A brain extension. Organise your thoughts
New Note

Everyone is, actually. Or rather, everyone is prejudiced / scared of other groups. Show me someone who you claim isn’t, and I’ll point out who the other tribe(s) are. They may not be racial differentiated, some examples:

Scientists can be uncomfortable with artists, and vice-versa. University campus divisions are more likely to be along discipline rather than racial lines.

Techies:  Comfortable with the aspergic, socially disfunctional of any ethnic / sexual mix - or anyone in jeans + metal t-shirt + hoodie (or dressed as a comic book hero for that matter. Uncomfortable with unintelligent people of all flavours, but especially lads/jocks. Suspicious of females, marketing types, hipsters.

Lads: Uncomfortable with anyone dressed as a comic book hero, or who comes across as too clever. Unable to understand anyone on the spectrum.

Further, we identify with multiple groups - some may be along racial or geographical lines but others are not - e.g. I’m a techie, and thus am more comfortable at a comic-con than a marketing meeting.

My identified groups are musicians, techies, intelligent, open minded people. That means I’m pretty comfortable with different races, religions, genders, sexual orientations - however, I’m scared of closed minded people, misogynistic people, those who hold extreme views (in any direction) without consideration or ability to moderate their thoughts. Being a techie I’m suspicious of marketing people. 

From an evolutionary perspective we are distrustful of outside tribes. Centuries ago we grew up with the same small group of people - we knew them all deeply; not just their personalities but their fundamental characters. We needed to be suspicious of representatives approaching from another tribe. The chance they were friendly and wished to trade must be balanced against the possibility they would rape their women. kill their men and claim their land and resources for themselves.

As societies evolved, governance spread to cover regions and whole continents, giving consistent (if not always balanced) justice systems and groups expanded to cover their similarly looking and same language speaking country folk - after which scepticism was directed to those across borders (and often with good reason). Narcissistic ideologues tend to apply for positions of power, and countries with superiority complexes have a history of attempting to spread their brilliance. Soldiers can be readily found if those invaders / invadees are first branded as “other” - different to them and thus a threat to their families and friends. Invasion means either spreading your “goodness” - no matter what terrible means it takes to make that happen - or defending your culture, even if that means sacrificing people.

In the modern world, these deep suspicions still hold - we want to preserve our cultures and protect our groups. Sometimes that’s along racial lines, but more often it’s not. We are all part of multiple different groups - scientist or artist, rich or poor, techie or manager, thinker or footballer.

Techies distrust a new managers’ motivations just as fundamentally as small town folk distrust the new muslim family’s.

A (non-racist) friend of mine expressed that they would do anything for their family and friends - to keep them safe, healthy and happy. In almost any culture that sentiment is regarded as notion of great integrity, and moral high. Yet it is the very same emotion that powers our intolerance.

WW2 and The great disaffection with Intolerance

Something incredible happened out of the back of WW2. It’s horrors were recorded and spread far and wide. The abject and near universal distaste caused by the holocaust and war generally created the start of a grand period of tolerance. The only solution seemed to be to treat everyone in the human race as part of the same “group”. Much like in an alien invasion movie, where old enemies bury hatchets to fight the greater danger, so we embarked upon an unprecendented movement against racism / tribalism of all kinds. The civii rights movement, bringing down of the berlin wall, globalisation itself. The European Union was a great vision to treat the historically warring countries of Europe under a banner than said “us”.

But as with so many patterns of life, that endeavour was an arc - as memories of WW2 fade, and peoples feel disenfranchised by globalisation, threatened by resurgent religious ideologies and generally don’t care to learn about history so we revert to our tribalist norms. For Americans that perceive a threat to their culture of shooting guns, loving jesus, having barn dances the other cultures injected into their midst feels like an invasion - the consequences are to their minds a proportion of the same.

Every group has an 'alt-right'. This point cannot be overstated enough.

Is there really a difference between white supremacists and muslim supremacists, or black supremacists? Hate is hate. In the modern society, where powerful white people are the norm, it's easy to come to the conclusion that only white people are racist. It's more true to say that currently only white racists matter in places where whites have a monopoly on power - but that's not to say other peoples are not just as into protecting their group.

Tribalism is universal; it takes a certain empathy / reflection to rise above it; many, many people don't bother.

/politics /racism /prejudice /tribalism

The mind is always trying to convince us that the world is a simpler, more understandable place. Despite our protestations, we stereotype all the time - it is the only way our limited intellects can cope with the complexities of the world.

Hardly any decisions we make are based on a dispassionate assessment of facts or stats - we feel things. And I'm not just talking about those we consider less intelligent - the populists, the sheep - we are all readily persuadable as even smarter people don't make probability calculations in everyday life.

So what can we do if we don't wish to be part of the prejudiced throng - we can't stop our minds making simplifications ourselves? We can acknowledge WHERE we are making simplifications and honestly state so. There is nothing more terrifying than someone who makes a simplication on a sixpence as a means of coping but who then zealously defends it for fear they won't be able to cope if it might turn out to be wrong (or simply more complicated).


me /me 18 Jan 2017

...is a psychologically close relative to racism. "Make America Great Again" is tribalism just at a different macro level to "Make my Race Great Again" or "Make my Religion Great Again".

I would also argue liberals are tapping into the same ancient desire to protect one's group when championing Climate Change or globalisation; efforts to "Make Mankind Great Again".

The level you function at - the "width" of inclusion of the tribe you consider yourself mostly in - appears to be largely down to intellect level. (Or this that simply personal prejudice toward one of the groups I identify with - "intellectuals"?)

/racism /tribalism