Terry Sarten

Singer Songwriter

Them and Us – Us and Them

Today I put the final words together on a new song. I did a run through with John Scudder this afternoon so he can begin working on a bassline. The song sings of the ‘other’, listing the things that are often regarded as different but in fact are common across all people.
Titled ‘Them and Us’ it is about how we divide people into those we perceive as being like us and those we decide are different despite the fact that science tells us that we all share common human genetics.
It is time we ditched the word racism and racist from our language. It allows those who act in racially discriminatory ways to shelter behind the notion that the world can be categorised by race, with some races being somehow superior to others.
While the term racist describes someone, who stereotypes and discriminates against people based on outward appearance, often by skin colour, it can by gender, sexual orientation, language, faith, social status, age, based on where you live or any combination of all these things. This notion of race is a red herring. It hides the reality that race is a social construct about differences that have no relation to human genetics.
Geneticists Adam Rutherford tells us that we are all remarkably similar. DNA links show that globally ‘we are a small family’. A genetic step back to three and half thousand years ago, brings us all to a common ancestor. He notes that understanding how different but how similar we are can overcome the notions of borders by highlighting how much we share as humans.
It can also shift the ideas that drive prejudice. This means we should be able to put aside the idea of race as a way of defining and categorising people and concentrate on what we all have in common. Adam Rutherford expresses this well noting that whether African, a Scot, Maori or Native American we all share a common bond of ancestry.
Racism is about an attitude based in superficial differences and little else. But if we are thinking there is no such thing as race then we need a new description. Instead, we could call this ‘Difference-ism’ or perhaps ‘Otherness-itism’ as a way to highlight that this is all about a way of seeing the world as being divided into those like us and other people who are different.

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