‘Tribes’: The Short Film About Identity That Really Surprised Me

12 June 2024

1.5 MINS

Hey Dad, let me show you this cool video,” says my daughter, opening up my laptop.

“It’s a video called ‘Tribes’. We saw it in our year 11 ‘Society and Culture’ class.”

I’m not sure what to expect. She attends a public school, and her year 11 subject, “Society and Culture”, has a political and social slant that sometimes clashes with the gospel.

And so, reluctantly at first, I begin watching the short 10-minute film.

But as I watch, I’m surprised. Really surprised.

“They showed you this in class?” I ask.

“Yep, sure did.”

“Great!” I say.

Why am I surprised? Because it deals with the hottest topic in our culture right now: human identity. But not in a way you expect from our identity-obsessed secular culture.

Check it out for yourself:

(Language Warning: Viewer discretion is advised).

I was encouraged to see a film about racial identity affirming our most basic identity: that we’re all human, and thus all equal in dignity and worth. And I was even more encouraged that this is being shown to public high school students in Australia.

And yet.

Missing Context

While the film affirmed our equality, it didn’t explain why our humanity makes us equal. After all, it’s not obvious that human beings are equal: what is obvious is how unequal we are in our capacities, gender, strength, intelligence, etc. Human reason alone won’t conclude that we’re all equal in worth and dignity. Just look at human history, whether it be slavery, racism, wars etc.

As many an atheist philosopher have pointed out, this idea of human equality began in the West, thanks to Christianity. French philosopher Luc Ferry argues in his book A Brief History of Thought:

Christianity was to introduce the notion that humanity was fundamentally identical, that men were equal in dignity — an unprecedented idea at the time, and one to which our world owes its entire democratic inheritance. (p. 72)

And since Christianity is leaving the Western building, other ideologies have come in to take its place. Ideologies such as Critical Theory, dividing humanity into “oppressed” and “oppressor”. That’s one of the cultural fountains our children are drinking from today. And so, it was refreshing to see this view challenged.

Even in the most unexpected of places: a public high school Society and Culture class.


Republished with thanks to

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  1. Christine Crawford 12 June 2024 at 10:25 am - Reply

    This is a modern take of a group of people moving from one square to square to another “fitting in”- In the end everyone is mixed up , laughing and falling over each other. We’re all one. There is also no swearing required!

  2. Teri Kempe 18 June 2024 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Thanks for exposing this Akos. I have such mixed emotions watching it. I was both angry and sad. Angry that the children in schools across our country are being exposed and encouraged to find the issues under the filthy talk and scenes [contrived and frankly ridiculous] of innocent people being robbed and humiliated, and moronic, gun wielding young men, who were far too articulate. Oh how naive I am! I thought society and culture class was about ways for young people to be encouraged to be their best selves, to understand our cultural values and examine ways reach their potential to enhance our society. Maybe somewhere in that crazy train scene there was something about finding out where I belong – but I’m not sure any student would be uplifted or inspired by such a video. That makes me sad. It’s such a waste of precious time. Oh but wait! Maybe this is the modern way to help our students think deeply . If so, that makes me very sad too.

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