You hate racists with passion. You are passionate about racism. Your blood boils when another man mistreats you or others because of your or their skin color. You complain bitterly about unfair treatment and stereotypes others put you in because of the continent from where you come. But… you look down on your fellow neighbor just because of their tribe. You are one shameless tribalist!
You assume yourself as superior to others just because of where you come from. You pass silly, unpalatable jokes about the tribes of others. You look down on them and debase them at the least opportunity. You have no iota of respect for them or their views. You are an ignoble tribalist!
You were once in dire need. You didn’t ask of the tribe of the one who pulled up to help you. You were once involved in an accident. You cared little about the tribe of the doctor who attended to you at that critical point of your life. You are now a father and you ask which tribe your potential son-in-law belongs to? You are now a mother and you think your potential daughter-in-law’s tribe matters so much that your son can’t marry her? You ungrateful tribalist!
Your tribal sentiments have blinded your conscience. You are not able to see any man beyond where they come from. Your ruthless tribalism has clouded your thoughts so much that you are not able to see beyond a man’s tribal belonging. Your petty tribalism will make you choose the devil as long as he belongs to your tribe… ahead of an angel who belongs elsewhere. You have let great people pass you by because all you were concerned about was which tribe they belonged to. You have jailed yourself with your tribalistic ego!
Your best teacher in high school was a Fante but today, you want your children to have nothing to do with Fantes just because one did you wrong along your life’s journey. Your life was saved by an Ewe doctor many years ago but today, you have somewhat concluded that all Ewes are have a shrine in their bedroom just because one gave you a cause to believe so.
Your roommate was a Dagomba who gave you food when you had none but today, you have denied any of them from marrying your daughters because you have put all of them in one cage of a stereotype. Your car broke down in the middle of nowhere and a Ga showed up to help you get back on the road but today, because one of them did you wrong you assume they are all same? You must admit you are a tribalistic bigot!
You claim the North is too far for your children to marry anyone from there but you are praying someone from abroad comes to marry them. You are the reason most of your children are still single. Your pettiness is what is standing in their way. You are just an ill-confident tribalist!
You forget the great things someone from a tribe did you but you take daily stock of all the evil another from that tribe did you a millennium ago. You make people from a tribe pay for the sins of another man they may never have met. You deny them opportunities. You withhold great things from them but you claim to love Ghana to the moon. You are only an unfortunate tribalist!
You are still holding on to the grudges of the past. You have allowed your past to define how you perceive people. You are making all your loved ones suffer the pain of your past by getting in their way with what someone did to you many years ago. You have unconsciously made them victims of your past. You want them to hate a tribe because of what someone from there did to you many years ago. You are indeed an unrepentant tribalist!
You conclude who a man may be by just their name. You define a man’s character by his hometown. You frown at a man just because his tribal marks on his cheeks arouse your tribal sentiments. You must stop putting others in your self-created boxes. You must live beyond your petty stereotype!
You are a leader of a group in church made up of great people from different tribes. Your choir members are not all from your tribe and the friends who saw you through your hard moments are not from your tribe either. You were held up in prayers by people who have different tribes. Yet… you have somehow concluded people from other tribes are less human. You are an inhumane tribalist!
You think because one person from a tribe treated you badly, everyone from that tribe is equally bad. You have stereotyped them. You give little or no room to them even though they were not those who did you wrong. You conclude who they are before they even prove who they are to you. You limit their abilities and self-worth just because another in your past couldn’t meet some expectation of yours. You are just one petty tribalist!
You feel dehumanized when another disregards you because of your gender yet you deem it fit to disregard another because of their tribe. You insensitive tribalist!
You must know that everybody cannot pay for the sins of one man. You must give every man the chance to prove their innocence. You must not pronounce a man guilty by just knowing their name. You must always know that how you treat others (because of how someone treated you in your past) is how another will treat you or your children someday.
You must not tie opportunities to a man’s tribe. You must not allow your past experience get in the way of your children. It was your experience. Let them have theirs!
By Kobina Ansah
The writer is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm. His new play, THE BOY CALLED A GIRL, shows on July 20th at National Theatre.