Friday, October 09, 2009

Tribalism in America

DADvocate discusses the Roman Polanski situation and links to this post at Alexandria.

When scandals hit, people often argue them on conservative vs. liberal lines: it’s conservative prudery and repression (if you’re talking about the Catholic Church) or liberal depravity (if you’re talking about Hollywood).
But, seeing that the “conservative” Catholic Church and “liberal” Hollywood show the same failing, I have to suspect it’s mainly something that transcends conservative vs. liberal divisions; tribalism, privilege, the ordinary human tendency to want to defend and excuse People Like Us, ones that perhaps you know personally as way too congenial to have done the awful deed (or, if they’ve done the awful deed, not to be judged as somehow very different from anyone else who might have done that awful deed.
These are fantastic points, and are not just limited to this particular situation.

I think about these ideas when lines get drawn in other situations. We see this anytime police are accused of wrongdoing. We see it when people are encouraged to vote for race over policy. We see it when one political party calls the other "against-America" for partisan reasons. It manifests itself most clearly with "inferred justification."

The list could go on and on. So think about that next time you develop an opinion on something. One of the greatest things I was ever taught by my master teachers in public school was to think critically and look at any problem from different points of view.


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