Tribalism Replaces Truth

by baldilocksbaldilocks

Do you ever feel as though the world has become like the movie The Invasion of the Body Snatchers and that you are one of the few remaining unsnatched?

Just wondering.

Everything has become a litmus test for labelling. Everyone knows, just knows what you think about a topic because of their notions of how people like you think.

Last night, it was presumed that I would be on the side of those who believed that Tamir Rice was murdered and this morning it was presumed that I would be on the side of the police officers who killed him. Both of these presumptions were made using preconceived notions about what I believe. And both are wrong. But, as this is not my first rodeo, I have annoyed participants on both sides of an argument before. Sometimes, it’s fun, but not this time.

Here’s what I believe: sometimes, all available choices will bring anger and strife. Any choice that the Grand Jury made regarding the police officers in question would have caused an uproar. And Tamir Rice would still be dead, a victim of his own choices, the choices of the police, and, most importantly, the choices his parents made during the course of his all-too-short life. <<<See that? That’s my opinion regarding the things I do know.

This sounds like it’s about me, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, except as I am a part of humanity.

Aside from the anger and the strife, was the Grand Jury decision grounded in truth? This is the only question that matters and I don’t know the answer to it because I don’t know enough about the case to come to a cogent conclusion.

You see how that works? If you know you don’t have all the facts, you say so. You don’t fall back on your ethnic and/or ideological “allegiances” to come to your conclusion and you don’t presume that the person with whom you are arguing is doing this, unless he/she outright says so.

It helps to ask good-faith questions.

But that sort of presumption has almost disappeared. Instead it’s “I know you think that yada yada blah because all you people think this way.”

Jesus the Christ prophesied that when we get close to the Last Days that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” The word ‘nation’ is a translation of the Greek word ethnos, a word that can also be translated as ‘race.’

Better, I think: tribe.

Tribal “thinking” plus its resultant tribal allegiance equals tribalism and I’m beginning to suspect that tribalism is based on ideology as well as ethnicity.

Here’s what tribalism is not based on: truth. And if we must all repair to our respective ethnically- and or ideologically-based tribal corners in order to come to predetermined conclusions about a dead boy and about those who killed him, then we all might as well give up talking now, wait for the next conflagration, and pray that it will not be the final one.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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