Without regard to race

      … color, national origin, religion, gender, etc.

Everyone has seen the phrase above included in the middle of contracts, at the bottom of websites, on the last page of employment applications, or any of thousands of places where we encounter official documents. Anti-discrimination laws have made it ubiquitous and, in many cases, mandatory, throughout our society. It has become almost cliché in modern American culture. But it should not be. The principle of facing all of our fellow human beings and interacting with them from a fundamental standpoint of brotherly compassion and understanding should be more than just a trite disclaimer in the fine print of the footnotes to our society’s legal documents.

As thinking and feeling human beings, the fundamental unit of our society is not a group, clan, nationality, sect, or race but is the individual human being. It is true that the world of humanity contains a wide variety different cultures, that many of us tend to gather together in groups according to our culture or backgrounds. And it is also true that the differences between various groups of people are in many cases significant in terms of both superficial appearance and deep-seated cultural norms. And sometimes these difference are used to divide and categorize us all into separate collectives, each with its own set of predefined characteristics, at least in the minds of those doing the categorizing. But it is important to keep in mind that, ultimately, each group is actually a collection of individual thinking, feeling human beings.

Each individual human mind and soul is a unique entity with his or her own unique perspective on the world and on Life. Yes, we are all shaped by our backgrounds. But ultimately, none of us are limited to the predetermined definition that someone else would place upon us — and especially not to the broad-brush definitions that some people try to apply to the superficial characteristics of our national, religious, or ethnic backgrounds.

Fundamental to American liberty

Regardless of the profuse amount of prejudice and injustice at various times and places in our nation’s history, the acknowledgment of all people, regardless of background, equally, as individual human beings is fundamental at the outset even to the derivation of the rights and freedoms that we consider sacred. The idea that Thomas Jefferson set forth in his statement that “all men are created equal” and that we are endowed with “certain unalienable rights” is, certainly conceptually if not legally, the foundation of the rights that we claim and hold dear.

Does this seem inconsistent, or even hypocritical, given that Thomas Jefferson himself owned slaves? Perhaps, but this objection can be answered in two important ways:

First, let he who is without any hypocrisy himself cast the first stone. Of course there are vast inconsistencies in life and human history. The evolution of human society has been a messy business, not just in America, but all over the world for thousands of years. Can we blame those who have been participants in that evolution for not being better human beings? Certainly we can; but we must also acknowledge the huge changes that they have brought about and view them against the perspective of the rest of human history before them. Prejudice and its fruits, including slavery, had been part of human society in almost every nation and culture for previous unknown ages of time. And if iniquitous conditions are going to change, it is very likely that people who are in the midst of those conditions, and are even participating in them, are going to be the ones who initiate the change.

The second answer follows from the first and is the crux of the matter: In order for an ideal to be made manifest, it must first be realized as a concept in the minds of those who are able to recognize it. Human society changes slowly, generation by generation. And Jefferson’s statement of the rights of the individual human being is important especially in its place early in the evolution of our American society.

As stated by Jefferson, our rights are ultimately founded in Natural Law — the concept that such rights derive from our basic nature as human beings, and are not merely bestowed upon us by a worldly power in the form of a king or other governmental authority. As such, if they have any basis at all, they must be based up the nature of each and every member of humanity — without exception — as an individual, independent human being regardless of the happenstance of our birth and upbringing.

We are all family

Throughout previous thousands of years of human society, it has often been important for the purpose of self-preservation to think in terms of “our” tribe, village, city, nation (whom we can rely upon for support, comfort, protection and sustenance) versus the “others” who very often were a danger to “us.” And the superficial characteristics of language, culture, religion, and just plain physical appearance have all been important in distinguishing “us” from “the others.” But in our modern, global society we must grow past that practice.

The actual truth of the matter is that we are all family. Every one of humanity is a cousin of each other. People everywhere, regardless of culture or heritage have similar weaknesses and fears as well as vast potential for love, compassion, courage, strength, wisdom.

Physically, in every way that matters, we are much more alike than we are different.

Out of Africa.

Realize cultural differences enrich our overall culture.
Religion for all of us is a matter of perspective & working hypothesis at best.
Look for common principles.
Regardless of incompatibility of assertions of dead-letter text, commonalities in principles exist.

Need to included all of humanity in “us”
Ultimately to some extent, all life, the world, natural environment.

People are individuals

Just as the individual atom, whose type defines an element, the fundamental unit of chemistry, the fundamental unit of society: Individual human mind.

Categorization & grouping on certain superficial characteristics not only morally “bad” but factually inaccurate.

Even if some general racial differences people are individuals.

Bell curve.

It’s about Character

Equal Rights and Individual Differences

Promoting equal rights

Not “equality” of all individuals.

In a way, the whole point of non discrimination on the basis of race, etc. is in recognizing individual differences.

Diversity of perspectives and opinions, abilities and genetics.

Promoting well=being and advancement the right way.

Our experience in Memphis
Joseph Kosinski’s name change
because of discrimination in Chicago.