Tribalism: Seeing Others As Not Fully Human
Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for He is going to say, “I came as a guest, and you received me.” —Rule of St Benedict
I squirm whenever I hear someone talking about “The gays…” or “The Muslims…” or “The illegal immigrants…” or ”The Catholics…” or “The whatevers.” Sure, it probably has something to do with the sweeping generalizations, labeling, stereotyping. But I’m realizing it’s more than that.
When we speak about “The whatevers,” we are identifying “them” as separate from “us.” It’s tribalism, and tribalism is all about who’s in and and who’s out. According to Professor Richard Beck, “Ingroup members are considered to be fully human. Outgroup members are infrahumans” (less than fully human).
As the famous anthropologist Levi-Strauss said, “Humankind ceases at the border of the tribe.”
Belgium psychologist Jacques-Philippe Leyens first coined the term INFRAHUMANIZATION to describe the belief that one’s ingroup is more human than those outside it. A classic case of infrahumanization is found in the US Constitution (Article 1. Section 2. Paragraph 3) where… Read More