OK, I know the question sounds a little bit extreme, but I'm writing a story in which there are two races of a same species, both rational and civilized, with cities and everything an actual society has. Both races are pictured as educated and not prone to violence (they're nice, but serious if needed people)

The thing is, both races hate each other, there are people among each race that would go to war if they can and support it, but there is no one who is OK with the other one, like... the most pacifist guy would still sit on the far side of the bus if they see a member of the other race in the front (that was just an explanatory scenario, they don't share cities.)

The thing is, the hate they have on each other must be well founded, it should be so that the reader doesn't think "Oh, there is NO way they can be like that", and it must be about race, not politics or religion. Also, it can't be a historical thing (Like, because of something that happened wayyy in the past) because they have the cultural level and the ethics to let go of the past if that was the case.

I was thinking of maybe something biological, but I don't think a virus or disease might work because I don't think it's possible for they to have evolved to the point where they share a planet on equal grounds (no race is noticeably poorer or richer in resources or education). Although, I'm open to suggestions on other areas aside from disease.

Finally, it can't be simply "nature" or because they are pretty much like humans, they can ignore their nature because they're rational.

EDIT: I'm going to give more details because I feel that some people who answered didn't get an important part of the question (probably my fault, I'm not from an English speaking country)

The idea here is that the reason not only isn't present in our world, but it's most likely that it is impossible that it applies to our world. Many people say in comments that it doesn't have an answer because I'm restricting the answer so it doesn't involve politics, history or religion, but I never said anything about geography, biology, chemistry or any science. Because its hard but very important in the story is why I'm pretty much open for you to do anything with the world, for example, does your reason need for them to live in separate continents? Sure, go for it. Thanks again for everyone who has answered, you have given me a lot of possible reasons I haven't considered.

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps they worship the same god but adhere to different prophets? $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 21:20
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    $\begingroup$ You dismiss history as not an option because they'd let go of things "way in the past", but a historic event that causes systematic racism would mean constant examples of racism in the present. Look at the Israel-Palestine relationship. It could be said to have been triggered by the Jewish settling after WW2 (over-simplification) but the conflict has raged on since. Even now I expect many people in both countries have been negatively effected by the constant conflict. It's not a matter of what happened in 1948, it's about what's still happening. $\endgroup$
    – Centimane
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 4:54
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    $\begingroup$ I only have a limited experience, but in every racist society I've heard enough about, not everyone is racist. Every society has people who don't share the common view. A lot of people have suggested answers along the lines of "It is physically unpleasant to be near the other race". I think that wouldn't lead to universal hatred. People would research whatever caused the effect, and try to come up with a solution for it. And if not, they would make friends via Skype. And if the effect was planet-wide, their societies would learn to deal with the effect before they met the other race. $\endgroup$
    – user7868
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ The only thing that can rationally justify this kind of hatred is if there's some unavoidable reason why members of one race would want to harm members of the other, for example they ate eachother. Although even then, that only justifies eating eachother, not eating eachother while scowling and thinking about how much they deserved it. I think the fundamental problem is that you want to rationally justify hatred, something which is intrinsically irrational. $\endgroup$
    – Jack M
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 11:58
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Did humans ever need a reason to discriminate against other races? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 15:05

32 Answers 32


Assuming that you are looking for "rational" reasons, you need a real issue that make both races incompatible. Something that not only makes them to keep distance but also to dislike the others. This is my proposal: mutual alergic reaction.

Each race is alergic to the skin cells from the other one, so they cannot be in contact. And, as most of the dust we find it our homes is produced by our skin cells (we are constantly renewing our skin), when one race has been in a zone for a long time, that zone becomes uninhabitable for the other, so they can not share resources like food, clothes, tools or any other hand-made thing. They are in a ethernal quarantine for each other, so they see the others as an illness (like zombies) that tries to expand their territory by "contaminating" the soil that they step on.


One race systematically dominates the other in all aspects of life, especially economic. The dominant one is contemptuous of the dominated, because they are dominated. At the same time the dominant fears the dominated, because of the possibility of revolution. The dominated just hates because they are dominated.

That sounds pretty plausible to me.

  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't that trigger both politics & history? Both of these things are stated in the third paragraph of the question to not being acceptable reasons by the OP $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ This won't work on the supposed scenario, unfortunately. The OP postulated that the races are more or less on equal grounds. $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ /equal grounds/ sure - separate but equal. That has been done and not just a little. / trigger/ Not sure where politics and religion get read into this. Neither is mentioned. This is race. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ To be honest, they probably thought political on the grounds of "every aspect of life especially economic." This would also include political. The event of being dominated would be a historical point in which one race began to dominate another. Instead of something that always was like a physical trait. The rest of the argument is just a logic trap basically rephrasing how domination works as a mind set. None of which actually provide an answer as to WHY this happens or HOW it happened which is what OP is looking for. Being that both societies are educated $\endgroup$
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ if one were to be dominated, there would be a lack of adequate material to provide high level of education. Dominant civilization would more than likely suppress education and civility so that, using your example of revolution, people are not smart enough to work together to try to create a revolution. $\endgroup$
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 22:33

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