Difference Between Tribalism and Racism

Tribalism and racism are the two issues faced by people in every country, especially in Africa. Humans forms groups naturally as per their comfort, affection, religion, and thinking process. These groups people are loyal and help their people to grow, and at the same time gives rise to amenity for other groups. Tribalism and racism are used interchangeably but are different in loyalty and enmity.

Tribalism vs Racism

The main difference between tribalism and racism is that tribalism is an act of forming groups or communities where people share the same values, thoughts and follow each other. On the other hand, racism is the belief of people that certain races people, especially the same color, have superiority over another color. Tribalism tends to increase loyalty among group peoples, and racism tends to increase hatred among other races people.

Tribalism and Racism

Tribalism is a group of people divided by social, economic, religious, and blood ties. These groups share the same culture, values and follow their leader. It builds loyalty and trust among the same group of people. People support each other and act on behalf of others in hard times. Tribalism enables people to feel comfortable and secure in teh society.

Racism divides people into groups according to race, that is, the physical characteristics of a person especially, skin color. In racism, people are identified by their race and not by their capabilities. People believe that some races people have superiority over other races. It leads to enmity, suppression of rights, and domination.

Comparison Table Between Tribalism and Racism

Parameters Of ComparisonTribalism Racism  
Derived FromTribeRace
DefinitionTribalism  is a  partial behavior and attitude towards one’s tribeRacism is a belief of superiority over other race people
Positive consequencesTribalism provides support, security, and comfort in society.There is no positivity in racism.
Negative consequencesIt leads to threat, fear among groups due to competition.Racism leads to superiority, dominance, poverty, and unemployment.
FactorsTribes are formed based on the same religion, status, and values of peopleRacism is formed based on physical appearance, the color of the skin of people

What is Tribalism?

Tribalism is an attitude and behavior of strong loyalty and trust among a group of people or tribes over other tribes. Tribalism is present from the ancestral periods before racism started. Tribalism is found mostly in Africa, where people are grouped by languages, culture, religion, and kingship.

Tribalism is formed naturally among peoples. People follow those groups who share the same values and thoughts. Tribalism has both positive and negative effects on society. Some of the benefits of tribalism are trust, comfort, security, and support from the group in any situation. Tribalism has negative impacts when the tribes compete with each other. It affects individual rights, independence, and status. Tribalism with negative consequences promotes racism, threat, fear, and anxiety among tribal people.

Tribalism is spread many times more than before because of technology. People are following and supporting their favorite people. There are many kinds of tribalism present, such as modern tribalism, custom tribalism, traditional and postmodern tribalism. Tribes are not formed based on physical characteristics of people like racism, but with culture and traditional values.  Tribalism in African states results dangerous as the tribe supports their people in any situation that increases conflicts among tribes. Tribalism is also practiced in government and private organizations where leaders try to do good for their people before others.

What is Racism?

The race is a term used to differentiate people according to their physical appearance and characteristics. Skin color is mostly used in the race. Racism is a belief among people, especially in Africa, where people are judged by their skin color and not by their capabilities.

Racism is also practiced in the united states and other countries. Due to racism, people think they get inherited superiority over others, and they start dominating other races people. Racism has many negative consequences such as violation of laws, low trust among people, no faith, rights of others are ignored, unemployment, and discrimination.

Racism was started during teh expansion of European and colonized continents.  Racism is spread among the countries due to influence and power.  There are various kinds of racism present, such as active racism, passive, individual, and cultural racism. Today, Racism is not valued as humanity is considered as one race and not the color of people. Men, women, black, white, brown, and every person are given equal rights and opportunities in every field.  The government of countries is penalizing organizations and people who practice racism.  Racism is not only a social problem but also a sin as it increases arrogance in humans.

Main Differences Between Tribalism and Racism

  1. Tribalism is the positive behavior and attitude of people for their tribes, whereas Racism is a belief in superiority over other races people.
  2. Tribalism is derived from the tribe, a Latin word. Racism is derived from the race.
  3. Unlike racism, Triablism provides support, security, and comforts to their people.
  4. Due to competition among tribes, tribalism leads to fear and threat, whereas racism leads to poverty, unemployment, fear, and anxiety.
  5. Same culture, religion, status are teh factors for forming tribes, whereas skin color is the factor for racism.


Racism and tribalism are teh weapons of the political world either to grow or to destroy the peace of the country. Racism and tribalism are present today among the people. There are several laws created by the government of countries to reduce racism in the world.

However, many people face difficulties at the workplace and public places in some states and nations due to tribalism and racism. Racism creates differences among people. It leads to conflicts, threats, and fear among people. Skin color is the factor for the division of people in racism, whereas the same religion, status, and values are the factors to divide people into tribalism.


  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326050063_Tribalism_Thorny_issue_towards_reconciliation_in_South_Africa_-_A_practical_theological_appraisal
  2. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000013031_eng
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