We hear a lot about culture these days, especially in the context of “cultural diversity”. Ironically, though, those pushing cultural diversity can’t seem to understand why we, as a nation, are so divided.
There seems to be a disconnect when it comes to what culture is. Too often, the term culture is used to describe tribalism and tribalism is a dividing concept. While culture defines the mores and values of a community, tribalism separates cultures from one another and values exclusion over inclusion. The United States has always, up until recently, a nation that welcomed other cultures, at least philosophically. There have been exclusionary principals applied regionally and socially. The degradation of the Irish in the 19th and early 20th century comes to mind, but eventually those false stereo types were abandoned, except for a few which still are humorously resurrected for St. Patrick’s day.
But when a culture, as a whole, becomes defensive and exclusionary it becomes tribal and the natural result is hate between it and other cultures. Recent complaints of “appropriation” of culture are a prime example, such as non-Mexican heritage people celebrating Cinco de Mayo being denigrated because they are “appropriating” the Mexican Culture. But, beyond just complaining about appropriation, it has reached complete segregation such as where recently a college celebrated a “Day Without White People” and banned Caucasians from being on campus and one professor was severely ostracized when he had the audacity to point out they were being racist. Black people worked hard to obtain the Civil Rights legislation passed in the ‘60s (which, by the way was done by Republicans and vigorously opposed by Democrats). Yet, today the tribalism of the Black community, with organizations such as Black Lives Matter, has caused severe damage to those gains that Blacks worked for since the days of slavery. Vilifying those you are trying to win over to end racism does nothing to promote inclusion and acceptance. Egotistic self-righteous exclusion asserting that any wrong that happens is racist “white privilege” can only make things worse.
However, the biggest tribalism threat to world peace today is Islam. While the other main religions in the world promote peace and an attitude of acceptance of differing religious views, Islam teaches that violence is an acceptable, if not required, method of conversion. Islamic tribalism is totally non inclusive, even between the different sects of Islam. Unfortunately, a culture that celebrates tribal violence is incompatible with any other culture. I see no path of inclusion in Western society for the Islamic culture until it, as a whole, undergoes a reformation and rejects the violent teachings of Mohammed. But then it wouldn’t be Islam anymore and I don’t see that happening.
The United States has, in the past, truly been a “melting pot” of cultures. A unique example in history of acceptance and tolerance. But tribalism has turned us into a nation of special interests with no tolerance for alternative cultures. The irony is that the sector of our country that professes to be the most tolerant is the one that promotes tribalism and separation of cultures while the section of the country that is demonized as the most intolerant works to break down those barriers of intolerance and tribalism. Who is the most acceptant of other cultures – those who promote separation or those who promote inclusion? If you are thinking you are on the Left side of American politics I contend your views toward culture and inclusion are more tribal than inclusive.