The Puzzle of Inhumanity

When I was little, we raised chickens. The bigger chicks pecked the smallest one to death, because it was different. How sad for the chick, but are humans any better? News stories abound of children who could not take the bullying another minute and have taken their own life.

I live with an historian who has studied the holocaust and World War II in order to understand the inhumane treatment of others. He hasn’t yet. Whether it was the murder of Jews, Gypsies, or the different in the holocaust, or the Japanese who mistreated American prisoners of war, or slavery, seeing photos or re-enactments of the inhumanity brings tears to my eyes. How can people treat others so badly?

Throughout history, people have identified others as “different” and taken them as slaves or used their “differences” as excuses for abuse. Whether it is gender, skin or eye color, religious beliefs, or disabilities, both physical and mental, the different person is singled out for abuse.

What about the small, the more intelligent, or the different that causes a group to perceive they are worthy only of maltreatment and persecution? From the barnyard to the schoolyard to civilized countries, it occurs.

I don’t understand it. Why would people mistreat others? Are they so unhappy or unsure of themselves they feel compelled to hurt others?

What can we do? Is it too big for the individual?

I think not.

Each time we stand up to the bullies, refuse to join the mob, or treat someone who is different better than the crowd, you stand up against inhumanity. You make a stand for goodness.

My challenge to you: Find someone this week who needs someone to stand up for them, and do it! If you find yourself in a situation where others mistreat the small or different, remove yourself from the situation or, better yet, stand up for them. See if you feel better about the situation.

Report back. Make my day.

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