aka Tribalism in the new century
Well here we are, 2017 6 Muslims murdered, 17 Jewish synagogues and daycare centres shut down by bomb threats, mass demonstrations, hundreds detained at airports across the US, and an unapologetic demagogue derailing the US constitution, dividing his country in the most tactless manner.
So where does that leave us? I’m canadian so what can I? should I do? I’m a quite certain I know what the answer from the Alt right citizens of america would be… what they would tell me to do…. And believe me no one anywhere would be happier right now if the US existed in a bubble where its current dangerous, horrific policies did not affect other nations, particularity mine… But as the slaughter of 6 Muslims in Quebec drew gory attention to (being as the perpetrator was a white nationalist, who espoused support for trump, as well as other alt right anti immigrant politicians) What happens in the US has profound effects in the countries of its neighbours, allies, and indeed the world at large. Canada too has experienced an empowerment of the alt right racist nationalist in our country due to the trump effect. not just in the circles of extremism, but in the daily lives of “ordinary” Canadians the increased xenophobic dialogue, individuals that now feel comfortable expressing all sorts of “opinions” (and ‘i put that in parenthesis not because I want to draw attention to the word in specific, but because hate speech is not just a simple opinion, its something that doesn’t only damage the targeted individuals self-esteem, but can lead violence that results in injury even murder of the targeted group/individual) towards a specific group of people, religions and indeed skin tones….
Racism is not new to Canada, nor would I imagine any part of the world. Tribalism it seems is evolutionarily ingrained into human beings…..sadly….However that does not give tribalism (or as many define it racism) a free pass to be an accepted part of our society and everyday lives. indeed it should be the impetuous for us to make all efforts to overcome such destructive behaviour. if you read socio-biological studies about rapes role throughout human history, it becomes clear that in more primitive paleo societies it was not viewed as the heinous crime it is now. I don’t think many of us would argue that this moral advancement in our society and behaviour was a positive one (and if you don’t believe that, feel free to send me an email and I will gladly forward it to creep catchers and the police) Like rape, tribalism is an evolutionary hang-over that we should all be actively fighting against, both in ourselves and in our societies. I feel any person with the slightest bit of humanity would feel the same….. but they don’t, we as a collective don’t. we excuse justify and enable… Does that make many of us amoral barbarians? (part of me screams yes. the part of me that rages at the Muslims hating posts that have appeared on several media stories about the 6 killed in quebec) however I think it has a deeper cause , a permission within our society that has allowed it to flourish unchecked well beyond its evolutionary usefulness… and Trump is a prime example of how this has happened. Tribalism is a tool for governments corporations, and indeed even village councils (trying to increase attendance at local events) to aquire and maintain your support….
Used for centuries by kings to gather the serfs behind the march of armies conquering new lands, it is still used with the same effectiveness on our modern populations. its breadth has been extended in to the daily consumption, brand loyalty and preference. I have even found myself falling prey to this in the android vs apple wars as I prefer androids more open platform (although learning today that google had given 14+ million in political donations during the election with the lions share going to the republican party has tainted my brand loyalty a good deal)…. So we are bombarded daily with tribalistic messages “buy this because we made it”, “do this because you are like us and that’s what we do”…. not to mention we are raised in environments where nationalism is how we start our day, followed by school loyal sporting events, team allegiances… it’s endless and non-stop to the point where very few even notice it, and find themselves participating in it with rapt enthusiasm….. Go canucks….. even socially we are broken down into ideological and gender based tribes, women’s coffee groups, mens poker night, big hair, no hair, old, young…… all-pervasive… so why should it come as a surprise that all this tribalism then manifests based on colour and religion. we are programmed for it, and one starts to wonder if there is even a way to break its influence. of course power structures and corporate entities have no desire because their empires are built on maintaining our primal tribal instinct.
As for nationalist/populous/protectionism…..We are such easy prey for this programming. natural human inclinations to shift responsibility from ourselves (or those that control us) for our misfortunes, makes it easy to set us against each other, rather than putting the blame where it belongs. job loss and weak economies are entirely caused by bad governmental decisions/regulations and corporate entities that siphon wealth from the land and people, yet being as we feel powerless against these forces, we are much more easily swayed to blaming those we can do something about.. (of course this leads us down exactly the path we are on now building walls and killing innocent people)
My conclusion is one of complete defeat on sadness on many levels. what does this continuing era of xenophobia and hatred mean for us? it means that we can only hope that profit comes before insanity, and the leaders of our new world see it as unprofitable to continue to exploit tribalism for personal gain and power (because we the completely inducted population will not likely have the will to resist our own tribalistic programming) that they realise they will make more money, have more power if they consolidate us into one large consuming tribe, rather than divide us into war…..
What can I do? should I do? Well I would love to see us truly examine, with honestly, humility, and compassion, our motivations for engaging in hatred and blaming. I would like to think it is possible if we understand our weakness and lack of self-determination we can overcome our own natural instincts, much the way we have outgrown rape culture (for the most part). We need a good dose of logical, rational, self-criticism as a society, as well as individuals. Beyond that we need to stop hiding under excuses and fears, we need to take on the worst in ourselves, and confront the worst in others. Don’t just stand there when someone says “I fucking hate indians” don’t just look or walk away when someone makes jokes about bindi dots and curry, when someone berates Muslims, or suggests someone shouldn’t be allowed to be here. By silence you are giving permission, and if you sit down and have a coffee with that person the next day, you are in fact enabling them. you see, you are part of their tribe and by your silence you are assumed to be agreeing with them…. I know I have done this as well, and now regret every time i did not speak up. Because I am part of the culture that allowed a 27-year-old white nationalist to walk into a mosque and take 6 innocent lives… I am complicit in his crimes, and so are you….