Tribe and Consciousness

Executed is accurate.

Executed is accurate.

Humans will always be tribal creatures whether they admit it or not; whether they realize it or not. Some human groups are better able than others to sublimate raw tribal responses to certain events to make possible the achievement of higher, more abstract philosophical or moral values, i.e. equality, justice, fairness, etc. While some groups busily apply themselves to the task of transcending tribe and muting the racial consciousness generally accompanying the recognition of tribe, other groups busily apply themselves to the task of cementing tribal loyalties, blood and kinship ties, and developing a strong sense of racial awareness. Tribalism is primal and it precedes all other considerations: it comes before a sense of absolute right and wrong, before empathy, and subordinates all other competing loyalties (e.g., nationalism).

Whites tend to be more altruistic than tribal, opting to move away from tribe and to connect with members of other groups on an individual (human) level. This attitude even extends to non human creatures. Whites are more willing to put themselves in other’s shoes, even if the person or people in question are not a part of their tribe. In contrast, non white groups tend to view things exclusively in terms of tribe, their reactions to events likelier to be tempered based upon the individuals involved and their roles in these events. Nothing highlights this difference better than the recent events in Roanoke and the reactions to it compared to the events in Charleston and the reactions to it. Specifically, I want to call attention to the reactions to it by race.

In Roanoke, two white people were murdered in cold blood by a black man who recorded the murders with a Go Pro and then uploaded the footage onto various social media networks before killing himself. The Charleston events are already well known: nine black people were murdered in a church in cold blood by a white man accused of harboring “racist” white nationalist aspirations. After Charleston, there was an immediate outpouring of shock and grief not only from black Americans (which was to be expected), who everywhere decried the killings and denounced Roof as a “white terrorist” who was intent upon slaying blacks due to his “racist” beliefs, but from Americans as a whole-particularly from white Americans-who viewed what transpired as a national tragedy, a corporate wounding striking America at its heart. Nine people massacred as they worshiped: regardless of how faithless this nations has become, everyone recognized how repugnant the act was.

Naturally, black people used Charleston as evidence to advance the narrative that they were under siege by America, and as ridiculous as this contention was, liberal white America went along with it, reluctant to object in a moment of black grief and national sorrow. This response was also to be expected: putting yourself in another’s shoes, to empathize, to feel the pain that others feel is natural to whites. We’re all Americans here, was the thought. To further demonstrate solidarity, whites even helped to curtail speech liberties, to desecrate cultural patrimony, and to erase parts of their national history.

Contrast this reaction with the reaction triggered by the happenings in Roanoke. Black Americans have been uniformly silent on the issue. No outpouring of grief from black people appeared on social media, no expressions of sorrow, no recognition that these murders were a sort of human tragedy, or at the very least, an American one. All that can be heard from blacks is the sound of silence. One would be hard pressed to find a single indictment of the character of the black shooter, or anything attributing his vile acts to some sort of racial deficiency or to racially motivated malevolence, as was done when Roof committed his murders. The most black people were willing to do in response to the Roanoke tragedy was to tepidly call for gun reform on social media. Simply put, the murders of two white people mattered not a whit to the average black because (1) they were killed by a black man and (2) because the victims weren’t black. To them, this was a “gun control issue,” if that. And of course, some sick fuck was on hand to callously racialize the issue, asking: “are we afraid to watch white people dying?”


This was all to be expected. Black people are amongst the most tribal and race conscious people on Earth. This is not necessarily a negative thing, as this is a healthy human mindset for all peoples. But there was something peculiar about the reaction to Roanoke: the response, or rather lack thereof of white people. White people viewed what transpired as tragic, for sure, but the response to what happened was muted beyond that recognition. There was no feeling that something important was lost, that white people are under attack, or that something is seriously wrong with America. Two members of the tribe had been felled by a hate-filled member of another tribe and there was no collective anguish, no feeling that something truly tragic had occurred, that white people had been violated in some way. Roanoke was sad, but then it was business as usual.

This disconnect from blood is a great problem. It is one thing for a tribe to be callous towards the lives of members of another tribe, to live in perfect mutual antagonism towards each other. It’s another thing to be empathetic to another tribe that hates your tribe, all the while professing not to recognize that the concept of tribe exists at all, all while members of your tribe are being picked off by members of other hostile tribes. This is madness. This is suicidal. Tribe matters. Tribe exists. There is power in tribe, and every other tribe recognizes this fact. Even if liberal white people don’t care about tribe, tribe cares very much about liberal white people. And competing tribes have been very clear about their desires to dispatch whites for the crime of belonging to a warring tribe that whites don’t even see themselves as being a part of. Possessing the liberal goodwhite card won’t save whites from the law of the jungle.

Racial unconsciousness is fast becoming an untenable position, one likely to end in annihilation. Only through an awakening to the realities of the world can white people begin to fight. This is not about humanity, it’s not about national solidarity, it’s not about empathy: it’s about the bonds of  blood. This is primal, and so it must be. Everyone else has come to that realization and feel secure enough to advocate for their race from that position. There’s no reason for whites not to feel the same.

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