You can look at humanity in several ways. Whichever way you choose, we are all related. Whether you see us as children of God, or as having evolved from a common ancestor, we all have one common point in antiquity from which we have gone forth and multiplied.
You can observe a family and see differences. One child is taller, one has red hair, one is clever, one can’t make it across the room without stumbling. They are all immediately related. Give that family a few thousand years and the tall one finds a tall spouse and has tall kids, the clever one is only intrigued by a clever mate and has clever children, eventually those differences work there way into familial customs, the families move apart and adapt to their new surroundings. Ten thousand years ago these distances resulted in the formation of tribes, today we hold no allegiances to our surroundings.
A natural trait in animals, including humans, is to be wary of anything out of the ordinary. Keeping the bloodline pure was critical to survival for our ancestors. The child born missing a foot was destroyed, and thus whatever caused the mutation was not passed on to another generation. People who look different were eyed with suspicion. Red hair was unusual, and has almost been bred into extinction. Being left handed was unusual, and was fought with such force by society that being forced to live as right handed may be the source of dyslexia.
More severe differences drew more severe reactions. The skin color of Africans and features of Asians resulted in segregation that amplified the differences over time. While at one time, these people were just odd family members who moved away.
In contrast, today there are no great distances separating us. We can travel from one side of the world to the other in a day (less if we’re flying West). At a point in human history when we could all celebrate a world community, we cling to our differences. People emigrate and want to make their new country into their old country, hanging onto traditions their grandparents had abandoned.
It only takes the experience of seeing someone from your own culture living abroad to realize that we’re all the same. The Mexicans and Chinese and Lebanese who want to make their part of America like their homeland (or the homeland of their ancestors) are no different from the Americans trying to make their community in Spain more like America. We all resist assimilation.
So when I hear someone speaking about “racial injustice” or any of the other terms applied to xenophobia, I am saddened. The obvious reason for sadness is because I realize that at some level we are all related. Another reason is because by focusing on the differences, those differences tend to be reinforced.
We excel when we exploit our varied strengths, and use them to carry our varied weaknesses. When we treat a person as less than human, it is our humanity that is brought into question. We are all family. Civil rights are human rights.
A simple Scripture today, John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another“.