Although it takes a while for the game to express it, the entire conflict in Tales of Symphonia is based on the discrimination of half-elves.
Shunned by humans for their long age and avoided by elves for their human blood, most half-elves find themselves without a place in society.
4,000 years prior to Colette's journey, Mithos Yggdrasill, a half-elf, ended the ancient war and split the world in two in order to protect what would be best
described as the "spirit" of his sister, Martel. Faced with discrimination throughout his life and seeing his beloved sister killed by a human, Mithos lost his
strength to face discrimination and came up with the twisted theory that if everyone became the same race then discrimination would end. The fallen hero
wanted to create a world for him and his sister to live in. "The Age of the Half-Elves" became his goal, along with the
resurrection of Martel...
Discrimination continues into Lloyd's day, although it differs between Sylvarant and Tethe'alla. In the declining world of Sylvarant, the Desian
organization (part of Cruxis), which consists of half-elves, exploits humans for labor and Exsphere manufacturing.
Half-elves are therefore looked down upon, although the Desians are feared throughout the world. At one point, Lloyd asks how the Desians can
treat humans like that, but Kratos brings up the "chicken or the egg" question, implying that the exploitation of humans was a result of their own
discrimination against half-elves in the past. Because of this attitude towards half-elves in Sylvarant, Genis and Raine pose as elves during their time in
In Tethe'alla, the flourishing world, Genis and Raine are exposed as half-elves and immediately sentenced to death for participation in a crime. In
Tethe'alla there exists a caste system, with half-elves being the lowest caste. Most half-elves live in the floating city of Exire or work in secret basement
laboratories in various research institutes. Although discrimination existed for years prior to the Pope's rise to power, it was he who introduced such harsh
laws against half-elves and condemned them to work in dungeons. This is because his daughter, Kate, is a half-elf. The Pope grew scared of her because
she would outlive him, which reflects the attitudes of many humans toward half-elves. Elves in Tethe'alla dislike half-elves as well. The citizens of the hidden
elven village of Heimdall refuse to let Genis and Raine enter their village, even though Raine was born there. Their attitude does change by the end of the
game, when they realize that they merely stood by and watched the game's main conflict progress and yet never did anything about it.
Raine's personal feelings on her race aren't discussed much, probably because she's been seen as an elf for most of her life. Her companions don't share
the attitude towards half-elves that many people had, except Zelos, but even he accepts Genis and Raine as companions. Raine herself doesn't openly
make a big deal out of discrimination, unlike her brother who admits that he hates humans. Initially, she accepts the treatment in a calm manner,
although she certainly doesn't believe that it's right. It simply may have been that that she had no hope that people will
change their views. But her
time traveling with the party does prompt her to realize that neither being passive nor retaliating will help the problem.
The real test comes when the party returns to Iselia, and it's revealed that Raine and Genis are half-elves. While the mayor is angry and blames
the Desian attack on the pair, the townspeople are quick to come to their defense. And so Raine realizes that there is hope for change.
At one point, she does make this observation on her race: in a Z-Skit she states that her human blood gives her intellectual curiosity, while her elven
blood gives her the time to study. She says, "it's almost as if I'm acknowledging being happy I was born a half-elf." Her statement proves that she's no
longer going to hide her heritage; by the end if the journey she realizes that there's no fault with her, but rather the problem lies with people who are too
weak to accept those who are different. Prior to the final battle, Raine admits to an illusion of her mother that she is glad she was born a half-elf.
In her final scene of the game, it's revealed that she and Genis are going to travel the world to promote acceptance of half-elves.