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August 30, 2017

Comments

Okay, one more.

Since you (lj) care about who says what about tribalism/race, here's my rundown. And indeed, I would never assert that one's position across any of these boundaries, or along any of these spectra (?) doesn't deeply shape one's vantage point.

Gary Howard is white, but works (worked?) for decades as a diversity educator with a diverse group of colleagues.

I assume Donald W. Shriver is white but I don't actually know.

Another book we used in the class at UMaine was Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, by Beverly Daniel Tatum, who is a black psychologist and educator.

Roger Wilkins is black, the nephew of longtime NAACP head Roy Wilkins.

P.S. I took that class twenty years ago. Even Maine has changed a lot in the interim, esp. but not entirely because of the large numbers of Somali "new Mainers" who've arrived since then. I don't have any evidence, but I would bet the influence of the new Mainers lessens from south to north, so that northern and far downeastern Maine are probably still (almost?) as white as they were two decades ago.

JanieM-

While there are tribal aspects in both racism and homophobia (others are others), I've always felt that gay prejudice stands apart due to deep rooted mores re: procreation and sex. Or perhaps its a sense of tribal "betrayal" or specific religious condemnation.

I can't really put my finger on it, but it seems different ... not saying one is worse than the other but they seem to have different root causes.

On phone so can't easily scroll back and forth to check, but a few points:

One of my best friends in boarding school was a Chinese girl from Hong-Kong (we bonded for obvious reasons), and she revealed to me that generally, culturally, Chinese people as a whole thought of black people as close to animals. It is true that the Chinese seemed to fall squarely into the "pale skin is best" category, and used skin-lightening creams, but conversely she said that white people smelt, and were perceived as having an inferior culture generally. So, endless examples of othering.

GftNC-

My wife works with wealthy Chinese clients. Your anecdote is not atypical in her experience; especially with older Chinese. The younger generation is much more likely to have been educated internationally and have different attitudes.

But that highlights a further complication with the Chinese reverence for their elders in that the younger generation who may be more inclined to take a broader outlook are very reluctant to correct their parents and grandparents.

...she said that white people smelt,...

East Asian populations tend to have a gene variation that results in a lot fewer odor producing sweat glands in their armpits.

A Japanese friend told me that the large amount dairy in general, and butter in particular, in the western diet was the culprit but I have not see that mentioned anywhere else.

I've encountered dietary explanation also. Diet could certainly intensify a predisposition to having a strong body odor.

Not trying to bust anyone's chops here, but the fact that racism is a fact of life always seems to be stated (and I'm including myself here) by white folks.

lj, I wonder how much of that is simply non-whites feeling that them talking about racism will mostly (outside diversity classes and such) get taken as complaining. Again. Even if they are talking about racism among their own group, they feel that the perception will come thru anyway.

One other tribalism insight. When I was in college, I heard this from several Asian students I knew. When they were leaving home for college, their parents told them essentially, "We know you are going to meet lots of different people** in school. Maybe even go out with them. And that's OK. But no Japanese (or, from the Japanese American parents, no Chinese); they're inferior!"

No doubt if there had been a significant number of Koreans here at the time, they would have gotten the same treatment.

Tribalism, rampant! Although, as PdM notes with regard to blacks, the level of tribalism between different groups of East Asians seems to have dropped over the decades.

** My sense was that blacks weren't even in the discussion. Whether because there were so few of them likely to be at university in the 1960s, or because their low status was so obvious as to not need mention, I don't know.

Just another OT note.

We gots Frisco closing down for heat. Montana is burning up and suffocating for forestfires. Bangladesh. Persian Gulf states.

After 250 billion for Houston, Irma is heading our way, and a total of half a trillion+ or more in recovery costs or 5% of GDP is easy to imagine, not even counting the other areas. The effects of Sandy are still being paid for.

The economic costs and consequences of climate change will be astronomical, but spread out so hard to aggregate. We will just see lower growth, social unrest and war.

5-15 years it all goes pear-shaped.

I guess I could have mentioned Fukushima.

Oh, and after somehow paying mitigation and recovery costs, will we have the resources to pay for conversion to a green economy?

