Why it’s essential your “tribe” be diverse in the 21st century—Desiree Johnson

Desiree and her friends. Desiree is on the far left.

Desiree and her friends. Desiree is on the far left.

One of the more popular ways to claim your “clique,” “team,” “crew,” “squad,” or group of friends as of late is to reference them as your “tribe.” In the cultural context tribe dates back to the times of Native Americans who were a tribal nation, or other group or community of Indigenous people in the United States. While I, like so many others, have misused the cultural context associated with “tribe,” the Webster definition breaks it down to three terms:

“a group of people that includes many families and relatives who have the same language, customs, and beliefs
: a large family
: a group of people who have the same job or interest”

Desiree is the second from the right.

Desiree is the second from the right.

When I think about my “tribe,” my group of friends, family, and associates that make up my interests, hobbies, beliefs, aspirations and inspirations, it’s diverse. I’ve had the opportunity to experience three different walks of life in what I like to think of as my relationship with culture and the outside world.

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My childhood in O’donnell, Texas, my adolescence in Killeen, Texas, and my adult life in San Antonio, Texas/ Chicago, Illinois. Killeen out of all of these places taught me acceptance, tolerance, and the importance of pushing outside my cultural boundaries and learning about other people. You could say given that Killeen is a part of Fort Hood, Texas, the largest army base in the United States that this was inevitable, but you have to be receptive to educating yourself on other cultures.

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You have to be open to new experiences and cultural practices outside of your own. In an era where people of color are fighting, advocating, and demanding to be seen in mainstream America, it’s vital for your own personal growth as a human being to require diverse people in your life. I’m better for the mix and blend of friends and sisters that don’t look like me, don’t talk like me, and don’t represent my exact cultural lineage.

I was fortunate to have these experiences early on in life and carry them with me everywhere I go. I have an amazing outlet of people to converse with in regards to world issues or to question when there’s oppression or conversation in with a specific demographic I may not relate to and vice versa.

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My “tribe,” reflects me and I love it. They reflect a unique sense of ideals, heritage, culture, education, and people that in some parts of the United States and world you wouldn’t normally see together. I challenge you to take a look at what you surround yourself with, reflect on how you choose to acquaint yourself with people and if there’s a discomfort in having personal relations with a specific race or culture, why is that? Do you marginalize or discriminate against a specific set or people unconsciously? Are you racially biased? Maybe you’ve never been forced outside of your bubble or comfort zone to have that challenged otherwise. I’m not saying to go and just start befriending people of color for the sake of being diverse. I’m merely stating if your “vibe attracts your tribe,” what does that look like? What does it represent?

13925225_10155038857508265_3633377420762649956_nDesiree is Texan Lady living in the windy, sometimes temperamental city of Chicago where she is getting her MFA in Creative Writing. She has been a guest contributor for Mixed Root Stories, Mixed Remixed, and has publications with NSIDE Publications, Study Breaks Magazine. Her approach to writing whether fiction or non-fiction is to keep it as eclectic and diverse as her interest so she is ambitious in wanting to have her writing cross all platforms. She seeks to continue to improve in her skill set as an author, writer, and storyteller while educating others on being bi-racial and interracial relationships. As she continues finishing her MFA she looks forward to the new opportunities that lie ahead and embracing whatever life throws her way. She is currently a contributing writer for Swirl Nation Blog, EliteDaily.Com, The Tempest, and created the new “Your Hair Story Series,” with Mixed Chicks Hair Products.

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Published on: October 6, 2016

Filed Under: Articles, Essays & Poems, Non-Fiction/Memoir

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