Time to move past tribalism

Basir Jamil expressed himself eloquently in his article "Growing up Muslim" (Sept. 12). I'm sure he echoes the sentiments of many other Muslim-Americans. His analogy, that blaming Muslims for terrorism is like blaming all Christians for the KKK, had both substance and point.

When I consider discrimination in the United States, two thoughts emerge. Evolution worked to produce an intense, natural inclination in human beings to separate themselves into coalitions; us against them. This penchant for exclusivity had survival value as strangers often posed a threat to one's own group concerning resources, females, territory, etc. Unfortunately, we're still thinking with prehistoric brains. We are suspicious of people we see as different.

Secondly, the U.S. has a history of meddling in the affairs of other nations. This interference, sometimes inappropriate and generally unappreciated, engenders animosity. Other states react in ways to protect their own self-interest, which can include an aggressive response and actuate enmity.

This "us vs. them" mentality can be assuaged with tolerance and understanding. It's been my experience that familiarity with others reveals a universal commonality. We all want the same things: respect, family, peace of mind, creature comforts, and a congenial community in which to pursue our dreams.

John Kehl, Towson

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