June 13 - 2011
"Tribes" is one of the new words that everyone from marketers to
social activists are using. Let's not get all...
The Danger of Tribes
"Tribes" is one of the new words that everyone from marketers to social activists are using. Let's not get all giddy about fitting into a tribe, being a tribe and being lead by a charismatic or insightful creator of a tribe without pausing to think. (Whether that tribe is called a group, committee, team, family, race, religion, psychographic...)
We can't avoid the fact that there are tribes all around us any more than we can avoid our own membership in multiple tribes. We can
avoid ignorance in how we engage others inside and outside our tribes if we'll open our eyes to both sides of tribes.
There are pros to tribes. What are some?
You are with people who think like you
You are immersed in traditions, thinking, culture and lessons of those who've "been there".
You get to leverage the ideas and efforts of people on the same page
You can make a big difference in your community and outside of it
"Positive peer pressure" from those who know you
Oh, there are many more, I know.
But we'd be fooling ourselves if we didn't pay attention to the other side. The cons of tribes or of the tribe mentality are:
Arrogance that we get it while they don't
The mentality that the ends justifies the means
Individual personalities, needs and aspirations get lost
Identities (of individuals) are warped as is the menu of possible actions in life based on the identity of the tribe rule the day
People shut their minds off and let the leader do their thinking
Of course there are more here on the con side as well.
The point, though, isn't that tribes are bad. The point is to think. The point is to consciously choose which tribes you belong to and to be aware of the tribes you belong to without your choice (color, heritage...). The point is to be aware of the great benefits and the wonderful possibilities from casual or engaged membership in a tribe as well as the dangers and the pity seemingly inherent in tribes.
MLK Jr. said it all when he spoke of the day when people are judged by the content of their character rather than...(any tribe that separates, divides and sets one against another). Be Good. Be part of that tribe--those committed to being good and doing great in humility.
Be Good - Do Great,