We seem to be creating the cultural version of the Missouri Compromise line. No one, and no group, wishes to think of itself as the bad guy in perpetuity. Given that reality, if identity politics becomes the heart of American politics, it is only a matter of time until “whites” begin to see themselves as a group deserving special protection. (And “whites” now includes ethnic nationals who used to be excluded from Anglo-Saxon nationalism.) If our government remains democratic, these new entrants into identity politics are likely to get a good deal of what they want. Some of President Trump’s support, from what is often called the “Alt Right” seems to fit exactly this description.

And thus the tragic irony: The laws we passed to fight discrimination, however necessary at the time, created new problems that, at this point, threaten to undermine the progress we have made in combatting discrimination. This suggests that the way forward, the way to attain true progress, would now be to take the path away from identity politics. And to do that, we have to rethink the practice of protected classes. Kept too long, they’ve create an American identity that is tribal and balkanized, rather than fostering a common American community.

Richard Samuelson, “Today’s Missouri Compromise Is Bad News