You might ask why? Well, I've recently picked up an interesting anime called イヴの時間 (Time of Eve) placed in a probably-not-so-distant future and focused on social problems with androids (human looking robots). And it striked me how much the problems depicted there have in common with the various you-are-different-therefore-we-must-lynch-you types of behaviour. In the aforementioned anime the main theme is the striking difference between how the androids feel (yes you read right, there is much more to them than just looking like humans, they also have emotions and such) and how they are treated (as mere machines).
I think this 'treat' is somehow interconected with mankind's whole history. Some of the prominent examples of this behaviour include (to more or less extent) the witch hunt from middle ages, mass Indian murdering when conquering over Americas, black slaves and subseqent hatred towards black people, Hitler's move against Judaism and in the current times I'd mention fear of Arabic people or animosity towards Gipsies. And looking through movies it's pretty much common to depict aliens and/or robots as a threat to mankind (and I think the reasons are pretty much the same as in the previous examples).
Now, I think all this stuff 'is complete balls' (to quote Stephen Fry). I mean I laugh at rasist jokes, I laugh at religion-related jokes, I laugh at jokes about physicists (which depicts us as unsociable, being only men or ugly women, totaly impractical...) when I find them funny and I don't care whether they are 'politically correct'. I think the whole political correctness thing is a totally wrong approach. Because it's encouraging precisely what it tries to fight against – discrimination. One of the examples from my country is usage of two different words for Gipsy people – cikáni and romové. Ever since these people came into the Bohemian and Moravian lands they were called by themselves, as well as other people, cikáni (or cigáni) and now this precise word has been labeled as politically incorrect or even racist. Since their official nationality is 'romská' they are to be referred to as 'romové'.
And to what end? To singling them out. And IMHO that's a problem. Well, yes, these people are socially problematic because they are used to different lifestyle, but have you people ever heard of tolerance? I mean it's wrong to force our lifestyle onto them. When I approach these people I try to act without prejudice. I don't care if the person I am talking to is Czech, Slovak, German, Gipsy, Vietnamese, whatever. The things I care about is whether we have something to talk about. Differences are a good thing and especially cultural and lifestyle differences makes the culture of human kind much more rich. We should learn from each other, listen to each other, not clash.
But to draw some conclusion from this random not-much-connected stream of thoughts... The law in most western countries makes it hard to not discriminate precisely because antidiscrimination paragraphs. If you do not accept a Gipsy/woman into a job because you found a better Czech/man for it you are risking you'll be acused from discrimination. With that thought in mind it's not easy to not discriminate. But yet, one should try to. Don't let the outer differences blind your mind. It does not matter if your friend, lover, employee, teacher, ... has black or white skin, whether he's native or foreigner, whether they're man or woman, whether he's Christian, Muslim or atheist, whether he's handsome or ugly, ... Don't think in groups, think in individuals. Black people have nothing in common save the colour of their skin (and some other characteristics in looks) and there's not a single reason to approach them differently because they are black. It's the stuff you don't see that matters. Also, don't discriminte positively – hiring women just to make the female/male ratio in your company 1:1 is an utmost craziness!
Anyway, these are just my thoughts... you are completely free to disagree with them ;-)
Erm... After re-reading what I've written... Arrr... I suck in philosophy and I think this small wandering into that strange land will have been for a long time the only one (luckily for you for not having to read this nonsense as well as for me for not having to embarrass myself)...
EDIT: Well, to put something linux related... the community around FLOSS is actually a pretty good example of how things would idealy be. We are people from around the whole world, with different nationalities, different beliefs (both in political and religious sense) yet we are able to work and communicate together and produce great things like Fedora. But even there there are times when things go wrong. One of the recent example is one of the negative feedback we received about the Leonidas Beta wallpaper. About the reactions was one of the kind I talk about in the above text – a concern that we have a symbol of worshipping ancient gods (temple) included in the wallpaper. A typical thing I don't give a damn about. Just imagine a world where drawing a temple marks you a public enemy. Indeed a sad imagination.
And now for something completely different:
The 3 most probable causes for extinction of mankind are IMHO:
- Genetic degeneration combined with global pandemic
- Pollution (mainly of air and water)
Have a nice day ;-)