This is a strong piece by sportswriter (formerly of LA Times!) JA Adande on the concept of tribalism.
Tribalism is, essentially, what most people confuse for racism in America.
The term was coined by movie producer Peter Guber while he was interviewed by Chuck Barkley in his awesome book “Who’s Afraid of a LargeBlack Man?”
Tribalism is, as explained by Guber, the tendency to stick with your own kind out of familiarity. It’s not a negative feeling–hatred or feeling of superiority over another race–but a positive feeling–feeling comfort with your own kind.
Adande correctly points out that most of what we experience in the US (and it applies all over really, but US probably is the best example) is tribalism, not racism.
But overly sensitive minority groups usually don’t understand, or won’t understand the idea. That’s why guys like Jesse Jackson, Kanye West, or those Asian Americans who decided to petition a ban on the movies like 21 or Meet the Fockers, pull the race card so easily.
Racism exist in the world, no doubt. But most of what we consider racism isn’t really racism.
I always tell people this because I think it’s interesting: I hang out and talk to more white people now living in Hong Kong than I ever did living in LA. All my friends in LA were Asian. Asians–aside from the hippies in Berkeley–all stick together in packs, apparently.
It’s not racism, it’s tribalism.
Often, people accuse others of racism when they’re just practicing common sense.
Example: there’s a scene in Crash in which Sandra Bullock said she didn’t want to live in a black neighborhood. The director intended to paint Bullock in a negative light with that line, and I’m sure many narrow-minded, easily-manipulated film-goers hated Bullock’s character for saying that line. But really, if you were house shopping and budget was no issue, would you rather live in Pasadena or Watts, Murray Hill or Harlem?
I used to play poker at two places: Commerce Casino, an industrial city, and Hustler Casino, located 5 minutes away from Compton. I gotta admit I paid more attention to my surroundings and who’s walking behind me when I’m in the Hustler parking lot than the Commerce lot.
Was I being racist or just using common sense?
I think normal people today cry racism too easily. It’s an insult to the brothas who were refused seats on the bus or a place to eat in the 50s or the Filipino maids in Hong Kong who make insanely low wages to clean shit for spoiled housewives and be looked down upon in the city.
Adande’s writing about this because Lebron apparently pulled the race card. I won’t comment on him any further, let’s just say Chuck got it dead on when he essentially called Lebron’s comments stupid.
And as for Ye, guy’s always been kinda a lunatic over-defensive goon when it comes to race, and he still is (“George Bush don’t care about no black people”). But DAMN, CAN THE GUY MAKE MUSIC.