Readability

Tribalism is Natural

by baldilocks

A lit­tle secret: I had to do com­mu­nity ser­vice for a mis­de­meanor. My crime: car­ry­ing a loaded weapon in pub­lic. (Hey, it’s Cal­i­for­nia.) I plead guilty and, because it was a first offense, I received com­mu­nity ser­vice. Some might remem­ber that I frac­tured my left wrist from a fall back in 2012. I had been doing com­mu­nity ser­vice when it happened.

Dur­ing my com­mu­nity ser­vice – CAL­TRANs — most of the other offend­ers were black and Latino. They were there for things like major traf­fic vio­la­tions which did not result in injury or acci­dent – mostly first-​time DUIs. Most were much younger than I was and I had lit­tle in com­mon with most of them as far as our per­sonal inter­ests went.

How­ever, one polit­i­cally astute guy was there for fix­ing cars with­out a busi­ness license; his “crime” had caused him to awaken, he freely admit­ted. Still another guy – whose offense I don’t recall — and I dis­cussed cur­rent events and reli­gion a few times. Both men were very intelligent.

One day, as we per­formed our usu­ally task, clean­ing up the free­ways, three groups formed: a black one, a Latino one, and a very small group who refused to go there. Of course, I was a part of that last group.

I walked up to the last guy I men­tioned — part of the black group – and said, “What are we doing? Form­ing up accord­ing to race now? This isn’t prison.”

It’s nat­ural to do this.”

It’s also nat­ural to uri­nate and defe­cate where you stand, but our par­ents train us not to do that.”

He had noth­ing to say to that, but I noticed that he sep­a­rated from the group and started work­ing by himself.

I tell this story to point to the impli­ca­tions behind “nat­ural behav­ior”: that it’s per­ceived as good and right. The Bible, of course, tells us oth­er­wise for the most part. The nat­ural man has no knowl­edge of God and feels more kin­ship with other human beings who look like him – start­ing with his imme­di­ate fam­ily and branch­ing out to his eth­nic tribe.

It’s nat­ural. It’s also deadly to truth. We’ve never com­pletely got­ten rid of eth­nic trib­al­ism and we watch as it crests once again in our “mod­ern” era. How­ever, those of us who think we are more enlight­ened and don’t see race should not think of our­selves as bet­ter than our carcass-​worshiping acquain­tances. Often, we cre­ate our own trib­al­ism. It behooves us all to be wary of it.

Because when we lie to our­selves for too long, those lies begin to look just like the truth. Naturally.

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 one day soon! Fol­low her on Twit­ter and on Gab​.ai.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism!

by baldilocks

A little secret: I had to do community service for a misdemeanor. My crime: carrying a loaded weapon in public. (Hey, it’s California.) I plead guilty and, because it was a first offense, I received community service. Some might remember that I fractured my left wrist from a fall back in 2012. I had been doing community service when it happened.

During my community service – CALTRANs — most of the other offenders were black and Latino. They were there for things like major traffic violations which did not result in injury or accident – mostly first-time DUIs. Most were much younger than I was and I had little in common with most of them as far as our personal interests went.

However, one politically astute guy was there for fixing cars without a business license; his “crime” had caused him to awaken, he freely admitted. Still another guy – whose offense I don’t recall — and I discussed current events and religion a few times. Both men were very intelligent.

One day, as we performed our usually task, cleaning up the freeways, three groups formed: a black one, a Latino one, and a very small group who refused to go there. Of course, I was a part of that last group.

I walked up to the last guy I mentioned — part of the black group – and said, “What are we doing? Forming up according to race now? This isn’t prison.”

“It’s natural to do this.”

“It’s also natural to urinate and defecate where you stand, but our parents train us not to do that.”

He had nothing to say to that, but I noticed that he separated from the group and started working by himself.

I tell this story to point to the implications behind “natural behavior”: that it’s perceived as good and right. The Bible, of course, tells us otherwise for the most part. The natural man has no knowledge of God and feels more kinship with other human beings who look like him – starting with his immediate family and branching out to his ethnic tribe.

It’s natural. It’s also deadly to truth.  We’ve never completely gotten rid of ethnic tribalism and we watch as it crests once again in our “modern” era. However, those of us who think we are more enlightened and don’t see race should not think of ourselves as better than our carcass-worshiping acquaintances. Often, we create our own tribalism. It behooves us all to be wary of it.

Because when we lie to ourselves for too long, those lies begin to look just like the truth. Naturally.

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 one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!