No. It's too late to preserve any civilization that looks anything like this one. A social revolution to green has its own costs.

Head for the hills or party down. The world is ending in your lifetime.

As far as I can tell, tribalism is universal among humans. Lots of other species, too.

IMO it takes serious individual effort to overcome it. The law can put some bumpers around the more harmful expressions of it, but the underlying impulse seems to be bred in the bone.

In my experience (personal and observed) it takes significant effort to recognize, acknowledge, and address it in yourself. For some folks - many folks? - what it requires is something like a true personal transformation.

If you look at world history at a scale of hundreds of years, from a Euro-centric point of view, white folks are the biggest offenders. And that perception is one they have earned in spades.

But over our whole history on the planet, I think we've all taken turns being the biggest offender, at some point or other.

Maybe the Hopi have clean hands. Hard to say.

It's a deep human trait. I'm sure there's some adaptive advantage in it. I'm also sure we're at a point where whatever adaptive advantage was there, has been outstripped by the need to get past it.

It's a lot of work. I hope we're up for it.

We shall overcome, someday. Or, be overcome.

We'll see how it goes.

The world is ending in your lifetime.

Not if you're a jellyfish.

The real wake-up call is the fact that "the world" doesn't give a crap if we kill ourselves off, or not.

More stuff for somebody else. I'm sure the roaches will be thrilled.

Adapt or die. 95% of all lifeforms that have ever existed on the planet failed to pass the audition.

War with Iran, probably nuclear, will deflect us for a moment from the longer-term existential threats.

War with North Korea, most certainly nuclear, will deflect for a moment, but with America's Russia's diplomatic breakdown in its early stages, and threats of the total cessation of trade with China, expect it to escalate very quickly into total nuclear annihilation for America and much of the first world, I expect by accident, perhaps a slip of the tongue or twit or someone's very fucked-up short fingers.

The roaches will be thrilled .... The ones we have to defenestrate in turn in America, in their gulches, if anything is left.

An election was held November 9, 2016.

Did you remember to kiss your asses goodbye? And your childrens'.

Your stock portfolios will be fine for awhile after you are gone. Upward technical momentum will carry the market, the biggest cockroach of them all, for awhile based merely on the bullish trading programs that will be triggered post detonations by expectations of wage and human labor overhead reductions to zero and the halting of all social insurance programs in the western world as Washington D.C. and Brussels are vaporized at the behest of American rumpwingers, Russia, China, and North Korea, and a few hardheaded Brits, the united enemies of all that is good in the world.

Hey, I don't know. No one who once knew does either any longer.

Saw this South Africa band live at Taste of Colorado yesterday. Tribal back beat, devastating, end-of-the-world low end. Even better live.

Kongos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIQjqXhKdN4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLN-a2w568M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aijr8HfxVVQ

And then they throw in Beatle covers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDBhNFUeMrk


Can we please leave Melania Trump out of it, and the same for any other family members not involved in politics.

Apologies for not being able to state this clearly, some personal issues are interfering a bit, and when I say I'm not directing this at anyone here, I really do mean it. I just wonder why I have rarely heard minorities say something like 'well racism is tribalism, and it happens to everyone'. I know I have made statements of that sort, but I'm now wondering if I say that as a defense of not doing more. After all, if it is part of the human condition, who am I to try and stamp it out?

What GftNC pointed about about Chinese is true, and extends to Koreans and Japanese and a lot of it revolves around skin color. Of course, when you define the other, you can't simply assign bad qualities to the other, cause one knows, subconsciously I suppose, that every bad trait is a good trait in extreme disguise. I wonder how much of this light skin good thinking is something that Asians have picked up from Western society.

I still cannot make heads or tails about the kuro gyaru subculture in Japan but I think it is somehow related to these discussions.
http://tokyofashion.com/gyaru-japan-black-diamond-gals-kuro-gyaru-subculture/

Following the arguments of Pollo, maybe the only way to explain racism to white folks is to assure them that it's not them, it's everyone. But then, it is not factual, it is rhetorical. Maybe it's not purely rhetorical, but what %?

lj, if I'm reading you correctly you seem to be troubled in part because if it's everyone, not just white people, then white people are off the hook.

