GEW_PoliticalTribalism.pdf - !1 Leaning Left: Political...

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1Leaning Left: Political Tribalism on College CampusesFrom an evolutionary perspective, human beings are pack animals. At their very core,people want to feel belongingness to understand the world. According toThe Atlanticarticle“Can America Survive Tribalism?” by Lena Felton, “... tribalism describes the human instinct towant to belong to a group of people who are like you." Therefore, political tribalism, identitypolitics or whichever title you want to ascribe to, is about wanting to connect and belong topeople with the same political ideological standpoints. Even possibly at times choosing toexclude others who do not adhere to one's same views. The underlying question to address wouldbe how do the political tribes that students and faculty identify with on college campuses affectcivil discourse and the college community as a whole? Differing political discussions can eitherstart a conversation or divide a community. Phenomena like the political backfire effect canmake people grip tighter towards their original political viewpoint when their position ischallenged by another. According to “When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of PoliticalMisperceptions” by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, the backfire effect is when “...individualswho receive unwelcome information...may come to support their original opinion more strongly"(1). This means that people will not only reject a challenge to their views but will attach morestrongly to their original stance. Simply stating that politically biased professors are harmfulwould be a gross overgeneralization because many factors determine the political sway eachcollege student has including geographic differences, religion, race, gender, and family politicalalignment. The political tribe’s college students and faculty identify with have led to challengesin civil discourse; however, it is beneficial for professors to express their political beliefs as thereare several influences that shape a student’s political identity.
2I have always had an affinity for the world of politics and was ready to dive into PoliticalScience during my first semester of college. When I entered the classroom, I was prepared forcivil discourse and logical reasoning and for both sides of the aisle to come to a well-versedconclusion. However, I would soon learn that in politics it can be difficult to see the forest for thetrees. Day 1, my petite Political Science teacher seemed to pack a liberal punch, “Good morningclass! I just wanted to clear the air and say that I am a Quaker, which means that I’m a liberal.” Ifound it interesting how transparent my professor was towards her political aisle, but I was notall that surprised considering we were learning about politics. It did surprise me how blatant herdisdain for the president was when she stated, “I think Trump should have never been born.” Forme, there is a difference between political critique and hatred for a person. Her words certainly

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Term
Spring
Professor
Quinney
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