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Articles on Tribalism

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Kenyans take to the streets in the capital, Nairobi, to call for peaceful August 2022 elections. Luis Tato/AFP via Getty Images

Kenya’s election red flags in five essential reads

Patronage politics, a history of violent conflict and high-stakes elections increase the risks of poll violence in Kenya.
Newly elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud waves after he was sworn-in, in the capital Mogadishu, on May 15, 2022. Photo by Hasan Ali Elmi / AFP via Getty Images

Somalia’s election raises more questions than answers

The obstacles the new government must confront to earn the confidence of the people are challenging.
Tribalism often leads to diversion of funds meant for development in Africa. Photo by John Wessels/AFP via Getty Images

Ethnic poverty: dividing and excluding people keeps them poor

Although there is strength in diversity, members of ethnic groups in power distributing resources to members of their ethnic group at the expense of national growth entrench poverty in Africa.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks during a congressional committee hearing on the withdrawal of American troops Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

Afghanistan shows the U.S. folly of trying to implant democratic institutions abroad

This summer’s disintegration of the Afghan government and continuing political turmoil in Iraq provide valuable lessons for the U.S. and its mission to impose democracy on the rest of the world.
Muslims of all backgrounds pray during the 2019 Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Fethi Belaid/AFP via Getty Images

Islam’s anti-racist message from the 7th century still resonates today

The Quran recognizes ‘no superiority of a white person over a black person.’ That notion, radical in 7th-century Arab society of slavery and tribal divides – remains unrealized 1,400 years later.
A protester reacts after being hit by pepper spray from police as their group of demonstrators are detained prior to arrest at a gas station on South Washington Street, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Minneapolis. John Minchillo/AP Photo

Trump, the politics of fear and racism: How our brains can be manipulated to tribalism

Fear is very much a part of humans’ survival. Demagogues and others who want to manipulate have learned that this human trait can be exploited, often with disastrous consequences.
Gloria Garces of El Paso grieves before crosses, flags and flowers Aug. 6, 2019 to commemorate those killed at a mall in El Paso. Jim Locher/AP Photo

Can experts determine who might be a mass killer? 3 questions answered

In the wake of yet more mass murders, people want answers. Some questions that arise about the tragedies relate to mental illness. A psychiatrist answers three here.
Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender Frederik Andersen is scored on by Montreal Canadiens’ Andrew Shaw during second period NHL hockey action in Montreal in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

From the penalty box to the ballot box, our brains are wired for tribalism

Our neural hardware responds differently when we perceive people to be on “our team.” This hard-wiring allows for both positive and negative biases.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo/

The politics of fear: How it manipulates us to tribalism

Fear, a psychiatrist writes, has roots deep within the human psyche, and demagogues have long exploited the emotion. In today’s world, it’s important to know the dangers of that exploitation.
White nationalists clash with protesters at the Aug. 12, 2017 Charlottesville, Va. rally that turned deadly violent. Steve Helber/AP Photo

The politics of fear: How fear goes tribal, allowing us to be manipulated

Fear is very much a part of humans’ survival. Demagogues and others who want to manipulate have learned that this human trait can be exploited, often with disastrous consequences.

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