I don't believe that at all. The fact that everyone has failings and flaws doesn't excuse us from trying to minimize the effects of the dark side. Quite the contrary.

The fact (if it is one) that a tendency toward tribalism is baked into the cake of being human (just like greed and lust and all the other deadly sins) doesn't excuse us from trying to feed our better angels

Also, I like GftNC's use of the word "othering," which is perhaps even more generically useful than "tribalism."

I am remembering the skin color banter, only half kidding, amongst the African American kids who hung out at our house when I lived in Milwaukee. I am remembering the Native American woman who presented at my diversity class, who talked about the hierarchy of "othering" based on who was a "breed" and who was full-blooded.
Etc.

It ain't just white people.

But again, I don't say that in any way to let white people off the hook, especially in my own country, founded on slavery and still not close to over it to this day.

"Can we please leave Melania Trump out of it, and the same for any other family members not involved in politics."

No. All rules of human decency have been abandoned. Politics eats the innocent.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/09/04/republicans-are-monsters-a-continuing-story/

"Can we please leave Melania Trump out of it, and the same for any other family members not involved in politics."

No. All rules of human decency have been abandoned. Politics eats the innocent.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/09/04/republicans-are-monsters-a-continuing-story/

Double posting, however, is beyond the pale

lj, you obviously don't have to answer this -- but I'm wondering: is it not so much the possibility that the tendency toward tribalism is inherent that bothers you, but rather what you have, after all, said more than once in different ways, the fact that you only hear white people mention it?

For me, it took a long time to realize that "we" (humans, on earth) weren't on some kind of "arc bending toward justice." Or maybe we are, but no progress can ever be taken for granted, the work will always have to be done over and over, or shored up, or whatever.

It's kind of like what I tell my kids about adulthood: it's not something you ever reach, it's more like an endless process.

Or maybe that's just an excuse too. After all, I'm one of those baby boomers who supposedly never grew up.

For me, it took a long time to realize that "we" (humans, on earth) weren't on some kind of "arc bending toward justice." Or maybe we are, but no progress can ever be taken for granted, the work will always have to be done over and over, or shored up, or whatever.

Stephen Pinker makes a convincing argument that the arc does bend towards justice. Also, what I've linked to many times, and insist on doing again (and, no doubt, again, in future): http://www.fallen.io/ww2/

We can do this. If we lose hope, we won't do this. We need to try.

I would say that the arc doesn't bend inevitably towards justice. You have to put in some effort.

But, over time, people do seem to be putting in that effort. So the arc is bending, however slowly.

I would say that the arc doesn't bend inevitably towards justice. You have to put in some effort.

Yet again, we agree.

That's a good question, let me try a two part answer.

I don't think that only white people use tribalism maliciously, but if it is only white people who are mentioning it, it does seem like an excuse rather than an explanation.

I don't think that tribalism is inherently evil, if you didn't have tribalism, you probably wouldn't have sports or any other kinds of contests. But at some point, a difference in degree becomes a difference in kind and tribalism originally represents people you know to some degree or people who the people you know to some degree are willing to vouch for ('This is your uncle Harry who moved away when he was 18, so he's part of the family')

On the other hand, racism puts tribalism on steroids, such that you'd have the southern White American immediately feel a bond with the apartheid era White South African, not because of any perceived linkage (other than white skin) but because the American assumes that the SA has the same attitudes.

As far as tribalism, Japanese take a back seat to none, and I always wonder, should I engage when they say 'oh, you are more Japanese than the Japanese' or crack open the catch phrase 'ware ware nihonjin' (We Japanese, usually stated before some incredibly broad generalization about some aspect of Japanese culture. It seems pernicious, but how far do I wade in to stop it?

I don't think that only white people use tribalism maliciously, but if it is only white people who are mentioning it, it does seem like an excuse rather than an explanation.

Is it an excuse for a thief to say “I wanted it”? Is it an excuse for a rapist to say “I was horny”? Of course not.

You only see whites discussing this because whites have the most explaining to do.

I don't think that tribalism is inherently evil, if you didn't have tribalism, you probably wouldn't have sports or any other kinds of contests.

