Not all ‘micks’ were tribal

“Returning to my travails: I discovered that lightning can strike twice at the one place. The fellow who had not attended Mass became my boss again; he then moved me aside from my position, making my life difficult again. So, at 60, I retired, conceding that tribalism is not yet a spent force.

While I was supremely confident in myself, it was grand to be asked by my previous boss (a newcomer to the agency) why it was that I was not only ‘frightening the shit’ out of my peers but also his peers. I explained that when the agency head who had invited me to his department suddenly retired, the promotion promised me had evaporated. A particular gang had taken over the place, and many of those who had been ranked well below me were now his peers. It was good to know that my competence was still noted, even by my enemies!

This was not racism at work. It was tribalism. Not going to Mass did not prevent them acting in concert to pee on a metaphysical Hindu, converted Protestant, and Freemason. This was an exceptional tribal pack. Previously, I had had warm relations with a number of ‘micks’ through my work for my union; my social drinking companions had included 2 Kennedys and 3 O’Briens. We used to joke about the fact that I had been unable to find a self-titled Irishman who was prepared to swear on the Good Book that no man who had carried the family name had seduced, married, and had converted to Catholicism, a Protestant girl, and then produced good little Irish Catholics.

It was a ‘mick’-controlled union which gave me a Meritorious Service Award for my work over 10 years (7 as chairman of the committee) on career protection. Apart from policy, I planned, managed and taught at, courses on interviewing techniques and selection practices. It took me a long time to realise that, while Commissioners of the Public Service Board had endorsed this work, my career path at that time in a WASP-led environment was not enhanced.

With the near end of colonialism, the concept of race may also wither away … … What of tribalism? With the extremely rapid growth in the diversity of the ethno-cultural communities, how many generations will it take for tribal cohesion, tribal preference, and tribal prejudice to break down? Will our educators beat the divisive priests and politicians? Detribalised individuals can be a cohesive part of an integrated Australian people while remaining free to celebrate those of their cultural practices which recognise the Family of Man.”

(The above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ may lead to a false hope that tribalism will diminish when divisive priests and politicians are no more. A widening variety of ethno-cultural tribes entering freely into the nation through self-selection, or exploiting any ‘worm-holes’ provided by those politicians preoccupied with their superannuation, could delay integration; some tribal entrants may need to adjust to a multicultural nation of integrated peoples, with equal opportunity available for all. One can only hope!)