One Finite Planet

Tribalism, Racism and Despair: The xenophobia cycle

First Published:

hands-of-all-races-640x350.jpgIt feels like the world is in the grip of a wave of xenophobia, and we just seem so far from a solution.  From extremist Muslim terrorists through to the Donald Trump presidential campaign and the British ‘Brexit’ vote, the is a worldwide rise in at least the visibility of intolerance, if not intolerance itself.

Here in Australia, the problem is also very evident.  From the national political obsession with refugees and the disturbing measures to manage refugees,  through to the ‘Cronulla race riots‘ and the recent rise of the political party ‘One Nation’ which has a voter appeal often associated with a message of intolerance.

This week one Australian television station has been running a series of programs examining these issues, and I was watching ‘Hack Live‘(episode 2) from this series when I heard what I felt was a very telling slip, that exposed the cycle of racism and xenophobia.  One the panellists on the program who was a voice of reason,  “Nayuka Gorrie“, made what I consider the slip.  The point is that if she made this slip, anyone and everyone could make such a slip. There is no criticism of Nayuka Gorrie here.

The slip was to point the finger a set of injustices at a race, rather than at racists.  It may seem a fine point, but I feel this is a very key point and that even the best of us should be oh so careful with our words.  A point was being made in deflecting inflammatory accusations against Muslims, by pointing out the injustices against Indigenous Australians, not by Muslims, but by ‘whites’.  And this was the slip.  It is oh so important in breaking the cycle of racism to be accurate in that it was not a ‘race’ who created the problem.  People of the same ‘race’ who live in, for example Norway, are in no way connected to the problem, and it is entirely possible that some of those to blame for injustices against Indigenous Australians were in fact of Muslim faith, given that no faith is exempt from having racist members.  In fact, so strong was racism during the time of some of the injustices against Indigenous Australians listed that many did not even consider Indigenous Australians has as full human beings.  But the problem was not a specific race, but rather racism itself, and we have to be so careful not to slip in to blaming a race for racism, as this just creates an ever strengthening circle.

A wonderful example is set from world war II, where the victims of racism have managed to keep blame focused on the racist regime and key racist individuals, and avoid blaming a specific race for the horrific racism they suffered.

It is so difficult for the victims of racism to avoid the trap.  The victims are victims as a result of racists, who out of fear commit racist acts, these racists themselves believe they are acting for a race, and as such invite reprisal and blame across the whole ‘race’ they believe they represent. Victims can so easily follow the logic of the racists and the result is that racist acts breed reciprocal racism. The reciprocal racism feeds and intensifies the original racism, and on in goes in an ever intensifying spiral.

So much caution is required, to blame racism for racist acts, and not attribute the blame to a specific race. Even though the racists believe they represent a race, do not blame that race.


Table of Contents


A different perspective: Humans maybe the greatest threat to life on Earth but also the only hope.

The title ‘one finite planet’ can be mistaken to be yet another proclamation of how we live on this amazing planet which could even be unique, and we humans are foolishly placing it all at risk. Boring.

No. Instead, the perspective is we are living on a planet that is naturally hostile to humans, where nature dictates only a limited total amount of life, can only exist for a limited time, and that time is almost at an end. When seen from this perspective, even the environment mission changes from just not interfering, to the more complex task of tackling the challenge of overcoming nature, while yes, quite importantly, not bringing life to an early end in the process.

Read More »

COP27: Climate change action sabotage?

Reports from COP27 seems indicate the key initiative this year to make wealthy nations cover the cost of the damages poor nations will incur as a result of emissions that have main originated from those wealthy nations.

The proposal as it stands has a missing an essential piece, and trying to cover for that essential piece, appears most to likely to increase emissions, and move COP away from a focus on solving the climate crisis and instead toward just fighting over the cost.

This is a troubled look at the key flaw in what has been put forward and the real solution that should be in place.

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Ukraine: Putin and China, method or madness?

What if Russia and China both intended that the invasion of Ukraine would trigger global inflation and food shortages, and a potentially new financial crisis?

That Putin sees himself in the image of Peter the Great and restoring the Russian empire is no secret, and is generally portrayed as evidence that Putin has completely lost the plot. But what if there is a bigger plan involving both Russia and China that starts with triggering a global financial crisis? A dangerous game by two desperate leaders needing to bring others with them as their own economies collapse.

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Can Peter Dutton repair the democracy ‘loyal opposition’.

Democracy is under threat, and a significant part of the problem stems for the distortion of the current model of ‘opposition’. While the politics of division and polarisation of the USA Trump republicans vs Biden democrats attracts most attention on the world stage right now, what happens in Australia following the recent election which saw democracy strike back (page coming soon), has the potential to provide the world with an alternate blueprint for the role of the opposition party, which could reinvigorate democracy and spread to the US and elsewhere.

Is there an alternative to the current Republicans vs Democrats style, where ‘opposition’ is about each party demonising the other?

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News In Brief.

It is now war until the end for Putin. If Putin is to win in Ukraine, he would simply have to start a new war elsewhere, as relations with Russia could never again return to ‘normal’ without charges of war crimes being held.

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