Just like a sex drive and greed are not inherently evil unless you fail to recognize them and rein them in.

On the other hand, racism puts tribalism on steroids, such that you'd have the southern White American immediately feel a bond with the apartheid era White South African, not because of any perceived linkage (other than white skin) but because the American assumes that the SA has the same attitudes.

As someone who was born and raised in the Deep South, I don’t think that’s a great example. I’ve known lots of horribly racist folks and the notion of “kinship” with white SA’s was not a “thing” beyond using their twisted perception of SA to justify they own racism.

As far as tribalism, Japanese take a back seat to none, and I always wonder, should I engage when they say 'oh, you are more Japanese than the Japanese' or crack open the catch phrase 'ware ware nihonjin' (We Japanese, usually stated before some incredibly broad generalization about some aspect of Japanese culture. It seems pernicious, but how far do I wade in to stop it?

I’ve only been to Japan once, but I noticed when landing at NRT that the Japanese passengers applauded with a sense of palpable relief when they saw Mt. Fuji. This was consistent with my experience with Japanese academics in the US (I was studying Japanese political economics). As a people, they didn’t seem comfortable traveling abroad. This was during the early 90s when the damage of the bubble economy was still vastly underestimated and Japan was still seen as an unequivocal economic superpower. In other words, we were at peak arrogance regarding Japanese racial/cultural superiority. My point is that Japanese tribalism seems to be coupled with something approaching national agoraphobia. So unless you have the misfortune of being Chinese or Korean working in Japan, odds are that Japanese tribalism isn’t an immediate problem for you.

I said “immediate problem” because in the long term Japanese tribalism seems to be most harmful to the Japanese, but I’m starting to go off on a very specific off topic tangent w/r/t Japan that I should set aside. I’ll bring this around to the topic at hand. Earlier I typed “You only see whites discussing this because whites have the most explaining to do.” How long did it take Japan to apologize for comfort woman? For Nanking? I don’t think talking about tribalism is an excuse for racism and it’s certainly better than trying to sweep racism under the rug.

I had heard that Koreans in Japan were even less accepted than Turks in Germany seem to be. In spite of having been there several more generations.

And with even less racial/genetic difference -- in fact, beyond the family names, I have a bit of a struggle figuring out how they manage to identify those particular "others".

It's not like the obvious differences between slavs and aryans, amirite?

>_>

Well, I was also raised in the Deep South, so I'm not sure why the example is bad. On the plains of Africa for our distant ancestors, tribalism is knowing who is kith and kin. The "tribalism" of racists is unconnected to notions of kith and kin and finding members of their 'tribe' is simply a matter of a google search.

I also think you are really misunderstanding the situation in Japan, but it would take a lot more explanation and history as well as a very long explanation of who I am and what I am doing. wj's point about zainichi is on point and is only the tip of the iceberg. The 'tribalism' of Japan is built on a lot of smaller chunks that, when laid out, are laughable, but are baked into the cake of culture. In fact, I would be even more uncomfortable with a Japanese person using the explanation of tribalism. So the fact that tribalism is not an immediate problem is, in fact, the problem, in that discussions of tribalism let everyone kick the can down the road rather than dealing with the way racism shapes the culture and the world that we live in.

I've written about this example before, but in the university I was in, the marching band was famous and at the end of the game, the band, after performing a short concert where all the home fans would go onto the field and listen, would, as the finale, sing Dixie acappella and the audience would join in. It was dusk and you had maybe 1000 people singing this song. My last year in the band, there was one black clarinet player who refused to sing the song and sat down. Nothing happened to him, but the grumbling about him not respecting 'tradition' and the notion that he was the person at fault was pretty much all over.

The thing is, I can type tribalism all day and it doesn't elicit any shock of recognition, which is why imo everyone wants to use it instead of racism. 'Gee, that's pretty tribalist of you' has no impact that I can see. This is in keeping with the idea that we have to sugarcoat explanations of problems that have been put forward before. Perhaps that is necessary for developing a coalition of the left, but again, it makes it seem like the problem is not the racism, it's explaining it in a way that makes people comforted that they aren't really racist, they are just a little too tribalist.

