Racism and tribalism are not precisely similar, but those two forms of social injustice are based on hate, whether for a geographical neighbour or a certain race. They are both damaging to society, especially as they hinder the perspective of the young generation. Also, both lean towards the superiority of the one group over another.
Tribalism groups people into tribes. A tribe is a group with same religious and ethnic culture who have decided to follow each other within their group. The people in the tribe possess a strong identity, and are known for certain beliefs different from other tribes – which informs the hate.
The similarity between tribalism and racism is the idea that tribes do not believe that those who are not part of their tribe are not better than them. This is combined with stereotypes consciously passed on through generations, becoming stronger than a supposed woke generation can tolerate.
The tribalistic hate culture is common in Nigeria, and is usually more conspicuous when stereotypes are discussed and people with little or no physical experience like to use stories from the media, and the older generation. At this point, an attempt to change mindsets becomes a Herculean task. Tribalism has had expression in not only the different sectors of the nation but also in human relationships.
Though, race plays the colour and superiority card more than tribalism, there is a certain level of superiority complex that hate tribalists have that draws them towards the racist culture.
The negative aspects of tribalism are often fueled by competition and the perception of a common threat. Tribalists promote fear, anxiety, and prejudice, all of which make us more susceptible to fake news, propaganda, and conflict – social media is awash with the last point.
Indeed, social media makes it easier for people to connect with other members of their tribes and ignore or deny prejudices. Social media algorithms are designed to drive engagement and, as a result, prioritise content that touches on negative emotions. Thank the Heavens that these tribal sentiments are not irreversible.
Tribalism is a selfish concept, as it thinks highly of itself that the next person. This is why an unqualified teacher will be promoted to principal because the qualified teacher in the same school is not a local. So, if we can eliminate selfishness from our dictionaries, we are getting somewhere.
The best way to cub tribalism is to love, not tolerate, one another. We should stop using stereotypes to tell the stories of the other tribe. It is more reasonable to understand that other tribe personally, and know them for who they are.
We are looking for a better Nigeria. Well, let us start from there.
Omoleye Omoruyi… an apprentice web/game developer, novelist, sensitive to happenings in the world. Meet him @Lord_rickie on Twitter/Instagram