On the Perpetuation of Tribal Stereotypes
I awoke today to Andy Barrie’s [Toronto] CBC Metro Morning–a show I usually find enlightening and of a quality I was not used to in Edmonton’s local CBC broadcasts.
The discussion involved a panel comprising people raised in Canada of differing racial backgrounds. Okay.
Andy Barrie having noted how on the radio, minorities are usually hired if they have an ‘ethnic’ sounding voice as opposed to not, they moved on to the perspectives of Literature and their personal experience–
The requisite ‘Thug Black’ sounding guy responded with: ‘…with the recent death of J.D. Salinger, I remembered how growing up I didn’t really understand the draw everyone had with Holden Caulfield–the character didn’t represent anything to me: a white rich boy, raised in a New England private school…’
It was not only this statement. Others from the other panelists…sounded absolutely uninformed to me–with regards to being raised “with race” let’s say.
This is absolute garbage–nothing more than self-imposed ‘racisim’, tribalism, or segregation even.
Literature is about USING YOUR IMAGINATION. I never, while reading of the exploits of Holden Caulfield contemplated the fact that, I did not share this boy’s A: appearance, B: educational circumstance, C: potential income bracket of his parents.
Why is it EVER assumed that there exists hard and fast tribal dilineations, that must be ‘respected’ and ‘acknowledged’– Nod, Nod, Wink, Wink…
That to me, sounds much like the bullshit we afford indoctrinational ‘institutions’ such as churches and other religious bodies, to also perpetuate artificial tribal stereotypes.
What this actually spoke to, in my mind? Is horrible ghettoized, tribal parenting. Why must a 10 year old ‘black’ child NOT be capable of reading about green humanoids who live on an island on the other side of the Earth, and not identify the universal humanity which Literature is actually capable of showing us?
This black youth, on CBC mentioned how rather than being capable of placing himself in the shoes of Holden, he finally grasped literature, when he read Malcom X and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.
The Catcher in the Rye is actually a universal story, well-liked by school curricula around the world because it DOES represent a universal. The tragic metamosphosis one may experience when on the cusp of adulthood, but still a child facing adult truths and realities. Race in all honestly has so very little to DO with the message of the book at all.
I mean give me a break! What disgusts me the most about this explicit perpetuation of tribal stereotyping is that RACE, all you small minded child-raisers of the world– IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT.
And a tribal collective merely constructs and re-constructs it every damn time a child is made to understand that they ‘should read books for their own kind’.
And as Andy Barrie showed, in Canada it seems, we all must nod and agree, lest we, in calling out the lunatic idiocy of this commentary be deemed a ‘racist’ ourselves. I submit this: that a “victim” perpetuating definitions laid out by their historical oppressor is whom really needs to give their heads’ a shake.
This is just as true for all those I keep encountering who having been BORN and RAISED in Canada, of parents from another culture, describe themselves as “of their parents culture” due to the fact that they have followed some bullshit caricature of said culture such as Bollywood, Bhangra and Bhelpuri + Hindu temples, for South Asian offspring, or Pupusas, Piñatas and Pozole + Catholic Churches for Latin American offspring. A handful of stereotypes + you in the middle, hardly = a distinct identity.
I’m sorry but ANYONE [of ANY BIOLOGICAL LINEAGE], born ANYWHERE can learn, appreciate and participate in these caricatures, and IT DOESN’T MAKE THEM PART OF ANY TRIBE.
Waving a badge of tribal affiliation is wrong. Teaching children which tribes they do and do not belong to is? Child Abuse.
Identity is formed from a socialization process–parents + (usually in Canada) a Public Education System.
The sad thing about adopting children from Haiti (or Malawi, or Burkina Faso, or Bangladesh, or Romania, or Peru) is NOT that “they are being robbed of their culture”–it is that the new family DOES NOT SEEK OUT AND EXPOSE the entire family including the adoptee to not ONLY their own culture of biological origin, but to the great DIVERSITY of cultures that comprise the entire human diaspora.
Child Abuse is actually raising children with small minds, invisible internal borders of identity and a global misapprehension that Humanity is not one.
This entry was posted on February 4, 2010 by rudhro. It was filed under History, Knowledge Creation, Philosophy, Religion, Society, virginal commentary and was tagged with Anthropology, Books, Child Abuse, Education, Family, Human Nature, Literature, Memetics, Parenting, Racism, Relationships, Social Conventions, socialization, Tribalism.