LJ-

Sounds like you went to Ole Miss ... interesting.

I don't know if you caught this or not, but I found it interesting:

http://www.npr.org/2017/03/18/519017287/the-legacy-of-the-mississippi-delta-chinese

Not to be dismissive, but it sounds like your rejection of innate tribalism is based on the fact that you don't like the result more than any thing else. I have not seen anything to rebut the social science that strongly suggests innate tribalism. Further, I don't see recognizing innate tribalism as sugarcoating racism at all. I have not seen any credible arguments made that we should forgive racism because the racists can't help themselves.

I'll concede the point as soon as #racistshaming starts trending.

It's not like the obvious differences between slavs and aryans, amirite?

Few blue-eyed blonds among the slavs, IIRC. ;-)

People can parse amazingly minor visual clues for these purposes. But they do need some visual clue -- which just isn't there between Japanese and Koreans.

lj, I don't perceive the use of "tribalism" as an attempt to sugar-coat the discussion. Rather it seems to be an attempt to avoid using "racism" for cases where the actual difference is ethnic (e.g. Hispanics vs Anglos) or religious (Jews vs Arabs), or something else not based on race (narrowly defined).

Using "racism" in those contexts, as I have seen done numerous times, is
1) not, technically, accurate, and
2) results in those who are defensive about their bigotry diverting the discussion or how "racism" is properly construed using the narrowest possible dictionary definition.

Perhaps we need to introduce the general public to the concept of "ethnocentric". Unfortunately, it's a lot more characters to type....

wj-

Some Japanese folks would differ with you w/r/t facial features. Koreans might, but I'm not close enough to any Koreans to have sensitive discussions.

As for the slavs, I guess it's all in how your define it ... plenty of "aryan looking" Poles and Russians.

Not to mention the Indian caste system...

I'm not convinced that racism is a human universal - not least as 'race' doesn't really correspond to real genetic groupings.
Our ability to dehumanise 'out' groups, however seems to be just that.

Perhaps we need to introduce the general public to the concept of "ethnocentric".

nope. can't. pointing out -isms is not allowed. instead, we must embrace the deplorables and look past their -isms.

You mean deplorableism isn't a word? Who knew?

plenty of "aryan looking" Poles and Russians.

I think those are descended from Vikings coming thru those areas. As opposed to "real" Slavs.**

** Apologies to whoever copyrighted the term "real Americans." ;-)

Even tribalism is too harsh. I think we should discuss such problems in an even more general way as matters of categorical thinking. Slavery was the result of an error in reasoning - an unfortunate misunderstanding of sorts.

wj-

Different racial groups focus on different cues. Many Africans look to hair lines. Europeans look to noses and hair/eye color. Asians look to face shape and eye shape.

As I recall, my Japanese friend said that Koreans have smaller eyes, higher cheekbones and more prominent jaw lines as compared to Japanese. Chinese faces are rounder/fuller.

These cues for facial recognition may or may not be innate.

It occurs to me to wonder, how common is it for someone to "pass" under those different systems of cues?

Not to mention the Indian caste system...

There were untouchables in Europe too, cannot link, so look up "cagots" in Wikipedia. If you don't know about them, it's an astonishing eye-opener.

Never heard of those. I knew that the French have/had some pretty weird ideas that led to the shunning of individuals that way but I was not aware that there was a whole quasi-ethnic group of that. The Spanish on the other hand had a lot of that kind since the reconquista and the Spanish Inquisition was mostly about ferreting out people suspected of belonging to numerous ill-defined groups. I wonder whether the Nazis took some inspirations from them for their complex system of 'racial' categorizing.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/09/02/sweet-freedom-new-open-carry-law-allows-texans-to-brandish-swords-machetes-and-spears/

I don't believe the English language, regardless of whatever I can make the words mean, is up to the job of describing bullshit America.

God, in his blessedness and regularity, takes a big steaming dump on America daily.

From the Wikipedia entry for the Cagots:

The Cagots were not an ethnic group, nor a religious group. They spoke the same language as the people in an area and generally kept the same religion as well. Their only distinguishing feature was their descent from families identified as Cagots. Few consistent reasons were given as to why they should be hated; accusations varied from Cagots being cretins, lepers, heretics, cannibals, to simply being intrinsically evil.

