Imagine you lived your whole life in a quiet suburb that was just far enough away from the metro area where no one bothered you. It’s full of upper middle class homes, very low crime rate and you’re generally afforded a peaceful life. You don’t notice at first, but soon your way of life is getting chipped away at. The people from neighboring towns, whom you have no quarrel with and have rarely interacted with, start trash talking your town. Sure, you can ignore it. Maybe it’s just petty jealousy and there is no advantage for you to get involved at all; let them say what they want.

As time goes on, the anger from the towns around you grows, the rhetoric gets dialed up and soon you’re being painted as evil just for living in your town. People from the other towns start coming through your town, holding demonstrations and demanding that you apologize for being a resident of that town and demanding that you give in to other demands from the towns around you. They demand payouts from businesses who face boycotts if they don’t relent. You find that you’re just not as comfortable being out in public anymore because your quiet life has been disturbed. Even so, you tell yourself that if you keep your head down, this will all blow over because there’s nothing to it and you’re not one of the bad guys. You’re not even sure who the bad guys are really supposed to be.

You’ve never had a reason to look down on the people from the towns around you. You’ve been more than content to let them leads the lives they see as most beneficial to them and you pay them no mind at all. You have no hatred or resentment, nor feelings or superiority either. But now you’re being pushed. You’re being encroached on. Your way of life is threatened by people that have no business telling you how to live your life, but they’re doing it anyway. They’ve painted you as a hater, a terrorist, and any other negative label they can pin on you. They get control of the media. They shame people relentlessly for not conforming to their way of doing things. At what point do you get fed up and start fighting back?

Welcome to identity politics in America. When your way of life and your culture comes under constant assault with no sign of relenting, you have to do something about it. You only have three choices: capitulate, fight back, or run and hide somewhere else and wait for it to catch up to you there. The rise of the Alt-Right is how we’re fighting back. We are now forced to get tribal and play identity politics. We let things get too out of hand. We disregarded the signs and we thought it would blow over but it’s only gotten worse. When you’re being told that you, as a white male, or a Christian or a Trump supporter are EVIL because of the things you hold dear, something has to give.

When crimes rates go up around a neighborhood, the neighbors band together, institute neighborhood watches and pledge to have each other’s backs in order to mitigate the problems. It’s time to get tribal! It can be hard. You have a right to your tribal identity, your customs and your culture. We’re already tribal about many things: our schools, our religion, our military service, our sports teams, our states, our employers and even our departments within the same employer. It’s very natural for us to be tribal. But as white, Christian, heterosexual males, we’re not allowed to be tribal about that (so we’re told). As soon as we claim a white identity, we’re labeled as bigots and racists even by our allies. But there are a lot of different tribal circles and we don’t really fit neatly in to any of them.

Not fitting neatly in to tribal category doesn’t mean we don’t belong at all. Imagine the Asian guy in a prison with very few Asians that has to make allies with one of the other racial gangs just for survival. He’s not one of them, but he can claim them as his tribes so long as they’re willing to have him. Identity politics has been forced on us and we can’t ignore it anymore. Look at the Facebook friend lists of black people (U.S. based). Sometimes you will not find a single white person on their list. Is that racist? No, it’s tribalism; they’re exercising their right to associate who they want to associate with and thereby declaring their tribal alliances.

No matter what you do as a white person now, you’re going to get labeled a racist, so you might as well go tribal and make sure you’ve got a group of people that are willing to stand up for you. It doesn’t mean that’s your exclusive tribe. My wife is from one of the countries south of the U.S. Most of my friends are white and my wife has been fully accepted in my tribe of friends and family. Yet, when we travel to her home country I am accepted, but it’s very tenuous with anyone outside of her immediate family, and I’m fine with that. Why? Because I represent an encroachment on their lives; I’m an outsider. In any heterogeneous country, foreigners are mistrusted; whereas in the U.S., we’ve been cowed in to accepting foreigners as being fully American just by showing up. But that tide is turning.

People that have kept their heads down and ignored the culture war are still the victims of it. You’ll be painted into a tribal identity whether you like it or not. And sure, there will be lots of cross-over between tribes but if you continue with the notion that you’re above it all, you could very well become one of the most tragic victims.