Okay, thanks for clicking the link. I have a feeling I'm going to get a bit longwinded here. I'll try not to.
I don't want to get into political issues that have been going on for years and years, I don't want to turn this into a discussion of one race vs. another race. We've all discussed this. Most decent people agree that it's wrong to hate someone based on their race, religion, sexual prefrence, whatever. I personally hold to the philosphy that pretty much everyone is an asshole till they prove otherwise. I don't discriminate.
But, here is my issue... I'm working on my world, in particular my biographys of certain characters, and I've got one who's really stumping me, for the simple fact that he believes that someone who has been declared to be a slave is no longer human. And I'm trying for the life of me to figure out how he justifies this, but I guess I just have a mental block.
However, I know that this isn't an impossible viewpoint. Because it wasn't that far back in history when we saw situations of people thinking that other people weren't really people anymore, but something lesser.
I can understand if you ran into someone who was kinda human shaped, but couldn't talk, couldn't learn to talk, didn't understand what fire was, and showed no sign of intelligence, how you might easily think, 'That is not a person, therefore, it doesn't deserve the same rights as a person." In particular, if you found out this shambling creature lives in a group of others who are equally strange looking and show equal signs of having no intelligence. No, I don't think that's right either, but I can see where someone's first conclusion is, "Not a person, kill 'em all."
Before anyone leaps, I'm not advocating the murder of animals either. I'm not a vegitarian, but I'm not for open cruelty to animals. I'm just saying I can actually see where someone would have the POV of the paragraph above. I don't think it's right I can just see it.
But, how the hell did white people ever think that black people, or native americans weren't human beings? How could the Nazis think that Jewish people weren't human (And yes, some really did think they weren't human?)
I must have brain damange, because this is how I see it....
It looks like a person. It walks upright. Maybe I don't understand it's language, but it's pretty clear it has one. Yes, I can understand that if you are a white person, who has never seen a black person, straight from Africa, that your first reaction might be, "Oh dear, it looks different!" but that's a gut reaction. Once you get over that, you have to see. This person walks, they talk, they reason with other members of those who speak their language. They don't live in the trees, or shit their own nests... they might be different, but they are showing all the signs of being people.
So how can you possibly conclude it isn't?
A lot of the people who were involved in the slave trade in the USA were pretty religious people and mostly Christain (Yeah, I'm not proud of that...) and that baffles me too. Genesis makes it clear that Man was pretty unique. How can you see something that is soo much like you and not conclude it's a person? God didn't make things that were "Just like human but not quite."
We'll leave the evolution argument for another time. Yes, I believe in Evolution, but in those days most people didn't especially good Christians and let's face it, a chimp might look more human than a bever, but it's still pretty clear it's not human.
Now, let's say you've got a mental block that allows you to think that "Well, cause they don't speak just like us, or look exactly like us, they're not human." (Which is retarded, but I'll allow my mind to bend that far...) so, you say, "These creatures are not real people, so it's okay to treat them like animals and buy and sell them."
So, you rip them away from their homes, cause hell, they're just dumb animals... and you sell them.
Now, you've brought them to your country. And you teach them your language. And you find out that yes, they are perfectly capable of speaking your language as well as they spoke their own. Clearly, they aren't any less inteligent. Maybe ignorant of the culture, but that's due clearly to not being raised here. As time goes on, they'll get more savvy to the culture, it's inevitable.
Now, let's go further... you discover that you can breed with this... thing that isn't a person. Oh, sure, maybe you didn't actually have sex with one of them, but you had to know someone who did.
If you cross a donkey with a horse, you get a mule, that cannot breed. Close doesn't quite cut it in nature. You have to be the same to breed. People who are the product of two different races of people, are just as able to reproduce as anyone else is.
So, how can you think they aren't people? How can you think someone is not human?
I'm not trying to get into the whole gushy, "People are people, so let's all hold hands!" I'm just talking facts. How can you look at something that resembles you, speaks like you, and can even have children with you, and fail to see that it's another person?
This has actually bugged me for a number of years, and I never did find a decent answer to the question.... and maybe I never will. But, now that I'm facing a situation where I have to create a character who actually does believe that there are certain people who by circumstances of poverty, or being victims of war, whatever, are not people. And I have not a clue how to get into his mindset.
Even worse, I'm creating a world where he isn't the only one. Slavery is acceptable. But, I figure most people look at it as they are people, they're just "Not as good" because they were either captured, became so poor that this was their only option, or committed a crime and this is their punishment. But I have this one guy that the only reason he's able to do what he does is because he doesn't believe that these people in the slave markets are really people. The moment they were marked as slaves, their membership into the "being" race ended. They're just animals.
I'd try to totally wing it, if it wasn't for the fact that I know this has happened in history. I know there was a time where people who society considered to be perfectly moral and upright felt this way. And I just want to know if anyone can think of any reasons, any way their mind worked, just so maybe I can grasp it right.
Sorry if I offended anyone with this. Yes, I believe everyone is a human being regardless of race, religion, sexual prefrences, etc. I may not like who you are, but I won't deny that you are a person, not a non-person. I just want to know what reasons some people in history (and maybe even in the present day.. sadly) would have for believing that someone who looks, talks, and can for god's sake breed with "your kind" could not be considered human?