Even within the often-absurd context of "othering," this is totally bizarre.

It's almost as if people need an "other," and if there isn't one handy, they'll more or less appoint one.

IIRC that was the premise of my grad school friend's advisor's book Wayward Puritans. It was a study of early new world villages, where there always had to be a village outcast. If the village outcast died or left town, someone else was maneuvered into that role one way or another. [I am reconstructing memories from decades ago but I think this is roughly right.]

Wayward Puritans

Bridget Bishop was the first woman killed in the Salem Witch hysteria.

She had been married three times, ran a tavern in her house where minors were served and folks played shuffleboard, and she wore a distinctly un-Puritan red cloak.

Sarah Good, also one of the first women killed, was basically homeless.

The hysteria continued until more "respectable" people were accused. When it reached the governor's wife, he shut down the inquiry.

They were obviously much better organised in France and Spain, they othered the Cagots for a thousand years, strongly reinforced it by laws etc (special low doors in churches! Special fonts and fountains and Cagot hands cut off if they used any others!) and no attempts by Cagots were successful in ending it. Of course no Governor would ever have married a Cagot woman, so Salem-style eventual intervention was also out of the question - more evidence of quite how efficient an othering operation it was.

racism puts tribalism on steroids

Yes. And so did the Salem witch trials…and the Cagots (new to me)…and the caste system in India…and the Holocaust…and the Hutus and Tutsis…and Northern Ireland….All different configurations, but all fatal or severely harmful to a lot of people, in some cases for millennia.

A big reason I think it’s important to recognize (or at least hypothesize) that the tendency to perpetrate this stuff is near-universal is that you can meet a challenge more effectively if you know what the challenge actually is.

If the potential for othering is universal, it’s misleading at best, fatal at worst, to say oh, racism in America, that’s America’s weirdness, it can’t happen here (wherever else “here” happens to be). Oh, the Holocaust, that’s just those Germans. Oh, the Hutus and the Tutsis this and the Japanese and Chinese that.

In other words, “It can’t happen here” is to me a bigger barrier to effectiveness against tribalism/othering than people maybe trying to let themselves off the hook by saying oh, tribalism, it’s universal, we’re off the hook and there’s nothing to be done about it.

Personally I think there’s something to be done about it either way, but I guess the question is: Which framing makes it easier to go about that?

"Which framing makes it easier to go about that?"

Star-bellied Sneetches.

BTW, 'way, 'way upthread when mentioning 'tribalism', I didn't clarify very well, but it was meant in an anthropological sense, in terms of the size of the group with which an individual identifies.


As far as I can see, the Hutu/Tutsi distinction was pretty much the result of racist doctrine originating with the Belgian colonial rulers, there being little genetic, or prior cultural difference between the two.

Reading about the genoicide a couple of decades ago was one of the first things which made me think the capacity for irrationally treating 'out' groups as something less than human is most likely innate.

I wonder where this "tribalism" gene is in the human genome? Or is it the case that to be "innate" it doesn't have to be genetic?

I'm no expert, but I suspect a lot of thinking veering toward the sloppy is going on here.

For example, is tribalism like speech? Just asking. We are not born with the ability to speak, but obviously we have genetically acquired that capability, and are taught to do so.

What if we are not taught to do so?

Any consensus here from the anthropologist community?

It's just been reported that scientists no longer think that the ability to recognize faces is not innate. I would guess that "otherness" is learned too, both the tendency to do it, and the specific targets against whom it's done. But who knows?

adam & eve. All it takes is two. Tribalism is born. Innately, yes?

Now there is a theory!!!!

We are not born with the ability to speak, but obviously we have genetically acquired that capability, and are taught to do so.

What if we are not taught to do so?

There are a couple of cases of children who were "adopted" very young by monkeys. When found, after age 5, they did not know how to speak. And did not grasp the idea of speech.

On the other hand, we have observed gorillas who have been taught sign language.** And they teach it to their children. So the gene for the ability to learn language goes back a long way.

