Growing up where I did, just south of Glasgow, “different” meant Catholics and The English. The tribal gap between Rangers and Celtic supporters was immense and carefully maintained. Being an English kid whose parents had moved north through work would be enough to get you bullied in the playground. Thankfully from an early age I realised just how mad this was.
Now, having travelled as much as I have, and having friends of every colour, creed, and sexual identity all around the world I truly struggle to understand how difference can be so important. Why is identity so fragile that people become blind to the fact that we are all human beings, facing the same challenges, with the same hopes and fears?
I distrust tribes. I get bored around groups of blokey blokes. I’ve been to one football match and hated the crowd mentality. Even the “do you want to be in my gang” side of office politics has me running in the opposite direction. Sublimating your self to the tribe, going along with the majority, not wanting to stand out, this is where it starts.
When you ask someone with racist views why they have a black friend they invariably say “oh they are different, they’re not like the rest”. Bollocks. You just don’t know the rest and have consigned them all to being different, to being “them”.
There is no them. There’s just us, all of us. Don’t let your tribe convince you otherwise.