I was sitting at Caribou writing an article on learning when I overheard a woman say over the phone:
“If she was a Kuwaiti I would’ve forgiven her. But I don’t see why she thinks she’s better than us to be this rude.”
I don’t know the details of the incident she was referring to. But what struck me was the variable in her moral equation: nationality.
A Kuwaiti girl can be forgiven for her rudeness, but a non-Kuwaiti can’t. This superiority complex is seen as a matter of fairness and morality, when it is simply an example of a corrupt moral view that places significance on nationality to determine how others are treated and when they can be forgiven.
I’m sure this woman had every intention to be fair and to do the right thing. But her moral judgement is skewed by an irrational consideration. It would be like discriminating based on skin color or shoe size. We are beginning to realize the obscenity of racism, and discrimination over shoe size seems too bizarre and ridiculous. But discrimination over nationality remains pretty common in Kuwait, unfortunately.
Seeing the world through a nationalistic social identity that attempts to prove the superiority of one’s nationality over others is only a figment of our imagination. It amplifies the offense we might experience from rude behavior because we feel that our identity as a “Kuwaiti” was attacked by someone we perceive as inferior to us.
It’s important to overlook a person’s nationality, gender, race, ethnicity, religion and family when it comes to determining how we should treat them, and to instead aim for positive outcomes that help promote happiness and discourage future conflicts.
Seeing others as anything besides “human” will likely compromise the empathy we might feel towards them, which will lead to compromising rational morality.