** If memory serves, gorillas have at least some rudimentary speech of their own. Which may account for their ability to learn sign, which other kinds of moneys apparently do not.

Coming from someone criticizing other people for sloppy thinking, this:

We are not born with the ability to speak, but obviously we have genetically acquired that capability, and are taught to do so.

seems pretty incoherent to me.

I'll let linguist lj be more articulate about it than I can be, but infants are not "taught" their native language. An ordinarily intelligent infant who is not deaf will end up speaking and understanding the local language even if no one "teaches" it a single thing. Take a beginning syntax or semantics class and you'll find out that there are all kinds of things about your native language that you use every day that you don't even consciously know are there.

And -- I don't know where tribalism resides in the genome, in part because I'm not a geneticist, in part because I suspect we're probably 1% of the way, or less, toward really understanding the genome in all its complexity. Geneticists are, after all, the people who gave us the term "junk DNA" when they ran into something they didn't understand.

If I had to answer at gunpoint, I would guess that the genetic basis for "tribalism" is tangled up with the same (presumably) complex constellation of genes that underlie the fact that we're social animals.

Interesting stuff. Some more background.

There was an interesting article about the TV series Big Bang Theory and mysogyny
https://www.themarysue.com/adorkable-misogyny-big-bang-theory/

Here in Japan, TV series tend to come a few years after they appear in the states, so when it showed up here, I hit Youtube to watch it and thought it was funny, but started watching it when my wife and daughters also found it hilarious. (one of the things in the lj household was to try and keep enough English going) This also led to a lot of questions about 'who is the Flash'? 'What's the deal with Wil Wheaton' which then gives me a chance to point them (especially my daughters) to other things that both explain and get them familiar with US culture.

So, was I promoting mysogny? I'm not really sure, the points made in the video essay were pretty powerful and any attempts to deflect them really seem to rely on understanding the total context, a society where a show needs to appeal to a wide enough audience in order to be successful.

So how does that plug into racism as tribalism. Glad you asked. We've had this discussion about tribalism/racism a number of times here in various forms and I've always nodded my head when folks (including me) suggest that racism is just tribalism. The Japanese phrases is shikata ga nai, which means it can't be helped. In light of the way things are going, that now seems like pretty weak tea.

If we argue that tribalism is racism, that leaves three options

-Racism is bad, therefore tribalism is bad
-Racism is a bad form of tribalism, so we have to make absolutely sure that it is racism before we complain.
-Racism is tribalism, so it's going to be with us forever, just get used it.

I'm pushing back against the last one for sure, but I'm not accusing anyone here of holding that, just pointing out that it could be a logical conclusion.

The middle one seems to be the one everyone likes, though I'm not crazy about that. As I have said, echoing Russell, I think everyone is a little bit racist, one can't help being that if they've been brought up in the US. But with that formulation, everyone gets bent out of shape if you point out that something you said or did was racist.

If there are options that I am missing, chime in. I like JanieM's point about us making the arc of the universe bend, but when Nigel points out Hutu/Tutsi, I'd just note that this, like other examples of racism, emerge out of a Western experience. Yet it is a Western experience that is not as old as we would like to think

http://www.historyextra.com/feature/missing-tudors-black-people-16th-century-england

As far as the language speculation, I'm almost positive that talking about that is not going to make tribalism discussions any easier to figure out.

Finally, not Ole miss, Southern Miss, a uni that has had its own history with racism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_Kennard

My time there was in the 80's, when everyone was patting themselves on the back that we were part of the New South, letting bygones be bygones. It would have been nice if it were true...

Tribes within tribes:

Walking into the empty sanctuary of his synagogue, a rabbi was suddenly possessed by a wave of mystical rapture, and threw himself onto the ground before the Ark proclaiming, "Lord, I'm Nothing!"
Seeing the rabbi in such a state, the cantor felt profoundly moved by similar emotions. He too, threw himself down in front of the Ark, proclaiming, "Lord, I'm Nothing!"
Then, way in the back of the synagogue, the janitor threw himself to the ground, and he too shouted, "Lord, "I'm Nothing."
Whereupon, the rabbi turned to the cantor and whispered, "Look who thinks he's Nothing!"H/T

Among the Greek-Americans of my acquaintance, I know Cretans who look down upon Macedonians, and Macedonians who turn up their noses at Peloponnesians, and all of them look crosswise at Pontians.

