The process of OTHERING OTHERS is a sociological, psychological, anthropological and philosophical undercover tactic to dehumanise and delegitimise others thus develop the ‘US’ and ‘THEM’ syndrome. Ordinarily ‘US’ will be superior and ‘THEM’ inferior. Othering is a process of seeing others as dissimilar, different, alien i.e. NOT ONE OF US. Othering deliberately makes others less human and less worthy of respect and dignity. The process of othering others manifests itself in neo-colonialism, racism, tribalism, regionalism, ethnicity, xenophobia, sexism, denominationalism, religious partisanship, gender discrimination and all other forms of discrimination. As a matter of illustration, colonialism in Africa created Hybrid Africans who were moulded in well-monitored conditions so that they would accept themselves as second class citizens in their own land. The South African Apartheid Ideology features highly as a system which was constructed with African inferiority as justification for them to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. Unfortunately the process of othering others has become more subtle and more sophisticated in light of globalisation. While the world is now deemed to be a global village, the question is: Who is the Village Head? In the Religious community, the problem of constructing others is equally an eyesore. Identifying others as belonging to a category is what we see in the story of the Good Samaritan. The setting of the story is that there is a man in need because he has been attacked by thugs and left battling for life. These thugs view this man as the OTHER deserving to be stripped of his belongings. To the thugs, WHAT IS YOURS IS MINE, I WILL TAKE IT. The Priest and the Levite pass through but avoid helping this man for religious reasons i.e. they would become ceremonially unclean if by default the man had died. To the Priest and the Levite, WHAT IS MINE IS MINE, I WILL KEEP IT. Ceremonial cleanness was more important than helping the OTHER. It was the good Samaritan who helped this man even to the point of incurring costs. To the Good Samaritan, WHAT IS MINE IS YOURS, I WILL GIVE IT. The Good Samaritan understood what it meant to be OTHERED because Samaritans were products of intermarriage between gentiles and Jews hence they were viewed as less human according to Jewish classifications of that time. THOU SHALT NOT OTHER OTHERS.
OTHERING OTHERS: THE ‘US’ AND ‘THEM’ SYNDROME (Luke 10:30-35)