The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Monday, February 15, 2010

Cancer, John Mayer and "Please Don't Call Me Racist" : Diffusing the R-Bomb


Look: Let's use a less inflamatory word for a moment. Call it tribalism. The natural tendency of an individual to want to sped time with, and favor, one's "own," however you define that, is almost universal. Race, gender, religion, political party, home team--we do this in a thousand ways. As individuals, whites aren't any more "tribal" than anyone else, on average. It is the fact that their culture has been so successful at controlling territory and memes that gives that natural tendency "unfair" advantage. Every group would like to think itself better, smarter, sexier, and closer to God than everyone else. While of course it would be nice if whites woke up to their privilege...but they aren't any more "awake" than any other group, and I've never been around a group of whites, blacks, gays, straights, men, women, liberals, or conservatives who didn't start organizing the world to make their position the "right" one, and try to manipulate or force the other groups into doing things "their way." Octavia Butler said that two things worried her about humanity: the tendency of people to create hierarchies of human value, and our tendency to place ourselves higher on that hierarchy than we place others. We can't expect groups to be more conscious that we are as individuals. Love and fear compete for the same space in our hearts.



www.realherosjourney.com
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

3 comments:

Dan Moran said...

My ethnic identity is "Lakers fan." You could do worse. (Like those poor bastards from Boston, for example....)

Tribalism is natural. But it can be channeled in healthy ways.

Pagan Topologist said...

I agree, Dan. My ethnic identity is definitely summed up in my screen name here. Both "Pagan" and "Topologist" are at the very core of who I am. Other things, such as "sf fan" are important, but are definitely add-ons, not part of my tribal essence.

Anonymous said...

"Every group would like to think itself better, smarter, sexier, and closer to God than everyone else."

Except when they forget chances to do just that. Like some American soccer fans ("America never wins the World Cup" No, our team won in 1991 and 1999) and some Ghanian soccer fans in 2006 ("Ghana's 1st time in the World Cup!" No, it's your 3rd, your team played in 1999 and 2003).

"My ethnic identity is "Lakers fan." You could do worse. (Like those poor bastards from Boston, for example....)"

Did you hear about the ones yelling "YANKEES SUCK" at a Dave Matthews concert?