“TRIBE” – A word that I know I used very frequently when referring to my Fit4Mom mom-friends. But recently, I got called out on a post for using the term “tribe”! And the mama who called me out did so in the most respectful and sincere way, that I was able to put my pride aside and truly HEAR what she had to say and to LEARN. And after doing some more research on my own, I wanted to pass on this knowledge in efforts to eradicate this word all together. The following comes from my favorite teaching magazine, Teaching Tolerance.
“Tribe” promotes a myth of primitive African timelessness. Under U.S. law, “tribe” is a bureaucratic term. But away from the law, Native Americans often prefer the words “nation” or “people” over “tribe.” When Africans learn English, they are often taught that “tribe” is the term that English-speakers will recognize. In English, writers often refer to the Zulu tribe, whereas in Zulu the word for the Zulu as a group is isizwe, meaning “nation” or “people.” When we see that the same term is applied indiscriminately to Native American groups and African groups, the problem of primitive savagery as the implied common denominator only becomes more pronounced. The idea of tribe we have today cannot escape these roots. – The Trouble with Tribe” by Chris Lowe.
I recently found the most awesome blog post from Gemma Regalado, “Stop using Tribe in your Marketing,” in which she states the following:
“I am addressing white people in business in particular: stop using the term “tribe” to mean your fucking email list. What you think you’re using it for: A cute buzzword for a close-knit community of like-minded people. But it doesn’t mean that. It’s a term to describe a familial, cultural, and historical group who often live close together….So how is it easy for us as white people to take a word that we know has racial connotations and make it about us and our marketing? When we use this term, we are effectively profiting from cultural appropriation. It’s your fucking email list, not The Maasai. This is white privilege in action. Stop using this term.“
TERMS YOU CAN USE INSTEAD? TRY:
Society. Circle. Squad. Kindreds. Crew. Pack. Team. Community. Club.
So, there you have it friends! Some food for thought! And if you want some further reading, please see my list down below.
Using “Tribe” and “Tribalism: to Misunderstand African Societies – David Wiley 2013
Is using the word ‘tribe’ or ‘spirit animal’ offensive to Native Americans? – Curated by Dr. Kiona, 2018
The Trouble With Tribe – Chris Lowe, 2001
Stop Using Tribe in your Marketing – Gemma Regalado, 2020