Otherism explored

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    Harry Gordon Coupland

    Before accepting Paul’s concept of otherism as being somewhat unique and worthy of being added to the dictionary, I took a gander at the Internet and found several references to the word.
    The first is by wordnik.com where they say that the word is defined in the Century Dictionary as “Regard for the rights, welfare, and point of view of others; altruism; in evolutionary philosophy, “the struggle for the life of others,” especially for the life of offspring”. Hardly the concept that Paul suggests!
    Looking further I found at least two that did conform to what Paul is saying. The first of these comes from the Havok Journal and is titled: “Otherism”: What Place Does It Have? by Aaron Parrott, a retired U.S. Soldier. It is well worth reading.


    Another comes to us from Elon University in a paper called Fear and “Otherism” by Tyler Lehman. Tyler offers, “Otherism is the overarching term that describes various prejudices such as racism, classism, and sexism. It’s the sometimes-inhuman feelings we have towards another who is different from us for any reason”.

    Fear and “Otherism”

    When considering what effect “Otherism” has on us, I feel a sense of guilt. Dan Sanchez writes about this in Pathways to Family Wellness when he asks, “Otherism: are you not selfish enough/”


    Thank you, Paul for encouraging me to dig deeper.

    #145 Reply
    Paul Shepherd

    Thanks for that research Harry.

    I’m actually glad that the concept of “otherism” is more widespread than I thought.

    One other thing I like about otherism is that ALL of us have been victimized in one context or another, so we can choose to see the experience as a point to bond together over – so that we can oppose it more forcefully.

    And thanks for your reflection,

    … Paul

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