There are saner tribes and insaner(?) ones. The saner tribes generally have some sort of mechanism for becoming a member of the tribe even if you had the misfortune to be born outside of it. The "white working class" which is alleged to be the "base" that He, Trump answers to is one of the world's less sane tribes.

Immigrants through the maternity ward, they (and their Dear Leader) consider themselves more American than immigrants across the border. Because they are mean and stupid. And anybody who objects to that judgement can kiss my American ass. I passed a test, took an oath, and have a certificate to prove that I am "American". How many of those who happened to plop onto American soil out of their mother's womb can say as much?

--TP

...but infants are not "taught" their native language.

Not to get all bent on this, but yes, they are taught in the common sense of the term "taught" (cf "repetition"). If they were raised in a social milieu that had no spoken language would they "learn" it? Imagine a deaf and dumb couple raising a "normal" child in an isolated social milieu (yes, extreme example, bear with me, please).

What language would that child speak?

Ah, you say, we are typically not so "isolated". But if genetics explains the "majority" of this, well, then, how explain so many folks who reject the (whatever tribal) paradigm is prevalent?

How do you explain dissent? Genetics again? A "new" tribal group? Are we genetically predisposed to disagree with our fellow humans?

I push back in good sport, because, as I stated previously, I feel a lot of this discussion is taking place with a lot of unstated, or unacknowledged assumptions that are not clearly laid out (define "innate, for example) by those making the arguments (on both sides).

That's all I'm sayin'. Thank you.

I'm no expert, but I suspect a lot of thinking veering toward the sloppy is going on here.

I'm not an expert either. I'm not even sure how much "thinking" in the sense of analysis is involved in my point of view.

I observe, I see a pattern. I'm not trying to explain or justify it, I'm just noticing it's there. As far as I can tell.

Humans are prone to identufying themselves as being part of one, or some, particular groups. And, to attaching value judgements to that.

If you want to say that's not so, I think you have some heavy going ahead of you.

I don't know why that is, I just notice that it is.

infants are not "taught" their native language.

My wife recently had the somewhat rare and thrilling experience of listening to one our backyard birds teach its fledglings their common intra-special song.

At first junior stumbled through it, making various kinds of clumsy bleeps and squawks.

Parent patiently kept repeating, until junior caught on.

Innate vs learned strikes me as a false dichotomy. Capacity plus example seems closer to the mark.

There's hardly anything here but opinions, and counter-opinions, and speculations, and links to other people's opinions and speculations, with the occasional factual fact or factoid thrown in like chocolate chips in a sparsely flavored cookie.

It's a fncking blog, FFS.

It's a fncking blog, FFS.

Haha....on this we can agree. Thanks.

Anybody still thinking about racism?

Coates

Posted for me to read again. Stuff drives me crazy, spins me like a top.

But can I criticize Obama on the bank bailout and Libya?
Sure but always remember you are criticizing a black President, and the Tea Party criticizes the bailouts cause they're racist.

Coates supported Sanders, does that make him a sexist Berniebro?
No, cause he is black and we like Coates.
How about blacks Glen Ford and Adolph Reed?
Oh, those guys are definitely bad bros.
Can I criticize Clinton? Sure.
She likes money too much.
Sexist pig.

Forgot. For that essay, Coates could have given just a whisper toward J Sakai's Myth of the White Working Class. I wonder why he didn't. I wonder if he thinks it is a myth.

But can I criticize Obama on the bank bailout and Libya?
Sure but always remember you are criticizing a black President, and the Tea Party criticizes the bailouts cause they're racist.

Coates supported Sanders, does that make him a sexist Berniebro?
No, cause he is black and we like Coates.
How about blacks Glen Ford and Adolph Reed?
Oh, those guys are definitely bad bros.
Can I criticize Clinton? Sure.
She likes money too much.
Sexist pig.

Is this the bob mcmanus through-the-looking-glass version of intersectionality?

But can I......?

Bob, it's OK. It's a fncking blog, FFS. :)

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