Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership Cross Cultural Analyses Encounters with “The Other”: A History and Possibilities

Encounters with “The Other”: A History and Possibilities

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11. Dehumanizing the Oppressed and the Oppressor

Both the Purity and Tolerance Solutions
diminish the oppressed,
(at times, disastrously);
yet they also diminish the oppressors,
corrupting and de-humanizing them
as they hang their self-worth on the fragile thread
of the diminished worth of the “other”.

What else is possible?


1. Sometimes the “other” finds acceptance
by adapting to and adopting the cultural rules of the host culture.
And sometimes the “others” achieve full assimilation
when they become indistinguishable from the host.

2. Some “others” can never become indistinguishable,
or their progress to indistinguishability can be slowed
because of skin color or dress or religion or racial or
sexual identity;
and still “others” have no interest in becoming indistinguishable.

3. And sometimes what feels like assimilation
is simply a Tolerance solution;
and, given the right mix of circumstances –
diminished resources, threat of warfare,
all enflamed by demagoguery –
assimilation/Tolerance readily devolves into a Purity solution.

4. And the final limitation of assimilation
is the grand assumption
that the host culture is the best of all cultures –
and that, therefore, assimilation is the obvious solution.
Why wouldn’t everyone want to be just like us?

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