Letters To The Editor


Donna Warren

March, 2005

A reader sent me a link to the following story and asked me what I thought about it.

Jewish bikers create a community of their own

I found it interesting. Here are a group of Jewish folks who share both a religion and a love of motorcycles.

What interests me more is that so many people find groups like a Jewish, Christian or women's motorcycle club unusual enough to be newsworthy. Since you rarely see articles on church or gender related groups anywhere except the "Local Happenings" or "Community" sections of a newspaper, I'm going to assume it's the motorcycle aspect that caught the reporter's attention.

We humans are basically herd animals. Whether or not we like admitting it, we tend to congregate in groups and we are the most comfortable with people who are like us in some important way.

Anthropologists call this "ethnocentrism", which is basically the belief that my group is better, our ways are good and right and different is not to be trusted and might even be dangerous. While this belief is the basis of all prejudice, it is also an integral part of our survival instinct because the groups we form usually protect and help their members. In the past, those groups were family, tribe, nation or ethnic in origin. That's not so true anymore.

Today's groups are more likely to be formed by people sharing one or two common interests that they are passionate about. Hence we see factors like religion and motorcycles the basis for forming a group. If you clicked on the link and read the article I was sent, you heard the members refer to themselves as "family". If you are a regular reader of this column, you've heard our members refer to us as a "sisterhood".

As motorcyclists, we are usually passionate about our motorcycles. There is a sticker you can get to put on your bike that says, "If you value your life as much as I value this motorcycle, you won't touch it." I've seen it on lots of bikes. It makes sense to me that motorcyclists would be passionate about other things as well.

The bottom line: Religion, gender and occupation (law enforcement) combined with motorcycles seem like a good basis to form a group and we'll probably see more of these hybrid groups forming in the future. Eventually, they'll be seen as normal and no longer newsworthy.

What do you think? Express Your Opinion on this topic.


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