Is this negative use of “tribalistic” both racist and colonialist? It seems to me that it is, but I hesitated to bring it up because Richard might mistake it for me accusing him of racism. It’s racist in the same way that using the phrase “what a gyp” is racist; however, people of good will can thoughtlessly use these phrases without themselves being racist. The racism is in the society that normalizes these phrases, to the point that even anti-racist individuals use them without noticing.
Bollocks. What, exactly, is wrong with the word 'tribalism'? It's a useful word (can you think of a replacement that communicates the desired idea so vividly?), and doesn't harm anyone. Such petty complaints, on the other hand, encourage hypersensitivity -- which is bad for several reasons. Firstly, it increases the chances that people will feel offended unnecessarily, if they come to perceive a harmless piece of language as a personal or racist slight. Second, calling "racism" on things that are completely harmless risks trivializing what should be a serious matter. Third, attending to such trivialities is a pointless and unpleasant distraction.
I'm inclined to think that moral demands on our will or attention should be minimized at the best of times. To demand that people attend to such trivialities of speech without good reason is all the more objectionable. For this reason, it is often considered rather rude (and rightly so). This suggests a further, more crassly pragmatic point: nobody likes the 'language police', and it reflects poorly on the political Left to be associated with such PC crap.