Last edited by Arcadius; 03-06-11 at 06:31 PM.
Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.~ Ernest Hemingway
Veni. Vidi. Vici.
-Gaius Julius Caesar
The Only Thing to Fear is Fear Itself.
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt
One can argue about differences between human racial or ethnic groups, and whether they are significant. Personally I think that differences in culture are more relevant, and much more real and have a more substantial effect in the real world.
For instance, I have far more in common with a Hindi person who is a 2nd generation American, the child of immigrants from India, than I would with a Brahman living in Calcutta who has never been here, or a Chinese peasant who has never travelled more than 30 miles from the rice-farming village in which he was born.
Still, we're all humans and there are a fair number of mental traits we share in common. Aliens could be drastically different.... even incomprehensibly so.
They could reproduce asexually and have no distinction of gender, which would mean massive differences in their instincts and culture. Their primary sense might be a form of sonar, and the concept of "color" might be totally beyond their comprehension. They might communicate via biological radio waves and consider me deaf and mute because I can't.
Perhaps species Y is physically tougher by far than humans, has vastly greater trauma resistance and rapid regeneration, and six inch claws that pop out of their forearms. They might consider a shallow slash across the torso as the equivalent of a hard elbow-nudge, as a suitable reaction to rudeness. It might take an ongoing effort for them to remember how fragile and easily killed other species are, and struggle to restrain themselves in the presence of non-Y-aliens.
Species Z might be a small fragile hollow-boned species whose instinctive reaction to danger is to drop to the ground and freeze. Z's might have an enormous aversion to all meat-eaters and all species capable of violence. They might consider human sports like football or ice hockey to be the equivalent of gladiatorial deathmatches or feeding slaves to the lions. The mere presence of humans might send a flock of Z's into screaming panic, much like humans would react to an unrestrained tiger.
Those are just a few possibilities, culled from a lifetime of reading science-fiction. Real aliens might be even more strange, and the ability to reason and learn might not be enough to overcome fundamental differences and allow full interaction and integration.
The single biggest issue seperating species, however, might be technology. While I have never bought into the idea that starfaring aliens would necessarily be angelic in their benevolence and perfection, nor demigodlike in their science, there could be enormous differences in tech. Would super-advanced aliens treat us like equals or exploit us, or ignore us? Would we treat iron-age aliens like equals or protect them or exploit them?
The scenario painted in the OP seems to assume that differences in tech/science are not so drastic as to give one species automatic dominance, so I'll go from that and assume that the playing field is at least halfway level.
I think the differences that exist between species who developed on different worlds could be vastly more significant than the differences between human "races" or ethnic/cultural groupings. I suspect that we would find aliens with whom we shared the most common traits and form alliances, while others who possessed traits or cultures or systems we found repugnant would become our enemies or rivals. How much competition there would be for resources like habitable planets, unobtainium or other McGuffins would have a lot to do with it.
Where would I, personally, stand on the issue of "racial" (actually species) equality/integration/etc? Well I'd be facinated by aliens, it's my nature... but ultimately my goals would be the advancement and promotion of the HUMAN species, and secondarily the intrests of our alien allies. Alien species can do their own thing on their own worlds and I don't care that much, but when human and alien intrests come into conflict, my preference would be for humans to come out on top.
As molten dragon said, if it is us vs them, I vote in favor of "us".
If that makes me a "speciesist", so be it.
Fiddling While Rome Burns
Carthago Delenda Est
"I used to roll the dice; see the fear in my enemies' eyes... listen as the crowd would sing, 'now the old king is dead, Long Live the King.'.."