It seems odd that in today’s technologically advanced societies in Europe and elsewhere our views of other groups continue to pose major challenges. If I had to picture the situation in a cartoon, I would draw a picture of one of our first primates, Australopithecus africanus, which existed 2-3 million years before present sitting in front of a computer and speaking to the future with a Skype time machine.
Even though an image of an Australopithecus africanus may shock some of us, we could, if we learned how to communicate with this ancestor, find common opinions on how diversity can jeopardize the social integrity of the group.
If there is a new watershed that the Internet and globalization has brought it could be the chance to be more independent from some of the more adverse values (like those that fuel racism and discrimination) of society. Thus we could, so to speak, eat our cultural cake and have it at the same time.
The problem, I believe, is that traditional modern societies and some of its different members, especially the seats of power, are reticent to such change because it would undermine their economic, political and social power. Race or ethnicity is only a pretext to identify and exclude others from society’s pot of gold.
The modern society of the future (unless we end up destroying ourselves) will be built on diversity inside a hybrid cultural existence. We accept this form of society because we profit from it economically, environmentally and socially. If, however, we resist this change in a bellicose fashion, we will continue to be regulated by wars and petty and not-so-petty conflicts.
The new society that sees diversity as normal will be a huge step from classifying our world from the suspicious and hostile “us” and “them.”