Letters to the editor December 10 to 16
Tribalism in human affairs is central. History may be regarded as the record of one group displacing another. White Europeans displaced Native Americans; the Israelis are displacing Palestinians; African Americans, after having been released from slavery, have been excluded. The incidents are too numerous to list. The motivation is usually simple: You are on land we want. The rationalizations vary slightly—you believe in the wrong God or your lifestyle is incompatible with ours.
Is tribalism biological? It might seem so, but there is evidence that what’s in our genes is not adherence to similar genes but to who shows up to nurture. Every basic psychology text pictures Konrad Lorenz followed by a clutch of goslings imprinted on him.
Even in peaceful times when we share geography, the tendency is to socialize with those most like us. Tribalism—a human frailty—is to be averse to classes other than the one to which we belong. The United States is a nation of immigrants who get along best when homogenized. The generations become more and more “American”: the immigrant keeps his language, the first generation learns English, and the second generation may not speak Yiddish or Korean at all. For African Americans, mere color has been the obvious complication.
I don’t mean to suggest that people need to give up heritage to become American; there are plenty of Irish and Italian Americans, Eastern European, Latin and African Americans, each of whom may enjoy their cultural backgrounds, and that variety enriches America. But with jobs and education, as people grow into a stake in our society—to feel as “one of us”—and our constitutional genius allows us our differences peacefully, we become the “melting pot” that blends us into Americans. It’s something to be glad about, even proud of. And, if not implied, let me add that tolerance of difference is required ethically, and openness to difference is humane.
Thanks need to be given to the Kezia and Kurt LaBuda of Glen Spey for hosting the seventh annual community Thanksgiving dinner at the Lumberland Town Hall. Aided by their three children and other townspeople, they served more than 60 takeaway dinners. The dinners consisted of roasted turkey, stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and dessert. This giving family is to be commended for their fine example of service to their community. And thanks also to the Town of Lumberland board for the use of their facility.
Highland Lake, NY