvious ways we destructively Other – skin color/race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, abilities – we also commit to not denigrating, demonizing or dehumanizing entire groups of people based on profession, including law enforcement; political affiliation; or those who engage in non-violent protest of oppression and injustice.
We commit to doing our best to disagree without denigrating, demonizing or dehumanizing anyone, let alone entire groups of people.
We are specifically in agreement with:
* The truth that racism against all people of color (including indigenous people), is very real, is a significant aspect of our dominant culture with continued systemic inequality and injustice, and that this MUST CHANGE. We realize that racism against white people is not a real issue.
* The truth that anti-LGBTQ bigotry is very real, is a significant aspect of our dominant culture with continued systemic inequality and injustice, and that this MUST CHANGE.
* The truth that Islamophobic and anti-Semitic bigotry is very real…
* The truth that xenophobic, nationalistic bigotry is very real….
* The truth that sexism and misogyny are very real….
* The truth that classism, socioeconomic and regional Othering are very real…
* The truth that ageism & generational Othering are very real…
* The truth that ableism is very real…
* The truth that these identities overlap for many people, increasing the level of isolation, oppression, marginalization and bullying experienced in daily life.
We also pledge to continue to explore our own subconscious, perhaps less obvious and less discussed forms of Othering; to strive to be aware of the ways we destructively Other and exploit non-human animals and our planet; to keep an open mind about the impact of such Othering; and to commit to being an active part of the solution.
The path to a more inclusive, caring world that works for everyone begins with care: We must care about the general welfare of people we perceive as different from us in some way; when we care about, we can be more open to caring for and, ultimately, caring with others to create that more caring world which works for everyone.
#NoOthering #Interconnectedness #Intersectionality #UnityInDiversity
IMAGINE NO-OTHERING ZONES
The idea of a “No-Othering ZONE™” came up a few months ago when a friend and I were talking about #BlackLivesMatter and racism and the growing polarization around many social issues which are, finally, coming to the surface for all to see. As straight, white women living in North Carolina, we see and care deeply about systemic oppression and racist, bigoted behavior shown toward all people of color, the LGBTQ community (especially here in NC), and Hispanic and Muslim communities to name a few obvious marginalized groups. People usually know your beliefs and intentions when attending a protest, but we wanted people to be able to know where we stand — to know we’re safe — as we go about our daily lives. (more…)