Skip to content

What’s the Problem, Racism or Tribalism?

The God who created the splendor of bright yellow daffodils, deep blue water, and stark white snow also created the splendor of the Yellow, Black and White racial tribes. These racial tribes have almost no significant biological differences, but they do have distinctive external appearances, distinctive spiritual endowments, and they have developed distinctive cultures. Each tribe adds a different and valuable element to the garden of humanity. Therefore, racial tribes are intended to be complementary and synergistic with one another.

Three distinct tribes were sent to North America. Each has a special and necessary role to play in developing our country. To allow each tribe to flourish, our Founders were divinely inspired to establish a country intended to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave”…”with liberty and justice for all”. With such tribal and constitutional features, the United States had, and still has, the potential to become a prototype nation unique in human history.

These three tribes now have a 400-year history of living together on this continent. A magnificent and blessed nation has been created. But, sadly, an indelible feature of our nation’s story is the ungodly descent into tribalism, into a history that has included expropriation, bondage, chattel slavery, forced segregation, and unequal access to justice, freedom, and dignity. The conclusion must be that America’s problem is the more comprehensive and complex problem of tribalism, rather than the simplistic diagnosis of racism.

Perhaps tribalism and democracy do not mix well. The tribe that is in the majority has controlled the institutions of democracy and has oppressed those tribes in the minority. If we want to retain our democracy, we must complete the task of overcoming tribalism. In doing so, we may indeed establish a prototype nation that can benefit the myriad of other nations also suffering from the nightmare of tribalism.

What is your reaction to this idea of the three racial tribes each having a distinctive role in the development of this country?

What is your opinion of this diagnosis of racism vs tribalism?

What is the path for overcoming the problem of tribalism?

Please share your thoughts below.

Notify me
Notify of
guest
8 Conversation additions
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Williams
John Williams
1 month ago

Jim, I’m intrigued by your distinction but as I read the dialogue, I don’t really see the value in the semantic distinction. You mention the Asian racial tribe and White racial tribe fighting over entrance into elite school–racial hate vs.tribal hate. Both mean stereotyping and prejudice, and I don’t see much difference. Please help me see the important distinction.

Roger Wetherall
Roger Wetherall
2 months ago

According to NPR, the modern usage of the word “Racism” goes back to 1902 when Richard Henry Pratt used it to describe the way that Indian Tribes were being segregated from the wider society in reservations. This is a system that we have condemned in more recent times under a different name: “Apartheid”. As a solution, he proposed “Assimilation’ and the forcible education of Native Amerian children in the culture of western civilization. This also was not such a positive solution! To Integrate or not to integrate? This is the big question? If we promote the idea of inter-marriage and assimiliation of cultures, then eventually the minority culture may become so assimilated and absorbed that it ceases to have any distinct characteristics that would enable it to be identified as different from the mainstream. Perhaps this would be a good thing but perhaps a lot of culture, language and tradition… Read more »

Kate Tsubata
Kate Tsubata
2 months ago

I’m not sure I agree with the re-framing of racism as tribalism. Tribalism sounds like everyone belongs to a respective group, identifying with it. Racism is a non-chosen situation, in which another group imposes the designation that you belong to a certain group. You have no choice. Racism in America has always involved destruction of rights and violent and confiscatory behaviors. It’s not two equal status groups competing for access to a finite pool of resources. It’s one group declaring the other lower and of sub-human status, and an acceptable target for behaviors that are unconscionable. Another difficulty with this framing is that repeated groups arrived long after the first division of black and white happened, yet those groups were absorbed without problem into the dominant group after one generation. But after 400 years, the black people still seem to be deemed different and get treated differently. I think this… Read more »

Anne-Marie Mylar
Anne-Marie Mylar
2 months ago

I agreed with you Jim. There might not be racism in some parts of the world, but there is tribalism. Racism and tribalism are the same type of conflict – they are based on the principles of selfishness and self preservation. Self preservation cannot be avoided as it is in our DNA from the start, but it has to include the preservation of everyone else too, not their destruction simply because we are afraid. Overcoming racism does not mean just accepting and respecting the other race. Overcoming racism means changing my behavior from being afraid to being able to appreciate the differences in color, behavior, and customs of people different than me. And, that can only be accomplish by educating oneself about what we do not know and understand. Self denial, that is taught in Unificationism does not mean “I am a worm and you can step on me.” It… Read more »

Chris Noble
Chris Noble
2 months ago

I agree with comparing races and tribes — they both have social and genetic (parentage) dimensions. However, I observe all around the world that there is a broad diversity of distinct races and tribes. You can’t compress this diversity into three (Yellow, Black and White). I grew up in a society with deep antagonism between two distinct tribes, both of which you would call “White”. They definitely did not consider themselves to be members of the same tribe.The same situation exists in many parts of Africa and Asia.

Gordon L. Anderson
Gordon L. Anderson
2 months ago

Tribes are essentially based on face-to-face relations, the level of communities, towns, and townships. Race is a broader category that is an identity group composed of many tribes. Tribalism is a clash between communities, traditionally fighting over land and resources. Today in the US, special interest groups fighting over state and federal coffers are a variation on the traditional tribal fighting over land and animals. This tribalism reflects dependence on either mother nature, or on an organized human society. It is both indicative of growth-stage consciousness, and lack of personal productivity that would not require dependence or theft. Race is an identity based on skin color. It is on par with religion, ethnicity, or nationality in that one has an affinity for or distaste of other people based on a superficial categorization, When one reaches a higher consciousness, looking at one’s character or heart, such superficial identities disappear. The First… Read more »

John Williams
John Williams
Reply to  Gordon L. Anderson
2 months ago

Gordon, your last paragraph reflects really original thinking. Thanks for this provocative thought.

I wish I could suggest a solution.

8
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Be the First to Know