Not My Tribe

NMT. It bears discussing I think, and I hardly know what I’m talking about. Not My Tribe. It’s racist, it’s ethnocentric, it’s xenophobic, it’s human nature.

Avoiding males of another tribe coming your way is self preservation. Being attracted to a person whose physical traits match yours is self-propagation. Looking out for your brother is serving your blood line. Favoring others who look like you, who may be kin from somewhere back, is racism yes, it’s also tribal.

This TV season’s Survivor is catching flack for grouping its contestants into tribes by skin color. Is that appropriate? If the other aspects of Survivor reflected the human struggle, perhaps the tribal groupings would be intriguing. Instead I find the stunt rather distasteful.

For one, the “tribes” will be competing against each other. Is there any doubt that skin color has shown itself to be a statistical predictor of aptitude? Not human potential, mind you, physical aptitude. Are not the fastest runners dark-skinned? Are not most chessmasters light-skinned? In climates where people grow fair-skinned, do they not spend more time reading? Under the sun where people grow dark-skinned, is physical conditioning not more imperative? We should get over the platitude that all men are created equal. They are not. It’s doesn’t mean we can’t respect one another.

Second, what are called “racial” distinctions have little to do with tribe. Black Africans are no more from the same tribe than are whites. We all practice tribal eugenics when we size each other up. Eye color, skin texture, hair type, nose, shape, build. These are the traits which mark our tribes. That’s how we recognize our kin. We compete, but not in dead heats. We assert hierarchies over time, we do not breast-beat about far-reaching superiority. We co-exist.

I wonder if Not My Tribe has a place anymore in modern society. At last the planet has become too small to accomodate elements in the melting pot which resist dissolving. In the process however, I don’t see any benefit to lying about our differences. They’re there, they represent our personal culture, to celebrate and assimilate.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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1 Response to Not My Tribe

  1. Avatar Ed says:

    The Survivor Series Battle Of The Races will no more represent the races than Bobbie Riggs and Billy Jean King represented the sexes.

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