Tribalism, which can be defined as “the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group,” is an ongoing problem in our society – and I am beginning to think it is more deeply rooted than I had imagined. Of course, there are the obvious and blatant examples of racism in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and the brutally racist comments that can be found on social media in response to that situation. Then there are the relatively harmless examples of loyalty to sports teams that can create conflict, but nothing on a major scale in the absence of other psychological pathology. Over the last several months, however, I have stumbled into conversations with everyday people who have revealed to me their deep prejudice and even hatred of certain groups of people that is completely contradictory in these otherwise intelligent and well spoken people. It’s not just white people hating people of color, it’s people whose heritage is rooted in other parts of the world but who were born and raised here in America still fighting the ongoing battles of their homeland. It’s statements that begin, “All those ___________” and continue, “are _________ ,” made by people who have the intelligence to know better but whose visceral response is primitive and tribal. In other words, it seems that knowing better doesn’t change their hearts. That’s a pretty sad statement, and it’s indicative of spiritual immaturity on an epidemic level. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised since mature spiritual teaching is rather uncommon in America, most religions having chosen to focus on what people do with their genitals rather than authentic spiritual teaching that transforms hearts and lives. We have a lot of work to do, and the problem won’t be solved overnight.
One thought on “Tribalism”
This is a subject that also concerns me-as you said, it is a surprise when it comes from the mouths of otherwise intelligent people. I wish I knew what to do-but I just handle each situation individually. It is pretty fk’n ridiculous in this day and age-but a reality none the less.